MEAA blames federal budget for the demise of the ABC’s fact-checking unit

19 May, 2016 by Staff Writer

ABC Fact Check.


The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance has laid the blame for the demise of the ABC's fact-checking unit squarely at the feet of this month’s federal budget.

"The announcement by ABC management yesterday afternoon of fourteen positions to be cut from the Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne newsrooms has been made more painful by yet another deplorable use of targeted redundancies", the MEAA said in a statement.

"Talented journalists from the Fact Check Unit and National Reporting Team now have been given their marching orders, with little notice their position was in the firing line, and no chance to explore swap-outs or redeployment options before their positions were eliminated."

The ABC’s newsgathering budget has been cut by $18.6 million over the next three years.

“As we had warned, these cuts – on top of the more than $250 million which was cut in 2014 and 2015 – will place news services at the ABC under extreme pressure,” said MEAA CEO Paul Murphy.

“The timing for this decision could not be worse: in the lead up to the federal election, when strong journalism to independently scrutinise politicians’ claims and counter-claims is needed.

“It is disturbing that even after these cuts, the Director of ABC News, Gaven Morris, has warned of more challenges to continue delivering original and investigative journalism and local and regional newsgathering.”

The MEAA and the Community and Public Sector Union are currently seeking the removal of a “skills matrix” process used for targeting people for redundancy in enterprise agreement negotiations with the ABC.