Democrats Demand Compensation for ABC Radio

The Australian Democrats are seeking compensation for ABC Radio for the $195 000 it has spent to respond to the government’s bias claims in the past year.

Democrat Senator, John Cherry, says it is “outrageous” how much the ABC had to spend money defending itself against the claims by former Communications Minister, Richard Alston.

Senator Alston made 68 complaints of bias against radio current affairs program, AM, with 17 of them upheld by the national broadcaster’s independent complaints’ panel. According to Senator Sherry it took the equivalent of 1,700 hours to investigate and respond to Senator Alston’s 68 allegations of bias.

Senator Cherry says the ABC has also been forced to spend another $10 000 this year, investigating similar bias claims by Liberal Senator Santo Santoro.

“The Democrats call on the Government to fully compensate the ABC for all of the extra costs its political vendetta has imposed on the ABC, including the $205,000 cost of investigating the Alston-Santoro complaints and the $12 million outstanding debt from the disastrous Shier era… it would be fairer for Senator Alston to pay the enormous cost of investigating these claims rather than the cash strapped ABC,” says Cherry.

“Since Senator Alston’s retirement, Senator Santoro has continued the vendetta. His demands for investigations have already cost the ABC $10,000 and 98 hours of staff time, and the bill is probably still rising.”