After years of cuts at the hands of the Liberal National Government, and with a further three years of cuts ahead of it, the ABC has decided to end its 67 year run as the official non-commercial Olympic Games radio broadcaster, citing budget pressures.
It is sad and disappointing that the ABC will not pursue radio broadcast rights and live coverage for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and that “competing budget priorities” are responsible for the end of an era in Australian sports broadcasting.
When the Government cuts the ABC, Australians miss out.
The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government broke its promise not to cut ABC funding and has since cut $366 million from the national broadcaster.
The ABC warned that the latest round of budget cuts, totalling $83.7 million over the next three years, would make it very difficult for the ABC to meet its Charter requirements and audience expectations, but Scott Morrison locked them in anyway.
Now Australians will miss out on much-loved content that is part of Australia’s media, sporting and cultural identity.
It was at the 1964 Tokyo games that legendary sports commentator Norman May first called the Olympics, and at the 1980 Moscow games that May made his famous call of the Australia’s men’s 4 x 100m relay victory which became part of our sporting folklore: “Gold! Gold to Australia! Gold!”.
That call and many more in the decades since have allowed Australians to share in and be inspired by some of the greatest moments in Australian Olympic sporting history.
This Government is obsessed with attacking the ABC but some things are worth their weight in gold.
Scott Morrison should start governing for all Australians, including those for whom ABC radio is their main connection to Australia and the world, and ensure stable and adequate funding for the national broadcaster.