The ABC has cancelled plans to screen the 1975 movie Shampoo starring Warren Beatty instead of covering one of the Queen's diamond jubilee main events live this weekend, reports Tim Barlass in The Sydney Morning Herald, “Queen to screen live: ABC bottles out of Shampoo” (30/5). The report follows.
Monarchists on Sunday launched an online petition asking viewers "to show the ABC that they should perform the role and function for which they are funded by the taxpayers of Australia".
Australians for Constitutional Monarchy national convener David Flint wrote to ABC managing director Mark Scott condemning the decision to screen instead "a rather tired and motley collection of repeat programmes, old films and music videos".
And Bryan Stertern-Gill, chairman of the Monarchist League of Australia described the decision as "offensive".
Today the ABC changed its mind and issued a release showing that it had now dropped the movie to provide live coverage of the River Pageant, in which the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on the royal barge will lead a flotilla of 1000 boats on the Thames.
A spokeswoman for the ABC said: "We were still in negotiations with the BBC until 5pm on Monday. Once that was confirmed we altered the schedule accordingly."
Asked if decisions were always so last minute, she added: "That's the way it was working for this event – it [the diamond jubilee] doesn't come around very often."
Mr Flint said of the announcement: "It is a good thing the ABC realised that its previous decision was out of touch with the Australian people.
"We congratulate them on moving to fulfil their duty to the Australian people."