Australia Network China deal puts pressure on Tony Abbott to keep his promise

The deal announced last week between the Australia Network and Shanghai Media Group will give the Australia Network the most extensive access to Chinese audiences by any Western broadcaster.

The contract puts further pressure on the Abbott Government not to break another election promise by cutting the Australia Network.

The Australia Network is a vital public diplomacy tool that reaches up to 167 million households, giving Asia and the world an insight into Australian life and values.

Other countries are investing heavily in their international broadcast operations. So if Tony Abbott cuts the network he will be putting Australia at a diplomatic disadvantage.

The Abbott Government has been softening the ground for weeks to scrap the network and break its promise not to cut funding to the ABC.

Before the election Tony Abbott promised hand on heart there would be no cuts to the ABC.

He said on SBS News the night before the election:

“No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST, and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.”

The ABC is funded to run the Australia Network. If Tony Abbott cuts it, he will have broken another promise to the Australian people.