The federal opposition has defended the valuable work done by the ABC's Australia Network amid speculation the Abbott government could axe the Asian broadcasting service.
Acting opposition leader Tanya Plibersek says reports that more than 200 million dollars could be pulled from the service represent the latest "petty tit-for-tat exchange" the government is having with the ABC.
Ms Plibersek says she's very proud the Australia Network is demonstrating the importance of a free and fair press and government scrutiny to the region.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has accused the ABC of acting against Australia's interests, in a scathing assessment of the national broadcaster.
The ABC has been at the centre of political attention in recent months over its reportage of Australian spying on Indonesia - based on documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden - and of claims asylum seekers may have been abused by navy personnel.
Interviewed on commercial radio on Wednesday, Mr Abbott took aim at the broadcaster's standards.
"It dismays Australians when the national broadcaster appears to take everyone's side but our own and I think it is a problem," the prime minister told Macquarie Radio.
"You would like the national broadcaster to have a rigorous commitment to truth and at least some basic affection for the home team, so to speak."
Referring to the Snowden documents, Mr Abbott said the ABC "seemed to delight in broadcasting allegations by a traitor".
"The ABC didn't just report what he said, they took the lead in advertising what he said. That was a deep concern," Mr Abbott said.
The ABC should report the news straight and should not "leap to be critical of your own country".
Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek says the ABC is a long-standing part of Australia's cultural fabric.
"From emergency broadcasts in times of trouble to coverage of the events that shape our nation, the ABC is there, free for all Australians," she told AAP.
"Since it began, every government has been subject to the close scrutiny of the ABC and we should all welcome that."
Mr Abbott should stop complaining about media coverage and "start behaving like a prime minister", she said.
Labor communications spokesman Jason Clare said Mr Abbott had promised the day before the 2013 election that there would be no cuts to the ABC but was now laying the groundwork for cuts.
Liberal senator Cory Bernardi last year told a coalition joint party room meeting the government should cut the broadcaster's funding to balance the federal budget.
ABC spokesman Michael Millett declined to comment.
Employment Minister Eric Abetz on Wednesday praised the ABC and Fairfax Media for their reporting on union corruption allegations, saying they had done a "great public service".
Asked whether he agreed with the prime minister's comments, Senator Abetz said: "I think every Australian will make up their own mind in relation to the ABC."
In November last year, ABC boss Mark Scott told a Senate hearing that releasing the Snowden material - which revealed phone tapping of the Indonesian president and his wife by Australian spies - had been in the public interest.
But he appreciated that the release of some of the material might have caused some short-term strains in Australia-Indonesia relations.
Friends of the ABC spokeswoman Glenys Stradijot told AAP the prime minister appeared to be trying to intimidate the broadcaster.
"We are worried that Mr Abbott's actions may be intended to threaten the ABC about its funding in the lead-up to the federal budget," she said.
"The community is fortunate to have a public broadcaster that doesn't regard itself as a propaganda tool of government."