There wasn’t heaps of media kickers in Scott Morrison’s Budget last night, but it could be what wasn’t said that could have the biggest ramifications.
SBS scored a $8.8 million funding injection and reports of more flexibility in how much ads it can show and when.
The prevailing mood of the night appeared to be to try and upset as few people as possible, and the ABC – regularly accused of bias against the federal government – didn’t get its $1.22 billion annual budget touched.
However, there are bigger ramifications there. One Nation – who now refuse to speak to the ABC over bias claims – wanted Morrison to slash the public broadcaster’s annual funding by a whopping $600 million.
One Nation claimed the cut was need to repair the budget, however, it arguably had more to do with spite than the best interests of the nation.
The big problem is the federal government needs the support of the four One Nation senators in the upper house to get many of its proposals through. No more so than the media reforms announced over the weekend that both Labor and the Greens have said they’d block.
In mid-April, One Nation senator Brian Burston said: “If they’re not forthcoming in reducing funding to the ABC as part of their budget repair we’ll have to seriously consider what budget repair options (we support) that the Liberal Party puts forward. ”
It’s about time we apply a little bit of pressure on the government to do something about the left-wing, Marxist ABC,” the aggrieved senator wailed.
There has yet been no response to last night’s Budget from the One Nation party.
In other Budget media news, there’ll be $30 million more to promote women’s sport on pay TV (announced in the weekend media reforms), there’ll be more money for community radio in regional and metropolitan areas, and $6 million will be cut from the budgets of film crews who film outside of Australia.
The Budget also predicted a hit of $414.5 million over the forward estimates if, and when, TV licence fees are abolished as outlined in the weekend’s media reforms.