Tag: ABC

China’s multi-billion dollar media campaign ‘a major threat for democracies’ around the world – China power – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Chinese Media is a threat but Murdochian Media isn’t a threat to Democracy. How does that work when  Chinese media is paid for and broadcast on Foxtel and News Corp core effort in Australia is to shut down the ABC? (ODT)

In September 2018, billboards adorned with kangaroos and pandas began popping up around Australia’s capital cities as part of a $500 million advertising campaign urging viewers to “see the difference” on China’s Central Global Television Network (CGTN) — available on Foxtel and Fetch TV.

via China’s multi-billion dollar media campaign ‘a major threat for democracies’ around the world – China power – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

‘Words matter’: Anne Aly targeted in ‘It’s okay to be white’ campaign

How pathetic is this MSM Fairfax article distancing itself from this abject neo-Nazi attack in the heart of Western Sydney. It’s this that enables troll courage. (ODT)

Cowan MP Anne Aly’s electorate office was targeted overnight with “It’s okay to be white” posters, a slogan she described as a “white supremacist neo-Nazi mantra”.

The phrase was at the centre of an embarrassing gaffe by government senators in October when they accidentally voted for a motion proposed by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson to acknowledge “the deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation” and that “it is okay to be white”.

 ‘Words matter’: Anne Aly targeted in ‘It’s okay to be white’ campaign

And thank god for Aunty

‘White supremacist’ signs appear outside MPs’ offices

but never really Independant. Turnbull’s son claims he’s been used

Leave the ABC alone you miscreants, says Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin | First Dog on the Moon | Opinion | The Guardian

Australia needs an opinionated seabird to come to the defence of the ABC because you people are so terrible at it

via Leave the ABC alone you miscreants, says Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin | First Dog on the Moon | Opinion | The Guardian

Malcolm Turnbull should put his authority on the line over NEG – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Image result for Cartoon Tony Abbott

 Some sources do say there is leadership stirring going on in Liberal ranks. (Certainly, News Corp appears to be helping fuel the situation — it’s a nice irony that a lot of trouble is coming from the Government’s favourite media organisation, not the one it so dislikes, the ABC.)

Are they going to allow a toxic combination of revenge politics, anti-climate change ideology, panic over the Longman result, and sheer muddle-headedness kill the chance of giving certainty to energy investment and tear down or mortally wound their Prime Minister?

Tony Abbott says “Emissions targets that made sense three years ago when all countries were supposed to be in Paris and we didn’t need policy change and wouldn’t face economic dislocation do not make sense now. @TurnbullMalcolm take note.

Sureley this in itself reveals that all Abbott is doing is stirring the pot of personal political revenge. Here he’s calling for flexibility in the National Interest which would best be by regulation. Any change by Legislation would lock Australia in to a far more rigid position.The man’s simply out to destrot the LNP and if he wins this it will be for a very long time.(ODT)


via Malcolm Turnbull should put his authority on the line over NEG – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Nine takeover of Fairfax Media welcomed by Malcolm Turnbull

Cutting the ABC and Concentration of Private MSM spells the era of Fake News is growing, Australia needs teh ABC more than ever (ODT)

“This proposed merger means it is about to get even more concentrated,” Ms Rowland said, declaring it “beyond belief” for Senator Fifield to proclaim his government supported media diversity.

“Democracy suffers if you have too few media voices, workers suffer when mergers inevitably lead to job losses and citizens, consumers and communities get less diversity, less coverage and less choice.”

via Nine takeover of Fairfax Media welcomed by Malcolm Turnbull

IPA: Institute of Pathetic Authoritarians – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The most destructive organization in Australia (ODT)

Australia has a big problem. The democratic processes and freedom of the press is under threat. Not content with having an out of control Murdoch-owned media, the Institute of Public Affairs is now attempting to destroy the only balanced mainstream media outlet in the country: the ABC.

