Bill's Speeches







There are few institutions in this great country that Australians trust as much as the ABC.

The 80 year-old Majestic Fanfare – that famous signature ABC news theme – the signature for news in this country for 80 years. It is an alternative national anthem.

It is attention grabbing when we hear it. It means to us dignity and anticipation – when we hear the ABC signature theme, we know a guarantee of trust – radio and television – on the hour and every evening.

Over the years, much has changed in Australian life – but the work of our ABC continues to be as important as it has ever been.

When I look at this remarkable crowd – something we have learnt this week – is that there are few institutions in our life which will rouse Australian people to fight as hard for as the ABC.

Friends, it is our ABC.

From Playschool to ABC for kids. From Triple J’s Hottest 100 to Radio National’s Life Matters, we have seen from through our ABC the discovery of modern Australian rock. We have seen the irreverence in Australian sport captured in the Coodabeens and Roy and HG.

You’re gathered here because our ABC has been our friend. It is a constant in our childhood, in our adolescence, our mid-life and our older years.

It’s our ABC - in times of bushfire, cyclone, floods – it is the entity whose information we most trust in emergency.

For many of us, it has been, at some time in our lives our spare university.

It’s in music, in philosophical discussion, in science and the arts, political satire and the relentless pursuit of vested interests - our ABC has few peers on the planet.

Our ABC – in the early mornings throughout the length and breadth of this land. In our bush and in our cities, in the nocturnal hours of trucks driving across our massive continent – it is our ABC which provides us with our wakeful company.

Our ABC, friends, is an indelible part of millions individual memories. From summer cricket to winter football, it is our national identity – it is our national soul.

Ladies and gentlemen, our ABC has always been there for us. It is now time for us to be there for the ABC.

Our national government is attacking our national voice. This is not a government of national competition. This is a government of censorship.

This is a government of savages, ripping at the heart of our national institution.

They are launching a brutal attack despite promising in the clearest, most unambiguous language – ‘there will be no cuts to the ABC.’

Shameful it is and how shameless is it that some of its own Ministers, in a hilarious parody are now launching a petition against their own Government to reverse their own cuts that they voted for.

And what is the cost of this vandalism of our national excellence?

It is five cents a week.  How many of our heroes, Geraldine Doogue and Phillip Adams, Robin Williams, Angela Catterns and the roll call; how many of our heroes, how much of our national conversation do we sacrifice for five cents a week?

This Government is not just cutting the ABC, it is laying waste to the moral basis of our public, democratic life.

And do not be fooled by Malcolm Turnbull – his crocodile tears count for nothing as he lifts the axe.

He is the associate savage to Prime Minister Abbott. Complicit as Hockey, as determined as Pyne to rip the life and weaken the ABC.

But make no mistake, this is a fight the Government has brought on - but this is a fight where they have clearly underestimated the Australian people.

We are in a fight to support the ABC in every city and in every town, in every street and every house.

It has been reported today that the Victorian Liberals have built an Abbott Proof Fence, so petrified are they of Victorians meeting the Prime Minister before next Saturday.

He won’t come here, so I ask you and the hundreds of people you talk to - write, and phone, email, lobby your local member and this savage Prime Minister and his sidekick - the Minister for Communications - and say this to them:

How this, on top of everything else, the GP tax, the $100,000 fees, the climate change denialism - you know the laundry list of ideological extremism - this is the final straw.

Say how this erosion, this depletion, by Tony Abbott of our national politics and our national discussion and our national pluralism.

Say that this from the people of Australia, this is the tipping point of our national disgust with this rotten government.

And finish with this – Say this to this government - Keep your promise.

Keep our ABC.

Or there will be no forgiveness, no way back for this Government because we the Australian people; if we have to choose between the ABC and this rotten government, we will choose the ABC.

Thank you.