Protesters tell MP to leave ABC alone

ABOUT 30 people voiced their concern about ABC funding at a protest rally in Nowra on Wednesday morning.

ANGRY: Organiser of the Nowra protest Kimberly Chiswell from Basin View hopes to pressure the government into leaving the ABC’s budget alone.

ANGRY: Organiser of the Nowra protest Kimberly Chiswell from Basin View hopes to pressure the government into leaving the ABC’s budget alone.

The group gathered outside Member for Gilmore Anne Sudmalis’ office chanting and holding placards.

They were there to express their outrage at proposed budget cuts to the national broadcaster, but also to hand Mrs Sudmalis a petition of more than 300,000 signatures online, of which 1641 were from Gilmore.

While the local protest was under way The Sydney Morning Herald reported ABC staff had been warned to prepare for painful budget cuts, job losses and the “tragedy” of the government scrapping the Australia Network international broadcasting service.

In an email to ABC employees, ABC board member and veteran journalist Matt Peacock argued even a small reduction to ABC funding would threaten jobs and lead to cutbacks in regional areas.

Organiser of the Nowra protest Kimberly Chiswell from Basin View was impressed with the number of people who felt passionately enough about the issue to come out and be a part of the public rally.

“I wanted to do this because the ABC helped shape me to be the socially conscious and informed person that I am,” she said.

Ms Chiswell presented Mrs Sudmalis with the petition on Thursday morning in front of a small group of ABC supporters.

Mrs Sudmalis reminded them that until the budget was handed down on Tuesday cuts to the ABC’s were only speculation.

Former ABC radio and television personality Earle Cross voiced his concern at Wednesday’s rally.

He was one of the members of the Argonauts children’s series for five years on radio and television.

“A lot of people are passionate about the ABC. It has entertained, educated and employed me for many years.

“No governments ever approve of the ABC’s independent voice. But no government before this one has planned to starve it to death.

“People who value the arts and trustworthy news will have to fight this arrogant government to the end,” Mr Cross said.

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