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Missing in Action

The ABC and Australia’s screen culture - 2017 paper by Kim Dalton


Dalton, K (2017) 'Missing in Action: the ABC and Australia’s screen culture', Platform Papers 51, Strawberry Hills, NSW: Currency House

'Over the last sixty years, Australia has developed an effective public policy framework that embraces Australian broadcasters, screen content and the independent production and creative sector. Yet today the ABC, Australia’s publicly owned national broadcaster and our most important cultural institution, operates outside this framework. Using its status as an independent statutory authority it disregards transparency, accountability and engagement with policy objectives, and instead pursues an internal agenda and its own priorities. The ABC Charter is outdated and inadequate. Australian programs are cut, funding is redirected, without reference to public policy and with no transparency or accountability. Dalton calls for a new Charter and governance measures to define the ABC’s responsibilities as a cultural leader and a public institution; and to provide[…] proper measures to achieve them.'

  • Kim Dalton is Adjunct Professor at the School of Communication and Creative Industries, University of the Sunshine Coast. In 2007 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to the film and television industry in policy, assistance to Indigenous producers and in the promotion of emerging visual technology. Kim has worked in the Australian and international film and television industry since 1973. From 1984 to 1987 he was General Manager of the Melbourne-based screen resource organisation, Open Channel.  From 1999, as CEO of the Australian Film Commission, Kim Dalton was responsible for overhauling its development programs, expanding its screen culture programmes and ensuring the agency’s and industry’s engagement with digital and online technology, production and distribution. As the Director of ABC TV from 2006 to 2013 he took ABC TV into the digital era, significantly expanding its broadcast and online services. He overhauled ABC TV’s organisational structure and its production model, and obtained significant additional funding for increased Australian drama, documentary, Indigenous and children’s programming.