Tourism News

Tourism News Phuketwan Tourism News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


It says ''Plus'' but the new network reduces coverage from 24 hours to six

Australia Plus Serves Up Minuses

Monday, September 8, 2014
BANGKOK: It's official. The lives of tens of thousands of Australian expatriates in Asia will change forever at midnight on September 28, hours after the AFL grand final.

A stake will be driven through our souls. For months we have been in denial: how could it be true that our government could close the ABC-managed Australia Network service?

No more footy.*

No more Virginia Trioli's face smiling behind her dark glasses early on ABC 'News Mornings,' bringing us up to date with the latest from home and abroad.

No more Tony Jones and 'Q&A.'

No more Zoe Daniel and Jim Middleton fronting their program 'The World,' a showcase news program in Asia (Middleton, a fine journalist, has taken a package and left the ABC after 44 years).

We won't of course miss some of the programming, like Channel Nine's 'The Block.' But those of us who have been in Asia a while remember the sheepdog trials that were shown in the early days.

Actually, I liked watching the sheepdog trials.

OK, I acknowledge I am writing this from the perspective of a passionate Collingwood supporter. I can't imagine what it will be like next season.

I wake up in the night in a cold sweat thinking about the difficulties of trying to live-stream games on my dodgy internet.

But this is more than an atrocity inflicted on those of us out here deprived of Four'N Twenty meat pies.

For my children there will be no more 'Bananas in Pyjamas' or 'Giggle and Hoot.' How do you feel about that, Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop?

About 80 jobs have gone as a result of the axing of the network which has operated since 1993, then known as ATVI.

Lynley Marshall, the CEO of ABC International, announced the date of the closure in an email to staff and partners.

''We will be terminating the Australia Network service at midnight Australian Eastern Standard time on Sunday the 28th of September. We apologise for any inconvenience,'' she wrote.

Oh, by the way, something called Australia Plus Television will provide a six-hour block of television from October 5, but details are vague about what will be shown or how to see it.

There is even a suggestion of pay-for-view content. Pay for our own ABC!

What many of us out here do not understand is if there is a crushing need to save $223 million over 10 years by axing the service, why not just give us ABC 24?

That would provide a forum for Asian nations to see how our robust democracy works and provide a reliable news service for Australians in the region.

As the curtain falls, Ms Marshall left a glimmer of hope that sanity will one day prevail.

''Thank you for your support of Australia Network and the ABC over the years and we hope that one day in the future we may be able to partner you again,'' she wrote.

*footy: the shortened form for Australian rules, the athletic form of football involving use of hands, leaping and long-distance kicking that Aussies reckon to be the best sport in the world. That may explain why they keep it to themselves.

Lindsay Murdoch is Fairfax Media's Bangkok-based South-East Asia correspondent


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I am not an Aussie but lived there and watch ABC. I will be sad when it closes but can't they replace it with another Australian channel?

Posted by Feisty Farang on September 8, 2014 15:44

Editor Comment:

Not the way these deals are done. But maybe they could broadcast it from a third country . . . their contacts are constantly improving.


Another Tony Abbot cutback the world will surely end.

Posted by slickmelb on September 8, 2014 18:33


Wait and see: there's much speculation that this was part of Abbott's election promise to Murdoch for the shoe-in he got from News Corp media. You'll likely see it become another Fox-related channel in the near future. He needs the transponder spot to get into China.

Posted by Steve on September 8, 2014 20:24


I too will miss the marvelous programs on Aust TV such as Q&A, footy, "A moody Christmas" but I'm hoping they will be available on line. I guess we have to and see. What I am also very disappointed with is will we and Jenny Brokie ever find out what Tom feels about his past life as a Nazi and I never did see the audience with their mouths wide open. That would have been amazing. She asks the questions every time I turn on the TV.

Posted by seht1912 on September 9, 2014 08:35

Editor Comment:

Yes. How will we know what's politically correct? Maybe switch to Fox?

Friday December 9, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter