ABC website deal raises perception of bias: Bragg
Dec 9, 2020 – 12.00am
Liberal senator Andrew Bragg has lashed ABC boss David Anderson over a deal between the national broadcaster and a news website bankrolled by industry superannuation funds.
Senator Bragg labelled the website, The New Daily, "nothing more than the media arm of the super funds' lobby group" and said the deal gave rise to a "perception of bias" at the ABC which he accused of attacking super critics.
Liberal senator Andrew Bragg has taken aim at super fund spending. Alex Ellinghausen
In a strongly worded letter to Mr Anderson, Senator Bragg rebuked the ABC's response to questions about the deal between it and The New Daily, including how much it was worth.
Responding to Senator Bragg's questions, the ABC confirmed The New Daily bought content, including text and images, a News in 90 Seconds package and ABC Now, but did not disclose how much money it received.
Mr Anderson had previously said he would be "happy to give you a range, if you like, of what revenue we get from that", prompting Senator Bragg to urge Mr Anderson to keep his commitment.
Senator Bragg is a strident critic of industry super funds' investments in The New Daily, which he claims does not meet the sole purpose test required of fund trustees.
The sole purpose test requires trustees to only make decisions in the best interests of members. The government is legislating to change the test to require only decisions which are in the "best financial interest" of members.
Industry sources said the deal was worth a little more than $50,000 per year. Senator Bragg on Monday moved a motion in the Senate calling on the ABC "to respond in a timely manner to the questions placed on notice at Senate Estimates".
The ABC said it had and would continue to respond to questions before the Senate imposed deadline.
Ronald Mizen is a reporter for the Australian Financial Review based in our Parliament House bureau in Canberra. Connect with Ronald on Twitter. Email Ronald at firstname.lastname@example.org