This deplorable organisation is made up of some of the wealthiest people in Australia. The IPA was founded in 1943 by none other than Rupert Murdoch’s father. It is a pressure group, and increasingly is now enmeshed into the political system itself, with over a dozen politicians in parliament affiliated with this partisan, extremist group.

via IPA: Institute of Pathetic Authoritarians – » The Australian Independent Media Network

It’s not about privatising the ABC, it’s about destroying it

THE ABC EARNS around $100 million a year from its commercial activities (mainly ABC shops). Its annual operating budget is more than a billion dollars.

The organisation would not exist without the triennial funding provided by taxpayers (not by Treasurer Scott Morrison, who this week ludicrously claimed that he funded the ABC). You can’t privatise a business that doesn’t make a profit. So let’s call the demand from last weekend’s Liberal Party conference for what it really is; effectively a proposal to close the ABC and sell off its assets, the prime of which would be its broadcast spectrum.

But even that is hardly practical, or likely. Ironically, while the ABC haters with their ideological objections to public broadcasting would like to see it happen, there would be little or no appetite from the commercial television sector for starters.

via It’s not about privatising the ABC, it’s about destroying it

A move to curtail the ABC would only ‘punish Australian audiences’: Michelle Guthrie

ABC radio and television broadcasts focus on genres that are far removed from commercial output. We have no interest in reality TV formats, chequebook interviews and the music genres of commercial FM – programming that draws the biggest and therefore most lucrative audiences for commercial media. Nor are we in competition for rights to any of the marquee sports events. Instead, we complement the market as the trusted, independent source of Australian conversations, culture and stories.

via A move to curtail the ABC would only ‘punish Australian audiences’: Michelle Guthrie

‘We are not your punching bag’: ABC boss Michelle Guthrie hits back at the Liberal Party

Ms Guthrie cited a forthcoming report by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by the ABC, which she said would reveal the broadcaster contributed $1 billion to the national economy last financial year – about a third of which fed into the broader media landscape. In addition to its 4000 employees, the ABC helps to sustain more than 2500 full-time equivalent jobs across the supply chain – such as artists, writers and technicians – Ms Guthrie said, citing the Deloitte research.”Amid the debate over the ABC’s purpose and its funding, we should all remember that there are 2500 jobs outside public broadcasting at risk in any move to curtail our remit and activities,” she warned.

Admonishing the ABC’s critics in government, Ms Guthrie asserted there was a sinister agenda at work involving overtures to the Coalition’s base.Related Article Footage from Liberal Party meeting reveals who voted to sell the ABC “In a complex world it is too easy for the powerful to do their work in dark corners: t so-“Good journalists call that out. Today, I want to channel some of that skill and emphasise real facts in what has become an increasingly febrile debate over the value and future of the ABC.”

Source: ‘We are not your punching bag’: ABC boss Michelle Guthrie hits back at the Liberal Party

Jewish group complains to ABC boss over ‘massive omission’ on Gaza rocket attack

Israel not only spreads propaganda but actively tries to interfere with the world’s media that doesn’t report it. It invests in and uses world media like MEMRI TV to put out fake news on their behalf hiding their investment.

Mainstream media around the world didn’t express any level outrage in Israel’s massacre NYT actually apologized for under reporting of over 120 Palestinians killed in fact they whitewashed the wounding of 13,000 +, leaving over 300 in intensive care and 27 amputees and Israel isn’t satisfied.  How stupid drawing attention to themselves yet again.When no injuries occurred and rockets were fired by both sides.

Israel’s agents in Australia have erupted on the behalf of the Zionist state simply because they didn’t get the attention they felt they deserved to make Israel’s actions look justified. OMG you should have heard what the Palestinians were yelling from the death side of that fence in Gaza that alone justified the sniper bullets of death. No Israel through its agents have demanded the attention they think they deserve to justify their  fishbowl slaughter.

