The ABC’s 730 Report on 7 July broadcast a highly unbalanced programme about The Queen’s finances. The ABC summarised this report blandly as the British royal household asking Westminster to approve a rise in its official annual income and the prime minister refusing the request.
In fact the report gave a platform for the minuscule UK republican movement to call for the abolition of the monarchy and to make unbased claims of impropriety about its financial reporting. How can the ABC possibly allow such statements to be aired?
The programme concentrated much of the report on the minor issue of a few "grace and favour " residences, which are well known, but ignores the important issue.
This is that for much of the last two decades the British government has seriously short-changed The Queen in relation to her own income and now profits outrageously from her, even at the price of denying necessary and urgent repairs to heritage buildings.
The sad fact is that the British government profits enormously by short-changing The Queen.
…platform for minuscule republican movement…
A representative of some small republican movement had a lot to say, making unfounded allegations, even suggesting impropriety in the accounts.
The story would have been more balanced by pointing out that the vast income of the Crown Estate is The Queen's and that the British government kept back around A$350 million last year.
This column has pointed out for many years that at the beginning of each reign the custom is that the Sovereign hands over her income in the Crown Estate to the government in return for the Civil List, to which are now added certain grants in aid.
We have been arguing that the way in which The Prince of Wales manages his income from the Duchy of Cornwall is a more effective and fairer model, and produces a greater benefit to the public. (See our recent column: "British government mismanages Royal Finances.")
…not one cent from Australia…
And finally, the ABC did not mention one fact which would interest Australian viewers. This is that the Australian taxpayer does not contribute one cent to the Royal Household expenses. Nor does the Canadian or New Zealand taxpayer, nor indeed those from the other Realms for which The Queen addressed the UN General Assembly this week.
We have written to the 730 Report concerning the lack of balance in this programme.