Outside ABC headquarters today
Wow. Today was a visually stunning show of what our movement is capable of – this time, in less than 40 hours.
When we heard the ABC Board was just days away from making a call on whether to axe programs like Lateline, state-based 7.30 programs and other critical investigative reporting, GetUp members wrote in with concern and outrage that was palpable. So, we did what we do best – leapt into action.
In just 36 hours, more than 57,000 GetUp members signed former Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes’ CommunityRun petition calling for the protection of these programs. It was one of the fastest-growing self-started petitions on the platform.
Then, with just 24 hours notice, more than 400 of us gathered together outside the ABC’s head offices, led by ABC veterans Jonathan Holmes and Quentin Dempster, to speak out against the cuts.
While the ABC board made the baffling decision to not take 3 minutes out of their meeting to accept the petition signed by more than 57,000 Australians and delivered by Jonathan Holmes – we know they heard our message loud and clear. Not just outside their offices, but also through the 7,000 emails you wrote to the Board in advance of the event. ABC staff inside the building even reported they could hear us chanting in the streets. And tonight, unconfirmed reports say that ABC’s Director Mark Scott has said Lateline will remain on the air into next year, albeit possibly in a different format1. This is promising news, but with other critical current affairs coverage still facing the axe and sweeping changes to Lateline still very possible, the threat to the ABC remains urgent, and real.
Our efforts may be far from over, but there’s no doubt that the actions of this movement are being seen and heard – and making a difference to the decision-makers who matter. GetUp members have rallied to protect the ABC’s critical current affairs coverage and investigative reporting for years – and we’ll continue to fight. Stay tuned for news and the next steps soon.
For now, to everyone who signed Jonathan Holmes’ petition, shared it with friends and family or came along today – thank you, and congratulations..
If you haven’t already, there’s still time to share Jonathan Holmes’ petition with friends and family on Facebook, or to write to the Board and urge them not to make cuts to the ABC’s current affairs coverage. In the meantime, stay tuned for more news on the future of ABC programs as we hear more.
Thanks for all that you do,
Erin, Kelsey, Alycia, Sally and the GetUp team
PS – Today’s event in Sydney was organised by our friends at the CPSU, MEAA and ABC Friends – and it couldn’t have happened without the incredible show of public support from people like you. Thanks for being there, and being a part of this critical fight to protect our public broadcaster’s most valuable reporting. We’ll post a video of some of the footage from the event on our Facebook page tomorrow – click here to follow GetUp on Facebook.