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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 August 2018) . . Page.. 3006 ..

I conclude by formally putting on the record that the Greens strongly oppose the privatisation of the ABC and any further cuts to the national broadcaster. Polls show that the public do not support cuts to the ABC. So we will certainly fight to oppose those cuts and any proposal to privatise the ABC, and do our best to ensure that proper funding is provided. I hope that members of the Assembly will join us in doing that, for the reasons I have outlined today. Hopefully I have underlined the importance of the ABC as both a source of independence and an important cultural institution here in Australia.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (5.30), in reply: In wrapping up, I would like to say that it is a real shame that the Leader of the Opposition thinks the ABC is irrelevant to Canberra. It is important because it affects Canberrans. The ABC is an important institution in Canberra, not just in Australia. When cuts affect Canberrans badly—our culture, our sport, our democracy and our parliament—they are worth discussion in our Assembly.

It is important to a leader of the Canberra Liberals because you have influence on whether your own party and your own conservative faction backs cuts to the ABC or backs the privatisation of the ABC. You may never sit on the treasury benches but you might be able to demonstrate your values and try to influence your federal colleagues. And you do need to be transparent about whether your party voted or abstained in this meeting. Whether they did reflects on your values and your leadership, and that is important in our democracy and in this Assembly.

There is also the fact that we want you and your colleagues to stop the cuts and support the ABC. Not once did I hear the Leader of the Opposition in his response say that he supports the ABC. I suspect that many of my constituents are avid watchers of the ABC, and I think it is really disappointing. I think they would be very upset with the response from the Canberra Liberals today and the continued reduction of funding for the programs they enjoy and the important news services that the ABC has provided over the past 65 years in Canberra and 90 years in this country. It is something that matters to their lives right here in the ACT.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Rulings from the chair

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (5.32): Madam Speaker, could I ask for your indulgence in order to clear up some things that occurred during the last debate?

MADAM SPEAKER: Are you seeking leave to clarify some comments?

MR GENTLEMAN: No, I want to ask for your advice.


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