Mitchell constituents protest ABC defunding

Kate Moss of Baulkham Hills at this morning's protest. Picture: Isabell Petrinic

Kate Moss of Baulkham Hills at this morning's protest. Picture: Isabell Petrinic

Mitchell MP Alex Hawke will the small group of people who'd gathered outside his office in Terminus Street, Castle Hill, this morning with placards, calling on him to protect "our ABC". Pictured front with him is GetUp representative Annie Nielsen. Picture: Gary Warrick

Mitchell MP Alex Hawke will the small group of people who'd gathered outside his office in Terminus Street, Castle Hill, this morning with placards, calling on him to protect "our ABC". Pictured front with him is GetUp representative Annie Nielsen. Picture: Gary Warrick

Mitchell MP Alex Hawke MP was handed a petition with 240,000 signatures opposing ABC cuts Wednesday morning.

About 13 people could be seen outside his Terminus Street office in Castle Hill with placards, calling on him to protect ‘‘our ABC’’.

‘‘I don’t think anyone has to be angry just yet — nothing’s been announced,’’ Mr Hawke said.

His comment came after GetUp representative Annie Nielsen, of Winston Hills, delivered the petition which had been signed by a healthier number of Mr Hawke’s constituents — 883.

GetUp is a grassroots community advocacy group which organised for the petition to be simultaneously delivered at federal MP offices nationally this morning.

‘‘I got involved because I want to make sure my federal representative understands how important the ABC is to our community and why we, as GetUp members, won’t stand to see it defunded,’’ Ms Nielsen said.

‘‘I’ve been a Friend of the ABC for 20 years in their Parramatta branch and am an avid listener of Radio National.

‘‘The ABC is essential to giving the public unbiased factual information.’’

Mr Hawke said: ‘‘The government’s position at the moment is there will be no cuts to the ABC.’’

He said he supported the government’s efficiency review, but had always opposed the concept of the Australia Network.

‘‘It’s intended to be a mouthpiece for any government,’’ Mr Hawke said.

Ms Nielsen welcomed his assurances but her husband, Phil, felt the review was a justification to bolster the government in making these cuts.

Commenting on the poor public turnout, Ms Nielsen said it was understandable given the hand-over was on a weekday morning.

■ In a 2013 GetUp survey, protecting public broadcasters from cuts and privitisation ranked in Mitchell’s top four issues.

■ Sign GetUp’s petition: http://getup.org.au/ourabc

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