We encourage you to read the following email from Quentin Dempster, Walkley award winning journalist and author, who worked at the ABC for 30 years as a renowned political and investigative reporter, TV current affairs presenter and interviewer.

The ABC is suffering.

Our great public broadcaster’s problems are now obvious to all. After 10 years of punitive funding cuts, deficiencies have accumulated across news and current affairs, drama, documentary, and specialisations in science, health, education, environment, information, music, the arts, sport and entertainment.

This comes on top of Australian media industry disruption arising from the digital revolution. With more people accessing content via US digital platforms, it is vital that we sustain and rebuild an Australian public broadcaster committed to enhancing democratic engagement and countering disinformation.

You may feel defeated and that the ABC’s cause is lost. That’s what the ABC’s formidable enemies want you to feel. In many ways we have witnessed the undermining of the ABC, both politically and psychologically.

Those working inside the public broadcaster are under relentless external attack as they strive to meet their demanding workloads. With the stripping out of hundreds of mentors through “restructures” and “downsizings” over the last 10 years, is it any wonder that inexperience and mistakes are amplified by the ABC’s rivals and haters?

All of us who want a strong, fearless, innovative and dynamic ABC must demand its restoration as a major influence in our national life. But this year’s federal budget made no provision for rebuilding.

In earlier budgets, the Albanese government secured five year funding and indexation, but the increases it provided have gone nowhere near addressing the ABC’s depleted capacities.

In fact, the opposite has occurred. Over the past two years another 120 staff have been made redundant, favourite programs like The Drum have been discontinued, and there are even more repeats. Michael Ward’s recent report, published on the ABC Alumni and ABC Friends websites, exposed a 41% decline in original content.

Devastating. Destructive.

With an election due by May next year we must make rebuilding the ABC a major federal election issue. That’s why I’m appealing directly to you.

Please join our campaign and donate to ABC Friends

Don't forget that ABC Friends, a grass roots organisation, was an influential voice at the 2022 election, helping elect candidates who championed the ABC. It can do this again in 2025.

ABC Friends has already begun planning its campaign. Through digital advertising, billboards, rallies and direct communications with voters in marginal electorates, it will highlight the enormous challenges that still face the ABC. It will remind politicians that the job of restoring the ABC is not over – in fact, it’s hardly even begun.

But it can’t do this work without your help.

We made a difference in 2022 and we can be a decisive influence at the next election. But it is up to us, the people of Australia, to fight for that outcome in the national interest.

Among my own rallying chant will be: Bring back Lateline!

What will yours be?

Join us ... won’t you?

Please donate to the ABC Friends campaign to sustain and rebuild our ABC.

Thank you,
Quentin Dempster AM

Quentin Dempster


Journalist and author