http://aus.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/CRICKET_NEWS/2005/JAN/162415_AUS_20JAN2005.html said:Free-to-air campaign for this year's Ashes
January 20, 2005
The Queensland Prime Minister Peter Beattie is mounting a campaign to have the 2005 Ashes series aired on free-to-air television.
"Aussies should not be forced to pay to watch an Ashes series," he told the Melbourne-based Herald Sun newspaper. "As far as the average Aussie is concerned this is our nation's longest-running and most important international sporting event. Unless the ABC or SBS take it up Aussie cricket lovers will pay."
John Howard, Australia's Prime Minister, who is an enthusiastic follower of cricket himself, had told Beattie in a reply to a letter sent at the end of last year that the issue was one for the free-to-air broadcasters to decide. And today, he added that that if, for commercial reasons or other obligations, the Ashes could not be covered by commercial television, then the ABC should be given a crack at it.
Beattie wants more: "In light of the PM's response I am again asking that he does just this - if not the ABC - then SBS might be drafted."