I’m sorry Hamas can’t control all its agents just as Israel can’t control all their snipers who decided to kill,press medics nurses children and women. We know however the order to kill was given carte blanche but we don’t know that was the same for the firing of rockets by Hamas. Again we know the order to retaliate was given by Israel’s top brass. Is Israel the only country in the world that is given the get out of jail free card and allowed to simply say “oops” and hope nobody will notice when people are butchered? Do they deserve front page attention only when nobody is hurt? Good on the ABC they made the right choice. (ODT)

AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein said the public broadcaster had exhibited a “serious lack of balance” by declining to cover one of the largest rocket attacks against Israel in many years.

Source: Jewish group complains to ABC boss over ‘massive omission’ on Gaza rocket attack

ABC lodged second complaint from Malcolm Turnbull about Emma Alberici

You know the ABC is doing it’s job and doing it well when governments and News Corp are heard complaining (ODT)

The Turnbull government has lodged a second series of complaints to the ABC about the network’s chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici, this time over her reporting on innovation tax credits.

via ABC lodged second complaint from Malcolm Turnbull about Emma Alberici

Budget 2018: the clear message behind the government’s ABC cuts


In today’s terms  the ABC funding is the same as it was in 1985 and Corman claims it’s an efficiency measure. The ABC couldn’t be more efficient. So why support the inefficient private opinion sector and news free zone of News Corp et al ? (ODT)

Ostensibly, the competitive neutrality review was payback to Pauline Hanson (and by Hanson) for supporting the changes to media ownership rules last year. But, through The Australian, News Corp has been keen to claim credit, pointing out it came “after media industry leaders demanded a review of the charters outlining the purpose of the ABC and SBS in light of evidence they were ramping up activities that encroached into the commercial sector”.

In proposing a freeze over the three years, Australia is following the lead of the New Zealand National government which froze Radio New Zealand funding for eight years, only relenting with a partial increase last year.

The message is simple: “We’re on your side.” Where “we” is the LNP and “you” is the old media oligopolies. That’s why the message was too urgent to wait until after the election. There’s a message to the ABC in all this as well: leave the emerging digital space to the private sector and, in particular, to the existing private sector players.

Of course, in its digital activities, the ABC is not doing anything that couldn’t be done by the free-to-air broadcasters or Foxtel or pretty much anyone with a computer and a broadband connection. However, the traditional oligopolies seem to have the view that their business model would be fine if people couldn’t access the ABC (or, if there wasn’t so dang much of the ABC to access). In that parallel universe, we’d all keep watching the free-to-air channels (topped up by Foxtel for a bit of diversity), just like we did in the good old days.

Budget 2018: the clear message behind the government’s ABC cuts

Majority of voters oppose budget cut to ABC funding – poll | Media | The Guardian

ABC rally to protest cuts in Perth in 2014

Seven in 10 Australians believe a strong, independent public broadcaster is critical to a healthy democracy, according to a poll by the Australia Institute. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP

A majority of Australians believe a strong, independent ABC is critical to a healthy democracy and oppose a cut to ABC funding, according to a new poll.

The Australia Institute poll found 70% of people wanted a strong ABC and 60% agreed the ABC needed a “boost to long term funding”.

via Majority of voters oppose budget cut to ABC funding – poll | Media | The Guardian

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Donald Trump’s new lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Fox friends expose untruths in Stormy Daniels saga – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, arrives for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

United States President Donald Trump has bragged about a crushing winning record in the estimated 3,500 legal cases he has been involved in over the past three decades, but Stormy Daniels has him twisted in knots.

via Donald Trump’s new lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Fox friends expose untruths in Stormy Daniels saga – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie writes grovelling apology to Kevin Rudd as ‘Cabinet Files’ scoop backfires

