Sunday, July 15, 2018

Hollywood comes to The Rescue

Lord of The Rings star Hugo Weaving joined Whispers on the floor of the Teacher's Federation Theatre  in Surry Hills at a rally by the Friends of the ABC to protest funding cuts to the national broadcaster. Under the current conservative government over $300M this year alone has been slashed from the ABC budget by PM Malcolm Turnbull leading to the loss of 800 jobs (despite promising no cuts previously).

It was standing (or seated on the floor) room only as Weaving spread his legs out to enthusiastically applaud the various speakers. They included top selling author  Tom Keneally of Schindler's List fame, Magda Szubanski, star of the ABC'S Kath & Kim and "red" Kerry O'Brien , the retired broadcaster who fronted the 7.30 Report and 4 Corners for many years.

Kerry O'Brien, Magda Szubanski and Tom Keneally at the Save the ABC Rally
Often criticized as being too "left wing" O'Brien read out many of the 100s of letters he would receive after hosting ABC political broadcasts during election days. Most attacked him as being too favourable to the Liberal Party and too tough on the Labor Party.
Szubanski compared the recent same sex marriage survey that found a 62% positive result for LGBT marriage rights with the Aussie public and quoted credible surveys that say 68% of Australians love their ABC.
One speaker pointed out that after slashing ABC TV & radio broadcasts to our South Pacific neighbours which received audiences the UK's BBC would envy,  China has quickly filled the void snapping up 300 of the Australian broadcast wavelengths and now dominate our nearest neighbours.
The rally, which was followed by one in Melbourne and will be repeated around the country are in response to a recent Liberal Party conference where delegates voted to privatize the ABC.
Out and about canvassing today in the Longman bi-election with the Labor Party candidate Susan Lamb was Hollywood star Danny Glover.
Glover is making quite a splash around Australia and appears to have become an activist for several local matters including Indigenous affairs.