ABC News
Company typeDivision of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
IndustryBroadcast media
Founded1 June 1947; 77 years ago (1947-06-01)
HeadquartersABC Ultimo Centre
700 Harris Street, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Area served
Australia, Worldwide[a]
Key people
  • Justin Stevens
    (Director News, Analysis & Investigations)
ServicesTelevision, radio, online
ParentAustralian Broadcasting Corporation

ABC News, also known as ABC News and Current Affairs and overseas as ABC Australia, is a public news service produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Broadcasting within Australia and the rest of the world, the service covers both local and world affairs.

The division of the organisation ABC News, Analysis and Investigations is responsible for all news-gathering and coverage across the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's various television, radio, and online platforms. Some of the services included under the auspices of the division are its 24-hour news channel ABC News (formerly ABC News 24), the long-running radio news programs, AM, The World Today, and PM; ABC NewsRadio, a 24-hour continuous news radio channel; and radio news bulletins and programs on ABC Local Radio, ABC Radio National, ABC Classic FM, and Triple J.

ABC News Online has an extensive online presence which includes many written news reports and videos available via ABC Online, an ABC News mobile app (ABC Listen), podcasts, and in addition, all of the ABC news television programs available via the video-on-demand platform, ABC iview. As of 2021, the ABC News website includes ABC Sport, ABC Health, ABC Science, ABC Arts & Culture, ABC Fact Check, ABC Environment, and news in other languages.

Justin Stevens was appointed director of the division on 31 March 2022.


ABC News, from its inception in 1932, with ABC radio sourced its news from multiple sources, including cable news from London,[2] its own bureaus in Europe, the Middle East, Greece and the Asia-Pacific,[3] and in a fashion similar to commercial radio stations from local newspapers around Australia. [citation needed]

Censorship was rife during the war, particularly after the U.S. entered the conflict on 7 December 1941. After General Douglas MacArthur set up his headquarters in Australia, he wielded enormous power, including on matters of censorship. Inter alia, he declared that every Australian radio station would only broadcast three news bulletins per day and that these would be simultaneous on all stations (ABC and commercial) at 7.45 a.m., midday, and 7.00 p.m.[4] Weather forecasts were banned because it was felt that these may assist the enemy.[5]

The 7:45 a.m. bulletin was the only one that did not commence on the hour or the half-hour. Incredibly, this 7.45 bulletin continued to be heard on ABC Local Radio stations until as late as 19 September 2020. Therefore, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that the effects of war-time censorship were still felt in Australia until 2020.[6][7][8]

Notices[9] were issued banning radio stations from broadcasting some major wartime events, but as the federal government did not have the same power over the printed press as it did over the radio, newspapers usually reported events that radio was not permitted to mention.[5][10]

The ABC launched its first independent news bulletin on 1 June 1947 after years of negotiations with the Australian Government.[11]

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 mandates that the ABC "shall develop and maintain an independent service for the broadcasting of news and information" both within Australia on a daily basis, and also to countries outside Australia.[12]

The name of the division and director responsible has changed over the years. In 2004 it was the News and Current Affairs Division when John Cameron took over as Director from Max Uechtritz as Director.[13][14] The financial year 2008–2009 saw a lot of changes, both in the way that television content was produced as well as an "expansion of international news programming and continuous news across platforms, new programs and a range of appointments to senior positions". Kate Torney became director of the News Division in April 2009.[15]

In November 2014, a cut of A$254 million to funding over the following five years meant that the ABC would have to shed about 10% of its total staff, around 400 people. There were several programming changes, with regional and local programming losing out to national programs, and the Adelaide TV production studio had to close apart from the news and current affairs section.[16][17]

In late 2015[18] Gaven Morris was appointed Director of the News Division.[19]

24 Hour News Channels

The ABC announced in November 2016 that their 24-hour news service ABC News 24 and ABC NewsRadio would be rebranded under the ABC News division with an updated logo, commencing on 10 April 2017.[20] The ABC announced on that day that ABC News 24 and ABC NewsRadio were both called ABC NEWS, with a new logo and visual branding. They would be distinguished by context or by descriptors, such as "the ABC News channel" for TV and "ABC News on radio" for radio. Social media accounts would be merged.[21]

The Director's role changed its name to Director, News, Analysis & Investigations in 2017–2018,[22] and as of June 2021 Morris is still in the role.[23][24] During the 2017 to 2018 financial year, the ABC launched "Regional Connecting Communities" program, which provided funding for increased jobs in the regions, as well as more resources for local news, weather and live reporting.[22]

Justin Stevens was appointed director of the division of ABC News, Analysis and Investigations on 31 March 2022. [25]