“Private Media” acts like the Mafia organization, bovver boys protecting their turf as if they have a patent on profit and fear the free association of Australian Taxpayers to organize and print there own news. The ABC our independant statuary body readily and publicly apologizes for it mistakes unlike the privateers who generally have to be forced into the courts for an apology or only do it behind the closed doors of non disclosure agreements. Their notion and use of the term “grovelling apology” is indicative of the  Fairfax and News Corp never to say sorry for errors or the fake news they publish reducing their product to a news free propaganda zone. Thank taxpaing Australians for our ABC and keep the bastard corporate hands off Aunty she is ours love her, hate her  she belongs to the family of Australians (ODT)

via ABC boss Michelle Guthrie writes grovelling apology to Kevin Rudd as ‘Cabinet Files’ scoop backfires

The ABC should be independent, but not above scrutiny

If journalism’s role is to be independant and critically question with ipmartiality what’s going on around us can’t be Conservative but it doesn’t mean it favours the Left either. To critically question everything is consistent and impartial. The stupidity here lies not in what Alberici wrote but the the inappropriate push back by the Government to it’s independance. It’s not the place of the government to judge that meaning whatever it political values. Say what you like but keep your hand off our ABC (Old Dog)

PS If Trickle Down is not a questionable Economic proposition then the world is Flat are Australians required to experience Groundhog Day?

The ABC should be independent, but not above scrutiny

ABC should rise above the rancour

Switzer is one ABCs resident critic and declares The Drum Panel format biased debate. Should the format be more Bolt Reportish? (Old Dog)

These are polarising times. There is so much ideological claptrap in journalism, both here and abroad.

  • by Tom Switzer

Why the Coalition, conservatives and big business are terrified by Emma Alberici

Image result for Image of Ayn Rand

This is especially so in the United States, often cited by Australian conservatives as evidence of the value of tax cuts. Here, claims made by the Trump Administration to defend its corporate tax cuts are widely disputed by economists, including Larry Summers and Paul Krugman.

Even within the business community, there is scepticism. Investment guru Warren Buffett is not impressed and even Moody’s rating agency concluded that the cuts would most likely direct tax windfalls into share buyouts and shareholder dividends rather than heightened investment and employment.

For these ideologues, the corporate tax issue is not simply one of economic efficiency, but is central to an important reordering of power within society — one which rejects the right of democratic governments to force wealthy individuals to hand over large portions of their wealth to pay for public goods, like welfare, health and education.

via Why the Coalition, conservatives and big business are terrified by Emma Alberici

Turnbull’s attack on Emma Alberici’s tax-cut analysis doesn’t add up | Greg Jericho | Business | The Guardian

Treasurer Scott Morrison

When you force the ABC to take down an article that questions your logic you know something is wrong. Since when has Turnbull taken on the role of ABC editor?

On Friday, the ABC took down Alberici’s analysis, citing that it did not conform to the broadcaster’s editorial standards. Frankly, the article – which has been republished on John Menadue’s blog, is not all that different in focus from analyses by Ian Verrender published by the ABC last year, The Age’s Peter Martin and various others, including myself.

Arguing that company tax cuts may not have the impact that the beneficiaries say will result is hardly controversial.

As I noted in January, Moody’s credit rating agency said of the US company tax rate cut from 35% to 21% (compared with a reduction from 30% to 25% proposed here) that “we do not expect corporate tax cuts to lead to a meaningful boost in business investment”.


But given most people don’t get excited by business investment (or increased business profits), companies here have followed the lead of their US counterparts, and are saying a tax cut is needed to increase wages.

It’s all a bit of smoke and mirrors.

via Turnbull’s attack on Emma Alberici’s tax-cut analysis doesn’t add up | Greg Jericho | Business | The Guardian

Stan Grant: The media is obsessed with conflict, but more anger isn’t the solution – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

“Our tendency is to stop seeing ourselves as people striving together to overcome our common problems, and to view ourselves instead as people striving against each other,” he writes.

The age of ‘me ‘ has taken over the age of ‘we’.

Matter of Fact will be about big minds discussing big ideas: smarter not angrier. George Monbiot is among our first guests.

Matter of Fact is on the ABC News Channel at 9pm, Monday to Thursday.

