Lib senator wants radical change at ABC
A LIBERAL backbencher wants the ABC to consider showing commercial advertising and sell off its headquarters in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Queenslander James McGrath has outlined a three-point plan to "save the ABC from itself" with the first step an independent wide-ranging review of the broadcaster.
"You are becoming the Westpac bank of the media world, in that you are focusing on everything else apart from your core business," he told parliament on Wednesday.
The review would look whether advertising should be broadcast on the ABC along with the organisation's charter.
Senator McGrath said the ABC's decision not to spend $1 million to broadcast the 2020 Olympics on radio raised questions over the point of a national media organisation receiving $1 billion in public money.
"It is no wonder the ABC is increasingly being seen as the un-Australian broadcaster rather than the national broadcaster," he said.
Senator McGrath also wants more transparency around appointments to ensure a diversity of political views.
"The problem with the ABC, is that it's become this giant groupthink. This giant blancmange. This left-wing jelly of just progressive views," he said.
He insisted he didn't want the broadcaster to be right or left-wing, challenging Australians to name one presenter regarded as right of centre.
"The ABC, which is funded by the taxpayers, those hardworking taxpayers, should reflect the views of those taxpayers," the former government minister said.
"Not those latte-lickers in those inner-city suburbs."
Under his plan, capital city headquarters worth $426 million would be sold off and the money given to paying down government debt.
"Those three properties in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane should be sold off and those ABC headquarters can be moved to the regions or to the suburbs," Senator McGrath said.