ABC Friends National has welcomed the appointment of a new Communications Minister, Paul Fletcher, to set a fresh direction in strengthening  Australian public broadcasting after six years of financial cutbacks and political interference.

Mr. Fletcher has some background in communications having worked for a former minister Richard Alston and for Optus, as well as writing “Wired Brown Land? Telstra’s Battle for Broadband.”

ABC Friends National President Margaret Reynolds said she looked forward to establishing a working relationship with the minister and his office and ensuring that neither funding cuts nor privatisation of the ABC were on his agenda.

It was reassuring to read on Minister Fletcher’s electorate website a statement supportive of ABC independence:

“The ABC is run entirely independently of the Government of the day. This is to ensure the ABC acts solely in the interests of the Australian public.” (5 October 2009).

“Clearly Paul Fletcher, like his  Sydney North Shore constituents, recognises the role and value of the national broadcaster,” Margaret Reynolds said.