Stan Grant: The media is obsessed with conflict, but more anger isn’t the solution – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Stop the dumbing down of the ABC

Eleanor Hall of ABC Radio's The World Today.

flagship offerings on ABC Radio, they are unique in our broadcasting line-up and critical to our collective education. The World Today, the lunchtime wrap, and PM, in the evening, will run to just 30 minutes, down from one hour. One has to ask, where is the logic? Stop the dumbing down of the ABC

Nick Xenophon rejects One Nation ABC restrictions but pushes small media tax breaks – politics live | Australia news | The Guardian

“Hanson & Bolt call for Media Profit, value Uniformity over  Debate  and can’t be trusted; The ABC provides Debate, Diversity & values information for all Australians and is trusted. Privatised News is no News.” Old Dog

Source: Nick Xenophon rejects One Nation ABC restrictions but pushes small media tax breaks – politics live | Australia news | The Guardian

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Murray-Darling Basin ‘theft’ revelations must trigger ICAC investigation

The ABC Four Corners program, Pumped, has uncovered what could be one of the largest known cases of alleged water theft in Australia’s history and evidence that the NSW Government did nothing to stop it.Four Corners has exposed allegations that the NSW Government has failed to prosecute rogue irrigators and may have shut-down active investigations into this water theft.

Source: Murray-Darling Basin ‘theft’ revelations must trigger ICAC investigation

It’s not the ABC’s fault that you look like idiots – » The Australian Independent Media Network

It was inevitable that James Ashby’s One Nation would fall out with the ABC.  James likes to very much control the questions that can be asked of his band of miscreants, and by who, and he likes the power to terminate the interview when he sees fit. And is it any wonder.  When One Nation…

Source: It’s not the ABC’s fault that you look like idiots – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Great Barrier Reef: Coal spillage discovered from ship loader at mining port, Government says – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Murdoch Media pro coal lie.” If it hurts I’ll take it out” . We won’t fuck the reef!  NewsCorp business faith, hate and filth

A Queensland Government investigation finds a large spillage of coal from a ship loader at the Port of Hay Point in the state’s north.

Source: Great Barrier Reef: Coal spillage discovered from ship loader at mining port, Government says – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

In One Day, 17 Signs Of How Bad Press Treatment Will Be Under Trump

Yesterday’s press conference laid bare President-elect Donald Trump’s strategy for dealing with the press as president: He will seek to delegitimize news outlets that provide critical coverage, try to turn them against one another, reward sycophantic coverage from openly pro-Trump sources, and encourage others to follow in their lead. The c

Source: In One Day, 17 Signs Of How Bad Press Treatment Will Be Under Trump

Former News Corp CEO wins Radio National slot as full ABC cuts revealed | Media | The Guardian

Kim Williams to host show called What Keeps Me Awake but at least 20 full-time staff plus casuals will lose jobs. Plus: a former Fairfax hack gets a status upgrade

Source: Former News Corp CEO wins Radio National slot as full ABC cuts revealed | Media | The Guardian

Indigenous recognition deserves serious debate. Andrew Bolt shouldn’t be part of it | Paul Daley | Television & radio | The Guardian

The ABC has missed an opportunity to explore the many complex arguments from within Indigenous Australia itself

Source: Indigenous recognition deserves serious debate. Andrew Bolt shouldn’t be part of it | Paul Daley | Television & radio | The Guardian

Does freedom of speech have limits? – The Minefield – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

In the west, free speech is often seen as a sacred right, but how can that be balanced with the need to protect minorities from hate? Scott Stephens, Waleed Aly and political theologian William Cavanaugh discuss.

Source: Does freedom of speech have limits? – The Minefield – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

ABC hopes for funding boost as Malcolm Turnbull ends ‘culture wars’

The ABC is hopeful the instillation of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister will allow it to claw back some of the $250 million slashed from the broadcaster last year as tension between the government and broadcaster cools off.