The division is responsible for all news-gathering and production of news output for ABC television, the ABC network of radio stations, and for its online services. In 2018 it was estimated that online ABC news and current affairs reached about 4.8 million users in Australia each month.[22] As of 2021, the ABC News website includes ABC Sport, ABC Health, ABC Science, ABC Arts & Culture, ABC Fact Check, ABC Environment and news in other languages.[26]

Theme music

The news theme used from the first days of ABC television from November 1956 to 1985 was "Majestic Fanfare", composed by Charles Williams. From 1956 until the early 1980s the version used was the abridged version performed by the Queen's Hall Light Orchestra, from a recording made in 1943. Each bulletin opened with a clip from the top story of the day, with the title "ABC News" superimposed over the footage. Later, this on-screen approach was replaced by a generic graphic title sequence. In 1982, to celebrate the ABC's 50th anniversary, a new version of the theme was commissioned, which incorporated both orchestral and new electronic elements.[citation needed]

With the exception of a period in the mid-1980s, during which a synthesised theme ("Best Endeavours", written by Alan Hawkshaw, which was the theme for Channel 4 News in the UK) was used for around a year, this was used on radio until August 1988, and on television until early 1985. A reworking of "Majestic Fanfare" (essentially the original orchestration up one tone) was arranged by Richard Mills and recorded in 1988 by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.[citation needed]

From 1985, a theme composed by Tony Ansell and Peter Wall was used for 20 years, even after the 1998 brand refresh. In 2010, it was sampled and remixed by the group Pendulum and this revised work went on to be placed #11 on the Triple J Hottest 100 chart on Australia Day 2011.[clarification needed]

The theme for ABC News changed on Australia Day (26 January) 2005, to a piece written by Martin Armiger and John Gray, and for a couple of years it bore a resemblance to the original Peter Wall / Tony Ansell work in the opening signature notes. Wall challenged the ABC and was successful in reaching an agreement. The opening notes were removed and the work was re-arranged in 2010. The theme music from the 2005–2010 era was remixed by Armiger, giving it a more upbeat, synthesised feel.[citation needed]

On 1 July 2022, ABC News used the 1985–2005 theme during the ABC's 90th Anniversary.


Further information: History of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation § The television era: 1956


In March 1985, the ABC refreshed its structure and look, when the 7 o'clock news and the following current affairs program (at that time, Nationwide) were combined to form The National, and moved to 6:30 pm.[27] After The National was deemed unsuccessful,[28] that same year the news was refreshed again with a new set, graphics, and theme.[citation needed]

In 1998, the set was updated, a new opener featuring a light blue globe and the ABC logo was introduced, and the theme remained the same but was tweaked. The graphics also changed to match the new look.[citation needed]

Ultimo Centre - the current head office of the service[29]

In 2005, a new look (along with theme music) was introduced. The new look made use of an orange and blue globe motif. At the same time the set and graphics received a major overhaul to fit in with this look. This package was used until 21 July 2010, a day before the launch of ABC News.[citation needed]

In January 2010, the ABC announced that a dedicated 24-hour digital television news channel, named ABC News would be launched during the year.[30] The new channel commenced preliminary broadcasting with a promo loop in early July 2010, with the ABC re-numbering ABC HD channel 20 to logical channel number 24. The channel was officially launched as ABC News 24 at 7:30 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on 22 July 2010, and simulcast its first hour of transmission on ABC TV.[citation needed]

With the launch of ABC News on 22 July 2010, all 7 pm bulletins across Australia had a graphics overhaul to match the look of the new channel. The blue/orange globe style opener was replaced with a series of sliding panels, featuring images specific to each state. New sets were built in each capital city studio to match the ABC News 24 set and graphics were changed to match.[citation needed]

ABC News channel

Further information: ABC News (Australian TV channel)

The news bulletins such as ABC News Mornings, ABC News Afternoons, The World, and Weekend Breakfast are aired on ABC News along with its own 30- and 15-minute hourly bulletins.

National bulletins and programs

An ABC News broadcast trailer at the Australian War Memorial

National news updates are presented on ABC TV throughout the day, with evening updates at 7 pm presented live in most states by the respective state news presenters. Bulletins focus strongly on issues of state relevance, with a greater inclusion of national and international news items than are found in the news bulletins of commercial broadcasters. A national financial bulletin is presented on weeknights by Alan Kohler in Melbourne. The ABC's Ultimo studios produces the 8:30 pm weeknight update presented by Karina Carvalho.

News Breakfast is broadcast on weekdays from 6 am – 9 am on ABC TV and the ABC News channel from ABC's Melbourne studio and is presented by Michael Rowland and Lisa Millar, news presenter Bridget Brennan, sport presenter Tony Armstrong and weather presenter Nate Byrne. The program is also shown online and on ABC Australia in the Asia Pacific region.

