I've written to the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs about its $20M PA contract with the ABC
Mr Peter N Varghese AO
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
On 31 August 2012 then Minister for Foreign Affairs the Honourable Bob Carr announced that the Government had entered into a funding agreement with the ABC for the ongoing delivery of the Australia Network.
The Department’s Annual Report refers to “the Australian Government's contract with the ABC for the Australia Network Service”.
The accounts show the department paid the ABC $21.9M last financial year.
The current DFAT Budget Statement, Program 1.3, Public Information Services and Public Diplomacy tells us why you pay our money to the ABC.
The ABC is contracted to deliver part of the Department’s Program Objective:
To project a positive and contemporary image of Australia and promote a clear understanding of government policies.
That is the purpose to which you put our $20 million.
The Australia Network News headline, or lead story for Saturday, 23 November was:
Opposition labels Government’s Asylum Seeker Briefings a “weekly embarrassment”
And for Sunday, 24 November:
“Climate deadlock broken” a report on the purported agreement to an “ambitious climate pact to combat global warming” at Warsaw, a UN conference to which Australia did not send a ministerial representative.
Why are you paying the ABC?
Have you advised it of a default or breach of our contract with it?
This is an open letter and I would like to publish your reply.
UPDATED WITH REPLY
|[SEC=UNCLASSIFIED] Automatic reply: $20m for the ABC to project a positive image of Australia and government policies