Source: ABC hopes for funding boost as Malcolm Turnbull ends ‘culture wars’

 Media Bias of the ABC never mentioned by Andrew Bolt  Why Abbott is trailing in the polls despite his successes .

The Abbott Government has a far better record than its Labor predecessor, but in politics these days successes don’t make up for mistakes. The Prime Minister needs a year of clear air.

Source: Why Abbott is trailing in the polls despite his successes – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Abbott Threatens To Turn Off ABC’s Twitter Machine

abbott loves anal

A furious Tony Abbott has told the ABC he will personally turn off its Twitter at the wall if the national broadcaster doesn’t bring its flagship show Q&A into line.

The demand comes following last night’s show during which a tweet by @AbbottLovesAnal briefly appeared on screen.

“Either you turn it off, or I’ll do it for you,” Mr Abbott is believed to have told ABC staff. The PM was also concerned about the cost producing so many tweets. “I’m told Q&A now produces 40,000 tweets per episode. Someone has to pay for that – we need to draw the line somewhere”.

After a terse phone call from Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the ABC has agreed to remove the offending tweet from repeats of the episode, to ensure those who watched the live broadcast are the only people to see the tweet.

“I think through our swift actions we’ve managed to stop this from growing further,” a Government spokesperson said.

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Peta Credlin Named New ABC News Anchor By The Shovel on June 26, 2015

peta credlin satire

The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Peta Credlin will present the ABC’s seven o’clock bulletin from next week, in a move designed to ensure Australians hear the right news.

Ms Credlin – who will take on the role in addition to her existing responsibilities – has extensive media experience and is seen as having a better grasp than her predecessors of the types of stories Australians should hear.

“She’s got her finger on the pulse, that’s for sure,” one colleague said of Ms Credlin today, noting that she had an uncanny knack of getting wind of the most important stories of the day before anyone else.

“The issues she’s talking about today will be the ones our politicians will be talking about tomorrow. The ABC will really set the agenda with Credlin behind the desk,” the colleague said.

A senior ABC executive said it was a positive step for the national broadcaster, and part of the ABC’s vision to appeal to a broader range of Australian MPs. “I think it’s true that we have become a bit niche. I think it’s true that we’ve been slow to modernise. And I think it’s fair to say we’ve lost sight of what Australian Governments in the 21st Century want from their news”.

ABC cuts: had Abbott been honest about his true agenda, he would have been unelectable

Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull

Privatisation and cuts to respected public services might be the agenda of the Coalition government, but it’s certainly not that of the Australian people

My dad used to make us watch the ABC news every night. As a child, I hated it. It was always with a certain amount of resentment that I watched afternoon cartoons give way to the “youth programming” I could bear, if not understand. But the news was a step too far into a bleak space. Dad was stern on this point. “If you don’t watch the news, Van,” he’d admonish me, as I wriggled and whined, “you don’t know what’s going on”.

In the wake of the extraordinary cuts to the ABC and SBS this week, I can only imagine that the architects of this savage attack on our national broadcasters – the Coalition government, its supporters in the Murdoch press and the conservative “free market” think tanks – were told by their own ideological papas the exact same thing.

My dad plonked me in front of the unbiased, articulate and meticulous news reporting of the ABC because he was educating his daughter in how to be a good citizen. By closing ABC news outlets, firing journalists and nobbling independent journalism, the Coalition affirm not only their preference for corporate news but destroy alternatives to the corporate news worldview. Citizens “knowing what’s going on” in the era of climate change, expenses scandals and “on-water matters” is precisely what the Coalition are trying to head off.

Independent and autonomous by charter, the ABC is consistently recognised as a trustworthy brand. Relentless academic scrutiny of the national broadcaster shows that, even with former Liberal party staffer Mark Scott as director, its journalism is balanced and responsible. The Coalition’s neurotic sensitivity to political criticism have tempted them to believe their own propaganda, decrying responsible journalism as “ABC bias”.