Weekend Breakfast is broadcast on weekends from 7 am – 11 am on ABC TV and the ABC News channel from ABC's main national news studio in Sydney at Ultimo and is presented by Johanna Nicholson and Fauziah Ibrahim.

ABC News Mornings is presented by Karina Carvalho from the ABC's main national news studio in Sydney at Ultimo, and airs weekdays at 9 am on ABC TV and on the ABC News channel. Sport is presented by Tony Armstrong and weather is presented by Nate Byrne, both from the Melbourne studios.

ABC News at Noon (launched in February 2005 to replace the less successful Midday News and Business, preceded in turn by the long-running World at Noon) is presented by Ros Childs (weekdays) and Miriam Corowa (weekends) from the ABC's main national news studio in the Sydney suburb of Ultimo, and airs on ABC TV and ABC News channel in each Australian state and territory at midday Australian Eastern Standard/Daylight Time. A separate edition of the bulletin is produced for Western Australia two to three hours after the original broadcast, as the time delay was deemed too long to remain up-to-date.

7.30 is presented by Sarah Ferguson from the ABC's main national news studio in Ultimo, Sydney on ABC TV at 7:30 pm, weeknights. However, when a big state political event happens, the national program can be pre-empted by the local edition.

ABC Late News is presented by Michael Tetlow from the ABC's Perth news studio on ABC TV at 10:30 pm (eastern time), weeknights.[citation needed] A separate edition is presented from Perth for Western Australia also by Michael Tetlow on ABC at 10:30 pm (western time) and then ABC News channel at 11pm (eastern time) and 12:30 am. Later, he also hosts 15-minute News Overnight bulletins.[31]

Other news and current affairs programs broadcast nationally include Afternoon Briefing, ABC News at Five, 7.30, Insiders, Four Corners, Behind the News, Q&A, Landline, Offsiders, One Plus One, The Business, The World, Australian Story, Foreign Correspondent, Media Watch and Australia Wide.

State bulletins

ABC Australia

Further information: ABC Australia (Southeast Asian TV channel)

News and current affairs programs are also broadcast on ABC Australia, a channel broadcast to the region outside Australia. These include Four Corners, 7:30 and Q+A.[32]


Further information: ABC iview

ABC news television programs are available via the video-on-demand platform, ABC iview.


Further information: ABC Radio (Australia)

ABC NewsRadio is a radio station dedicated to news and current affairs.

ABC Radio Australia, which covers the Asia-Pacific region, broadcasts regular bulletins produced in Melbourne, featuring reports from foreign correspondents in the region.

National bulletins

State bulletins

State bulletins are produced by the ABC Local Radio station from the capital city of each state and mainland territory. They are broadcast to all ABC Local Radio and ABC Radio National stations in each state, and focus strongly on issues of state relevance, but also feature national and international stories. National bulletins air when state bulletins are not produced.

ABC Local Radio stations broadcast a flagship 15-minute state bulletin at 7:45 am, the only bulletin still introduced by the 18-second version of Majestic Fanfare. All other bulletins are introduced by a 9-second version of Majestic Fanfare. ABC Radio National and ABC Classic FM stations do not broadcast the 7:45 am bulletin, instead broadcasting an ordinary 8:00 am state bulletin and a 10-minute 7 am bulletin respectively, and continue to broadcast bulletins every hour when Local Radio stations broadcast bulletins every 30 minutes in the early morning.

Current affairs

ABC News produces several current affairs programs for radio. All share a quasi-magazine format, and investigate stories in greater depth compared to news bulletins.


Other news-related, factual and current affairs programs broadcast by the various radio stations of the ABC Radio network include:


All ABC radio stations are available via an ABC News mobile app, ABC Listen, from which podcasts are also available.


New South Wales
Northern Territory
South Australia
Western Australia


  1. ^ Internationally, the ABC is known as ABC Australia. The ABC broadcasts on television in parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. In the Pacific Islands, it is also broadcast live via satellite.[1]


  1. ^ "Ways to Watch | ABC Australia".
  2. ^ "ABC History | About the ABC".
  3. ^ "ABC History | About the ABC".
  4. ^ Walker, R.R., The Magic Spark - 50 Years of Radio in Australia, 1973, The Hawthorn Press, Melbourne
  5. ^ a b McLaughlin, Bill, From Wireless to Radio: The 3DB Story, The Herald and Weekly Times Limited Melbourne, 1985
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  8. ^ "RIP ABC 0745 News bulletin". 23 June 2020.
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  19. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2016). "Organisational Structure". From the Everyday to the Extraordinary: Annual Report 2016 (Report).
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  22. ^ a b c Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2018). Yours Now & Into the Future: Annual Report 2018 (PDF) (Report). p. 8,49.
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Further reading