Read the text of Michelle Guthrie's speech
Australians regard the ABC as a great national institution and deeply resent it being used as "a punching bag by narrow political, commercial or ideological interests,” managing director Michelle Guthrie has told the Melbourne Press Club.
In a 19 June address pitched to “remind people what we stand for”, Ms Guthrie said the ABC makes a real and tangible contribution to the Australian community, including economic activity worth as much as its annual funding.
She said research by Deloitte Access Economics to be released next month shows the ABC contributed more than $1 billion to the economy last financial year, including in helping to sustain 6500 direct and indirect jobs.
Calls to privatise the ABC and questioning of whether it was needed were informed by a belief that the national broadcaster can be “pushed and prodded into different shapes to suit the prevailing climate”.
“It can’t, nor should it be,” Ms Guthrie said.