Culture

Five Things The Government Could Cut Instead Of The ABC

Rather than firing nearly 10% of the ABC's workforce, surely there's other governmental fat that can be cut first...

This morning, Mark Scott made his much anticipated announcement to staff, detailing exactly how the ABC would make the $254 million worth of cuts called for by the Abbott Government. Somewhat bizarrely, it wasn’t a case of everyone collectively being $254 million more efficient: a Malcolm Turnbull wet dream where ABC staff don’t take lunch breaks but are instead fed liquified interns intravenously while suspended in a fluid-filled pod that keeps them awake 24 hours a day.

Instead, 400 will lose their jobs, Stateline will be axed, and Lateline will reformatted and shifted to ABC News 24. Radio suffered casualties as well, with a number of stations being scaled back, while Radio National’s Bush Telegraph will be axed completely.

The whole thing seems rather ludicrous: Mark Scott might as well have been standing in front of a herd of obese cattle being forced to trim the fat off a vole skeleton. Rather than firing nearly 10% of its workforce, there must be some other governmental fat that can be cut first, right?

For instance:

#1. Fighter Jets!

Remember those 58 fighter jets we bought for $12 billion? The ones that need a further $12 billion to keep them operational until 2024?

“Sorry, how much is that, Mr. Plane Salesman?”

“Half a deficit please.”

“Cool. Will you accept five ABC regional centres as payment?”

As fantastic as spending money on 58 identical ways for pilots to die might sound for a government claiming a desperate budget deficit, would Australia be any less macho-missile-Top-Gun awesome if it were, say, fifty-seven fighter jets?

That way we still get to bomb some exotic geography in the least successful flight sim ever, but we also get to have a network on TV that has the audacity to publish un-Australian facts.

#2. The News Corp Tax Rebate!

Ok, so you really love fighter jets. No problem, you can keep them. Instead, why not plug the new hole in the ABC’s funding with a fraction of News Corp’s tax rebate?

A sweet near-$900 million went back to News Corp this year, meaning you could make up the ABC’s budget cuts TWICE over and still leave Rupert Murdoch $400 million to bathe in — or whatever it is he does with all that money (hire a flat-earther to colonically irrigate his fusty innards with crude oil? Probably).

#3. Direct Action!

Fine fine: you love seeing $12 billion fly around in the sky for a bit before it crashes in a storm it can’t cope with; you adore watching a wrinkled Palpatine stunt-double husk kicking your money around like a kid in dry autumn leaves. But surely you wouldn’t mind if we got rid of Direct Action, the policy fart in the elevator of environmental politics?

Direct Action literally amounts to your money rewarding huge companies that have figured out how to shit on the earth a fraction less than they used to. “Who’s a good, absolutely massive corporation? That’s right, you, you little shnooky wookums. Have tonnes of our cash for doing what you should have been doing in the first fucking place.”

Why not give money to every world leader that didn’t commit a war crime yesterday as well?

#4. School Chaplaincy Program!

Right right. Broken planes, megalomaniacal walking scrotum with eyes, desolate earth. You love all of them. Got it.

But how about school chaplains? In Joe Hockey’s budget, school chaplains were allocated $243 million — almost exactly as much as the ABC’s cuts — yet they remain less appealing than being locked in the back of a meat truck with anyone from the Gamergate hashtag.

Seriously, take the Government’s school chaplaincy program out of context, put it anywhere else, and ask if you’d still like to splash out $243 million. What about a University Warlocks Program? Postgraduate Palm-Readers, anyone?

#5: Offshore Processing!

No? Okay. That’s fine. Winged suicide caskets. Withered, just-drank-the-wrong-grail media ballsack. Global burning. Stoneage belief counsellors. Your money is very well spent on all of those above things, and you still demand the ABC be cut. I understand.

How about asylum seekers, then? As much fun as it sounds to spend more than a billion dollars imprisoning 2,200 asylum seekers in offshore nightmare facilities in Papua New Guinea and Nauru — facilities that, in humanitarian terms, lie somewhere between Shutter Island and the Bates Motel — we could save a hefty chunk of that money even if we went completely crazy and had all “boat people” on Centrelink benefits for the entire time it took to decide their refugee status–a move that would only cost $500 million, which would go directly back into local economies.

You want to keep that as well? Really?

Well then, the next time you publicly tweet your outrage that your money is going to the ABC, perhaps you should change your profile picture to the new Coalition logo: a taxpayer-funded homeopath flying a knackered stealth fighter into a solar panel held up by a refugee.

Jazz is a stand-up comedian who has written for A Rational Fear (Radio National), The Roast (ABC2), and The Guardian Australia. Find him on Twitter at @jazztwemlow

Feature image via GetUp