The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fine words on why we need the ABC

To quote the ABC's Mark Scott:

"Some argue that if the ABC would just quit the news and information business, then the market would happily step up to provide what we are offering and get a market price for it. You know sometimes there's far less to the market than meets the eye.

Let's ignore for the moment that in this scenario, news and information - a means through which we make democratic choices more meaningful - would no longer be available to all, but only to those who can afford it. Besides what this would mean for civic life, there is simply no evidence to support the idea that the market would replace that which the ABC had been asked to abandon.

At the ABC, we are determined to be energetic and curious, to be great storytellers and innovative in the way we tell them - and to increasingly be great partners with our audience and hosts of a national conversation.

And yes, the ABC should be a town hall, a commons, a place for connecting not just with content but connecting with each other. To be entertained, to learn from and to be informed by each other.

A town hall that excludes no one. A town hall which is not - as Tony Abbott's first TV public forum at Rooty Hill was - locked behind the pay TV wall. No citizen in a nation should have to buy a ticket to participate in democratic life. We should always have a public space that's open to every Australian, regardless of income, regardless of age, regardless of geography."