Patrick Mullins & Matthew Ricketson: Who Needs the ABC? | Melbourne Writers Festival

The ABC has survived numerous crises in recent times – funding cuts, internal tensions and attacks by commercial media rivals chief among them. As it enters its 90th year, a panel of experts discuss how our national broadcaster arrived at its current plight and what its future role will be in a shifting media, technology and political landscape.

Featuring Emeritus Professor of Politics at La Trobe University Judith Brett, Culture News Editor for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald Osman Faruqi, former Media Watch host and chair of ABC Alumni Jonathan Holmes and co-authors of Who Needs the ABC? Matthew Ricketson and Patrick Mullins, in conversation with Sophie Black.

This event is supported by the Australia Institute.


Patrick Mullins is a Canberra-based writer and academic who has a PhD from the University of Canberra. Tiberius with a Telephone, his first book, won the 2020 NSW Premier’s Non-Fiction Award and the 2020 National Biography Award. He is also the author of The Trials of Portnoy: how Penguin brought down Australia’s censorship system.

Professor Matthew Ricketson is an academic, author, and journalist. He is head of the Communication group at Deakin University; before that, he was inaugural professor of journalism at the University of Canberra between 2009 and 2017, and ran the journalism program at RMIT for 11 years. He has worked for a number of newspapers and media organisations, and is the author of several books. He assisted former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein QC in the Independent Media inquiry that reported to the federal government in 2012.

Who Needs the ABC?

For the past nine years, the ABC has been besieged. Its funding has been slashed. It has been assailed by complaints from ministers and prime ministers. Its board has been stacked with political appointees. It has been relentlessly attacked by commercial media outlets. And it has endured crisis after crisis.

Who Needs the ABC? charts how, in its 90th year, the best-trusted news organisation in Australia arrived at its current plight: doing the most it ever has, with less than it needs, under a barrage of constant criticism.

This book examines the profound changes that have swept through the Australian…

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Matthew Ricketson

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Patrick Mullins

Patrick Mullins is a Canberra-based writer and academic who has a PhD…

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Who Needs the ABC?

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