A timeline of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine saga courtesy of Justin Stevens, executive producer of the ABC’s 7.30 program
19/8/20 PM media release: “Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, if it proves successful, through an agreement between the Australian Government &… AstraZeneca.”
7/9/20 Govt announces $1.7 billion Uni of Oxford/AstraZeneca & the Uni of QLD/CSL Manufacturing agreements. PM says “a home-grown sovereign plan for vaccines is the hope I bring to Australians today.”
The ABC is always whinging about the funding cuts it has had to suffer, with the Federal Government having cut the public broadcaster’s annual handout by a sizeable amount.
But the corporation makes its case weaker by splurging out on cosmetic exercises to keep its big names happy, with a case in point being Sarah Ferguson’s Four Corners program on the riot in the US capital on January 6.
Had Ferguson’s effort offered some context about the incident, instead of being a straight news program, it would have made some sense. But what is the point in having an Australian reporter file a 45-minute piece about an incident that occurred nearly a month prior?
Audiences in Australia have been enduring a surfeit of coverage about the riot, with there being no shortage of news clips from US broadcasters being shown on the ABC, the other public broadcaster SBS, and also the three Australian commercial channels.
Add to this the fact that the ABC already has three staff reporters in the US. The corporation’s news channel has a weekly program devoted to the US called Planet America so there is no dearth of coverage of the country.
Ferguson and her husband, Tony Jones, went to the US on January 15 along with a production crew. The ABC must have spent a decent sum on their upkeep and travel. So how can the corporation justify its grumbling about funding cuts when it seemingly has plenty of cash to indulge Ferguson and let her make vanity broadcasts?