The ABC’s Bananas in Pyjamas have pleaded with Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to stop mooted funding cuts to the public broadcaster on a billboard in his Sydney electorate.
The hoarding at Rushcutters Bay, which shows the children’s characters looking distressed next to the message “Protect Our ABC”, is part of a crowd-funded GetUp! campaign urging the federal government not to slash the ABC’s annual $1 billion funding.
“We’re calling on Malcolm to save our ABC,” GetUp! director Sam McLean said on Thursday.
“The Liberal Party have been making moves to cut the ABC ever since they got into power.
“It’s time for Malcolm Turnbull to step up and end this talk of cutting the ABC.”
The broadcaster has come under fire from Prime Minister Tony Abbott over its broadcast of allegations that asylum seekers were abused by the Australian navy.
Mr Abbott said the ABC’s coverage “instinctively takes everyone’s side but Australia’s”.
But Mr Turnbull defended the national broadcaster’s editorial independence on Thursday.
“Politicians, whether prime ministers or communications ministers, will often be unhappy with the ABC … but you can’t tell them what to write,” he told Fairfax.
The ABC’s longest serving presenter, Playschool’s Benita Collings, said the broadcaster provided quality programming across news, current affairs, drama and kids’ shows.
“It’s a great channel. Why would you get rid of it?”
GetUp! member Linda Curtis said an attack on the ABC was an attack on democracy.
“The ABC is as important as our national library. Destroying its content is like burning books.”