Their language game is the dead giveaway that this is no mere budget cutback: according to Malcolm Turnbull, ABC journalists “who work hard every day to report the news objectively and without partisan bias or self-interest will feel very let down” by Quentin Dempster’s appearance at the weekend’s rally to defend those very journalists’ jobs. Andrew Robb chipped in, too: “The ABC … has been a protected species for a long time, has to make its share and its contribution”.

Their rhetoric is so egregious because they know the ABC can’t engage in its own political defence.

Of course, the Murdoch papers are cheering on the Coalition’s attacks: Rupert Murdoch’s media baron father Keith was complaining about the competition a national news service provided to his corporate interests as far back as the 1930s. Corporate media serve corporate interests, which are indivisible from the Abbott government’s interests under their “open for business” mindset. They’ve been happy to shed the Australia Network to create a market for a new Sky-owned “Australia channel”, because national broadcasters – like state enterprises, welfare, environmental protection, universal healthcare or accessible education – are founded in community values the Abbott government doesn’t share and is isolating, starving and weakening.

The “budget emergency”, like so many other Coalition campaign slogans, was long ago exposed as a fairytale. The Coalition flagrantly spends on its own preferences: the useless Direct Action pay-the-polluters scheme, the derided school chaplains program, the diesel rebate to wealthy corporations. All are of greater priority to this government than autonomous journalism and sanctioned, independent critique.

It might be the agenda of the Coalition, but it’s certainly not that of the Australian people. Australians oppose the privatisation of services like the ABC. The Coalition’s work is not popular: as we watch the shredding of beloved programs and the sacking of trusted journalists – let alone what’s happening in healthcare, climate policy and universities – the internecine carnage of the Gillard and Rudd years will increasingly look like a bygone golden age.

Bill Shorten needs to articulate the rage and betrayal felt in the electorate. If Labor and the Greens can rise above their inner city gang wars and share a respectful stage the way that Shorten and Adam Bandt did at the weekend’s “save the ABC” demos, there is a chance not only to remove Abbott’s government at the next election, but to serve the interests of the vast majority of Australians. At this point, Shorten barely needs to get out of bed in the morning to provide a more cohesive alternative to the government. With a policy platform that articulates what the Australian community actually wants, he’d be unbeatable.

Abbott lied about cuts to the ABC, SBS and everything else because he would have been unelectable had he campaigned on his true agenda. To pretend otherwise is as disingenuous as the prime minister himself. Save the ABC.

It’s all Kerry O’Brien’s fault


Australia has lost its ability to have constructive, informed and ambitious national conversations. In this guest post David Frizzell wonders how much of our malaise can be traced back to four embarrassing minutes in the public life of our Prime Minister.

Tony Abbott’s lengthy press conference on Monday fell a long way short of achieving its purpose for the government. Far from drawing a line under the coalition’s growing list of woes, putting to bed their political demons before parliament rises for the Christmas break, it simply served to highlight the virulent disposition of this government that made such a desperate press conference necessary in the first place.

Some of the language we heard from the Prime Minister on Monday was reminiscent of his May 2010 interview with Kerry O’Brien on the 7.30 Report. When Abbott this week uttered the words, ‘On the subject of broken promises, I accept that what we’re doing with the ABC is at odds with what I said immediately prior to the election,’ we were reminded of his mauling at the hands of O’Brien.

In that interview O’Brien was taking Abbott to task over his position reversal on the subject of paid parental leave. Abbott had made a complete about-face on the issue within a month and offered to the 7.30 audience, ‘it wasn’t absolutely consistent with what I’d said’.

‘It was the opposite,’ interjected O’Brien.

The interview then spiralled horribly out of control for Abbott who went on to stammer and bumble his way through, eventually uttering the now infamous ‘Gospel Truth’ defence.

If only someone with the spine and intellect of O’Brien were given a microphone and position next to Abbott on Monday to insert a level of truth and perspective into his Clayton’s attempt to come clean to the electorate. As if.

