What is the future of the ABC?

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I am at a loss as to what direction the ABC is heading in news and current affairs. A move to long-form, on-demand video and in-depth digital content is overdue as the shallow level of “informing″⁣ discussion on multiple platforms of the ABC television channels has been apparent for years. But to discard Andrew Probyn’s skills doesn’t augur well for in-depth content. And while there is an intellectual frisson around long-form journalism it can be elaborated emptiness. It’s necessary for the ABC as the national broadcaster to go past the cliche of “speaking truth to power″⁣, a promo for one current affairs show, and provide thoroughly researched content on a range of issues and go well past an insular staff fascination with the Canberra bubble. Probyn always showed a critical view of the sincerity of the nation’s political class and should not have been let go.
Des Files, Brunswick

Political reporting will be diminished
The ABC’s decision to sack awarded and highly respected journalist Andrew Probyn is nothing short of gobsmacking. Probyn is an erudite, personable and articulate individual whose incisive analysis of political events was a standout in a landscape dominated by superficial 90-second sound-bites, fake news, and curated content. The strength of the ABC’s political reporting will be greatly diminished by his departure.
David Fox, Beaumaris

Budget pressure coming home to roost
I am struggling to understand in what universe ABC overlords do not see a role for a chief political correspondent. Wait. It must be the one in which replacing a respected, master commentator with the less experienced is seen as good value. Budget pressures are clearly coming home to roost for management. And we listeners and viewers are poorer for their deficient judgment.
Those of who use digital platforms to catch up, still look to broadcast news for deeper analysis and daily wrap-ups. Is the ABC truly prepared to sacrifice its position as political news breaker and exemplar in this way?
Sally Holdsworth, Malvern East

Wherefore the knowledge?
While the ABC may wish “to provide a seamless, personalised service that enables audiences to more easily discover content that is relevant to them”, who will develop this content for ABC News, iview and Listen if they sack knowledgeable staff?
Joe Wilder, Caulfield North

The ABC must be kept strong
How very sad and concerning that the ABC is cutting its news staff numbers including the role of political editor held by Andrew Probyn. Democracy needs good journalism to survive. The ABC is one of the few journalism outlets that provides this. We must keep the ABC strong.
Marguerite Marshall, Eltham


Going to the source
Your correspondent (16/6), on why they were voting No in the referendum, stated that we all originated from Africa, so one group having more of a voice than others was undemocratic. Well, weren’t we all fish before we could walk? Explicit and institutionalised racism is the cause of inhumane treatment of Indigenous peoples. What’s undemocratic is the outsize influence of self-interest lobby groups.
Patrick Alilovic,
Pascoe Vale South

Nothing to fear
I’m with those who see nothing to fear in the Voice proposal. The success of the referendum is critical to Australia’s good name internationally. Having initially opposed the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, we have since flipped to a position of ″⁣support″⁣ yet are still to adopt necessary federal legislation to constitute the formal ratification urged by the Law Council of Australia.
Official standing and parliamentary politics aside, the referendum remains a matter for decision by us, the people. Our First Peoples help to make the Australian community what we are. I can’t believe we will begrudge them the fair and modest requests they have put to us non-Indigenous lot in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
John Gare, Kew East

A dream, considering
Like your correspondent (Letters, 15/6) my wife and I also worked hard to pay off our mortgage in the 1980s. My wage was $20,000 a year while the house and land cost $65,000. Just a dream considering today’s prices and wages.
Peter McGill, Lancefield

Pay as you go
To your correspondent (Letters, 15/6), my husband and I lived as you did and saved for our retirement so we would be comfortable once we retired. I never used layby but saved for things we needed. Interest rates were 17 per cent and then dropped to 8 per cent so we managed to grow an inheritance to put our kids through private school education. Our strict budget kept us on track. I paid my university debt from my casual wages.
However, I believe franking credits should be capped at $10,000, negative gearing limited to one investment property and income tax be paid on superannuation earnings whatever your age. If we want quality government services, we have to pay for them.
Sandra Ashton, Beaumaris

Music’s strength
Instead of the state government giving fishing rods to schoolchildren, why not offer them music lessons, which will benefit every part of their lives?
As a former primary school classroom music teacher, with a bachelor of music education from the Melbourne University Conservatorium, I was horrified and deeply concerned to read how little music education trainee teachers actually receive (″⁣The beat doesn’t go on as music takes a hit″⁣, 15/6).
Many scientific studies show that taking part in musical activities is beneficial to every other area of a child’s learning.
The psychological benefits of singing or playing an instrument, especially with others, at any age, are endless.
I can personally attest to this, having stopped singing in choirs and playing my flute and piano for seven years in my 50s while I struggled with serious physical, mental and emotional health issues. When I returned to singing and playing, it was quite literally like coming alive again.
All children, and teachers, need to experience the joy that music can bring to their lives.
Joy Hayman,
Surrey Hills

