Julie Bishop: ‘We did not support the ABC closing its shortwave in the Pacific’

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has told RN’s Fran Kelly that her party did not support the ABC’s decision to switch off short wave services in the Pacific.

“It is not a decision of the Australian government,” she said.

Bishop has travelled to Samoa to launch a radio transmission facility, funded by Australia’s aid program, to support disaster management and emergency management.

“We have a media assistance scheme to ensure that radio transmission can continue… I would certainly encourage the ABC to continue shortwave transmission in the Pacific.”

Asked by Fran Kelly if that funding could have been given to the ABC given that the cuts were the result of funding decisions at the time, Minister Bishop said: “The ABC determines its priorities…”

The Foreign Minister’s statement seems at odds with information given to SBS Reporter Stefan Armbruster, who was told by an ABC spokesperson:

“Consultation between the government and the ABC is ongoing, however the government has accepted the radionale for the decision…

“The government was briefed ahead of the international decision. DFAT understands the rationale behind the move.”

Julie Bishop’s comments to Fran Kelly are below.

See previous reports here.


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