It’s worth reflecting on that interview from 2012 in light of Abbott’s subsequent behaviour. With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps that interview was the turning point in Tony Abbott’s relationship with Australia.

After receiving such a public mauling in the O’Brien interview, Tony Abbott, the then PM aspirant, could have learned a number of valuable lessons. He might have learned that it’s important to take a clear and honest position on significant matters and pursue them loyally. He might have learned that some sections of the media will hold him to account for the things he says and the things he does – and the difference between the two. He might have learned of the importance of simply being honest, no matter how uncomfortable.

But no, not Tony Abbott. What he learned from that interview was the importance of being tricky and deceitful, the usefulness of inserting an object of plausible deniability – no matter how absurd – into every situation. It taught him to be reliant on obfuscation when confronted by uncomfortable questions. It made him determined to deny everything no matter the evidence to the contrary. But most of all, it steeled his already ideologically intrenched determination to dismantle the ABC at the earliest possibility.

Rather than reflect on that embarrassing lesson in a way that could help him become a man of integrity, Abbott took a step deeper into the dark side. And he took us with him. With Abbott as a prominent figure in Australian public life – as Opposition Leader and now as PM – we have lost the ability to have constructive national conversations that are informed by facts and context, pollinated with ideas and dreams.

Imagine an alternate universe. Imagine if Abbott came clean in that interview and had a conversation with O’Brien about the reason for his about-face. It may have sparked a wider conversation, supported by research, about the benefits of paid parental leave. We may have talked about findings into the relative merits of parental leave and child care support.

The subsequent national conversation may have drilled into the true motivation for Abbott’s new commitment. Was it really an effort to boost female participation in the workforce? If so, what do the experts say about the barriers to parents returning to work? Who should pay for it? Why was child care being ignored as a factor? Is there an element of conservative ideology flavouring the policy? If so, what is the competing ideology of the Labor party? What do the Greens and independents have to contribute to the conversation?

And what effect could a quality conversation about such an issues have on our country? Parental leave might have been the perfect place to start. Perhaps we’d develop a collective skill. Perhaps the Australian public would develop a little more interest in the substance of what is being discussed. Perhaps we’d get better at consulting professionals in relevant fields.

Then imagine the knock-on effect a deft ability to have comprehensive conversations might have on the other issues plaguing our national consciousness: asylum-seekers, mandatory detention, climate change, renewable energy, our response to the treat of terrorism at home and abroad, domestic violence, media ownership, privacy…

But that’s not what happened. We didn’t wake up the next morning discussing the merits of paid parental leave versus alternate ideas. We woke up the following morning aghast at the squirming dishonesty, chuckling at the mother of all ‘got ya’ interviews.

In response, Abbott made a pact with himself to never again be exposed in such a way.

Since August 2012 Abbott has limited himself, almost exclusively, to the on-air company of ideological allies such as Channel 10’s Andrew Bolt and 2GB’s Alan Jones. Apart from a couple of puff pieces – most notably Chris Uhlumann’s impotent matey catch-up on 7.30 in September this year – Abbott has hardly been sited on Australia’s most trusted source of information.

The reason for the Abbott government’s inherent dishonesty is obvious: when your true agenda would be so morally unpalatable to the vast majority of your constituents you have to either tone it down or lie pathologically.

We all know which way our current government and their allies have decided to go. The neo-conservative power players – the Abbott government, the IPA and the Murdoch press – have nothing to gain and everything to lose from informed national debate.

Abbott as PM has been a destructive embarrassment to himself, his party and our nation. He possesses not only a bitter determination to pursue a cruel ideology and to silence his critics, but a determination to deny everything – even when the evidence against him is comprehensive and tangible.

We now have a Prime Minister who is willing to deny the existence of the nose on his face. We’re left to wonder just how instrumental in the destruction of our national conversation was that four minutes of seat-shifting, stammering tomfoolery with Kerry O’Brien in 2012.

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