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Doubts ‘vital’ state TV show will be missed

SHOULD the gentle reader have nought to do of a Friday evening may we suggest plumping the couch cushions before watching ABC’s current affairs program, 7.30 Tasmania?
Nanjing Night Net

That is unless it has already disappeared without notice.

For with the ABC’s proposed budget cuts this may well be not only the last opportunity to view the magazine-style offering but permit it to go out on a high with the number of viewers boosted to several hundred.

No, not several hundred thousand watchers . . . just several hundred.

Indeed, a word of caution here as any sense of eager anticipation of a televisual feast may be somewhat blunted by chosen subject matter.

Last Friday, for example, the lead issue was health risks associated with soft cheese manufacture.

ABC producers obviously reckoned this was the whey to go.

With news that the ABC is to drop 7.30 Tasmania in 2015 as part of slashing $245 million over five years from its $1.2 billion annual budget, this correspondent launched himself on to the couch to report on what the viewer will miss on 7.30 Tasmania if it fails to reappear.

The answer is — nothing really.

There are, we are forced to admit, so many other ways to spend an evening marking the end of the working week than worry over whether dairy products should, or should not, be made from raw milk owing to health issues, or deal with “exclusive footage” of a Tasmanian devil digesting a Cape Barren goose on Maria Island. We kid you not.

Considering that, during last week state public servants struck for a day, Senator Jacqui Lambie left the PUP kennel, the closure of Deloraine’s Ashley youth detention centre was mooted and TasRail and TasPorts are rumoured to amalgamate, 7.30 Tasmania’s concerns that the digestive habits of indigenous marsupials and the making of dairy products were more important, it is no wonder gimlet-eyed ABC bean-counters have felt justified in chopping this sort of nonsense.

How curious, then, Greens’ MP Nick McKim’s plea to save 7.30 Tasmania because it is “vital to Tasmanian democracy”.

With the environmentalists’ party dreaming of a rural idyll, perhaps Mr McKim assumes that the cheese-makers will inherit the earth.

It is all so sadly symptomatic of the current ABC.

Apart from programs such as 7.30 Tasmania not returning in the new year, other iconic features have already knocked off for 10 weeks.

ABC Media Watch presenter Paul Barry has left the media to soldier on without the program’s 15-strong staff producing their 13 minutes of television a week.

Four Corners’ Kerry O’Brien has gone, as have Q&A, Compass, Catalyst, Landline and Australian Story, all of whom are on a “well-earned break” until late January.

You wonder how the ABC, staring at that $245 million annual drop in revenue over five years, and the loss of 400 employees from what has been described as a “bloated workers’ collective”, can still knock off so early.

Emboldened to levels higher than Mt Ossa in attempting to highlight waste on the airwaves, the Australian newspaper labelled managing director Mark Scott and chairman Jim Spigelman as “polite progressives” before succinct criticism claiming them as: “needy fathers who keep funding the digital dreamscapes of furry hipsters and the denialism of middle-aged Triple J-sters”.

The upshot is the ABC is seemingly happy to abandon outposts such as Tassie in favour of circling the wagons around its Ultimo, Sydney, headquarters.

Underlining the view that Scott and Spigelman are “urban sophisticates”, the national daily suggested that, although the pair lack rural street cred, they “wouldn’t be lost at a fine eatery in Sydney or Melbourne.”

Perhaps, dare we say, consuming fine Tasmanian wines while discussing the virtues of cheese made from unpasteurised Tasmanian milk.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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