A song for all
There is nothing artificial about the intelligence required to play a musical instrument.
A refreshingly analogue activity, learning to play music – whether it be mastering cello or ukulele – requires patience, analytical thinking and a kind of mad persistence. The skills honed at the piano keyboard or guitar fingerboard will only serve to nourish a rich Australian community life.
However, while Australian National Academy of Music alumni now sit in leading Australian and international ensembles, their journeys all begin at age five or six. The necessary conversation to be had regarding the evident lack of diversity sitting on stages of concert halls needs to start with one about equal access to quality music education, sitting cross-legged on the floors of primary school classrooms.
It is unfortunate that Victoria lags behind other states in the provision of access to trained music educators to its diverse communities. The disproportionate under-representation of Victorians at ANAM and in the Australian Youth Orchestra has drawn much comment over many years. ANAM welcomes the commitment of the state to seriously examine and address a challenge that bests the country’s ″⁣culture capital″⁣.
Nick Bailey, general manager,
Australian National Academy of Music, Abbotsford

Pass on that
The RBA and its governor Philip Lowe can be likened to contestants in the television show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? as many of the RBA’s answers to questions are based on chancy guess work. At least some of the contestants have the good sense to say “pass” when they don’t know the answer.
Malcolm McDonald,

Paralysing privilege
Ross Gittins (Comment, 15/6) has stirred up a hornets’ nest by suggesting that those who are economically ″⁣comfortable″⁣ should help those who are struggling financially.
The root cause of a breakdown of the rule of law and democracy is inequality. The government leans on the RBA, reluctant to use its own levers to reduce inflation, such as taxation and reining in concessions, for fear of losing office when the well-off object at the next election. Any hope of real reform is lost. Privilege continues to paralyse the nation. Shame.
Alastair Pritchard, Templestowe

Support food relief
The article on the record demand for food relief is timely (″⁣Charities tackling hunger can’t keep up″⁣, 15/6). It is alarming that ″⁣2 million Australian households have experienced severe food insecurity″⁣, and that food relief charities can’t keep up. With interest rates expected to further rise, and inflation stubbornly high in those sectors of the economy (including supermarkets) without a competitive structure it is likely that demand for food relief will rise.
All three tiers of government should offer more financial support to food relief charities and community centres, which do so much to help families experiencing particularly difficult economic circumstances. These organisations make excellent use of the dollars that they receive, partly due to their use of volunteers.
Andrew Trembath, Blackburn

ABC of despair
The ABC no longer sees the need for a political editor, and Andrew Probyn has to go. When you sack your best people it shows the extent of the dumbing down of the ABC caused by massive funding cuts perpetrated by the Coalition over successive governments. It seems that this will be further proven by the removal of the local Sunday bulletins. As a longtime consumer of the ABC I am in total despair.
Glenn Murphy, Hampton Park

Jack has the digit
In DA’s quick crossword (16/6), 7 Down is “Georgie Porgie’s digit”; answer – THUMB. However, I think there’s been a mix-up of nursery rhymes. Little Jack Horner “put in his thumb and pulled out a plum″⁣. Georgie Porgie “kissed the girls and made them cry”.
Sally Holt, Balwyn

A bout of feeling alright
Joe Cocker’s midnight concert in October 1972 at Festival Hall definitely had a boxing flavour about it. Joe was punch drunk, and many of us in the audience spent a lot of time on the ropes.
John Rawson, Mernda


Redundancy for Andrew Probyn from the ABC. Tell me I’m dreaming.
Carole Fitzgerald, Essendon

We must be in Denmark, because something smells rotten when the ABC no longer needs a political editor.
Donald Newgreen, Brunswick West

Dear ABC, please don’t replace journalists with entertainers. Australia deserves knowledgeable and balanced news presentations.
Barbara Lynch, South Yarra

The perceptive and talented Andrew Probyn made redundant? Aunty ABC has clearly lost her way. Speak up Ita, can the restructure.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South

I can’t believe the ABC has made Andrew Probyn redundant. What is it thinking? We need decent, smart journalists more than ever.
Judy Bell, Brunswick

No more state ABC TV Sunday night news, Andrew Probyn now gone — and so our ABC decays further.
Ian Macdonald, Traralgon

Donald Trump is like a cheap version of Silvio Berlusconi – the latter never took himself too seriously and had a certain panache, which is something Trump is completely bereft of.
Greg Bardin, Altona North

Parliament’s woes deepen should surely read, women’s woes deepen. Twas ever thus.
Myra Fisher, Brighton East

It’s sad and depressing to see the UK and US, apparently, in permanent decline.
Rod Matthews, Fairfield

What’s not to understand about the Voice: giving one the ability to have a say. Not that hard.
Wilma Buccella, Hawthorn

We’ve been procrastinating about mandatory seatbelts laws in buses for years. Just do it.
Russell Brims, Bentleigh East

Why are male footballers wearing ″⁣bra tops″⁣ while training?
Dawn Evans, Geelong

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