If The PM's Attacks On The ABC Sound Familiar, Perhaps It's Because His Mentor, BA Santamaria, Said It All 29 Years Ago

BA “Bob” Santamaria is often described as Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s first great political mentor, and the PM acknowledged, in his inaugural parliamentary speech 20 years ago, that the Catholic conservative and founder of the DLP and National Civic Council first sparked his interest in politics.

Back in the 1960s James Packer’s grandfather, Sir Frank, gave Santamaria a TV slot called Point of View, which gave him the chance to expound on a range of subjects, including the national broadcaster.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, this clip from 1985 survives on YouTube. In it, Santamaria begins “One of the more intractable problems to be handled by the federal Government… is that of the ABC,” going on to quote the then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, as saying “There is a pattern of bias in the ABC.”

Interestingly, Santamaria says the ABC is on a budget of $400 million. Back then it ran one TV station and a radio network that included a decade-old NSW-based youth station, 2JJJ.

Now the ABC runs four domestic TV stations, plus five national radio stations and a strong online presence. It does it on a budget of $830 million, plus $193m for transmission. So much for efficiency.

In the six surviving minutes of this Point of View, Santamaria rails against the ABC for paying to help the “de facto and homosexual” partners of staff relocate, and claims the broadcaster is a “protagonist of aberrant sexual practices” and “extreme” left-wing views.

The broadcaster was notorious for “envenoming” Australia’s relationship with Indonesia, particularly over East Timor, he claims.

The ABC is in chaos and should be abolished, he argues, to stop its left-wing “cultural monopoly”.

“There is no governmental solutions to the problems the ABC presents, since every federal Government, whatever its complexion, has found itself completely impotent to handle this problem,” Santamaria says, building to a crescendo before the recording is regrettably cut short.

If it wasn’t three decades ago, you’d swear you’re having deja vu.

Watch Bob’s two bob’s worth below.

Hat tip to David Bridie for making me aware of the clip.

Thanks also to @FlemishDog, who had this lying around on Betamax video and uploaded it.

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