ABC, stay brave

Tony Abbott takes aim at the ABC

Tony Abbott takes aim at the ABC

It is without a doubt that the Abbott Government is intent on curtailing as much scrutiny of itself as possible.  Step 1 is the ABC, with step 2 doubtless being the alternative and social media.  However, for the moment it’s the ABC.  Recent events include:

Tanya Plibersek:

“Tony Abbott’s comments today show he’ll blame everyone – including the media – for the promises he continues to break,” she said.

True enough Ms Plibersek, but more importantly – as broken promises are there for all to see – is the intention to deny the Australian public the chance to form their own opinion.  There shalt be only one opinion and his name shall be Murdoch.

It cannot be denied that the overwhelming bias since 2007 and before, has been pro-conservative and anti-most of everything else.  As an example, such was the success of the anti-Climate Change agenda, that the mainstream media sent Australia back a decade in terms of finding solutions.  A survey at the time (during Kevin Rudd’s 1st year at Prime Minister, but this is just from memory) provided that of all the Murdoch stable, only Melbourne’s Herald Sun provided anything near a balanced approach, and this was around 67%.  For others, the figures were far worse.  A balanced approached?  Unbiased?

Clearly, if you want to get the message out who does Tony Abbott run to?

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has fired a verbal warning to Jakarta…

Did he pass on his displeasure to Indonesia? No. Did he do it by way of a media press release? No. Did he pass the job onto his Minister? No.

The article tells us – wait for it – that . . .

Mr Abbott told radio station 2GB.

Specifically, Alan Jones’ Breakfast Show.

Clearly buoyed by his success in “accurately” enunciating his foreign policy intentions via shock-jock radio with a sure certainty that (of course) senior Indonesian officials have similar enthrall with Australian talk-back radio, Abbott has now turned to that other well-known broadcaster Ray Hadley, likewise at 2GB.  At least on this occasion Tony Abbott had at least a miniscule chance that someone/anyone from the media might listen to Ray Hadley, plus take it seriously.

Abbott’s interview with Ray Hadley is quoted below – this one should note, is the same Ray Hadley who was recently ordered to pay a woman $280,000 as compensation in a defamation case. “Acting Justice Henric Nicholas described Mr Hadley’s attack on Carlingford fish and chip shop owner, Kim Ahmed, as an ”unbridled tirade … spat into the microphone for the consumption of the audience”. Note: damages will be paid by the Macquarie Radio Network’s insurer.

“Meanwhile, people’s reputations are under question because of the ABC’s reporting of this matter, so I trust that the ABC will do the right thing.”  Ms J. Bishop was of course not speaking about the victim of Hadley’s defamation case.

However, undeterred by providing this interview to Mr Hadley and whilst knowing of Mr Hadley’s recent conviction of only a little over a month ago (and if not, one should ask why not), Tony Abbott then proceeded to shed crocodile tears about the naughty ABC not being on his side.

“A lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everyone’s side but Australia’s,” he said in an interview with Ray Hadley on Sydney radio station 2GB.

“I think it dismays Australians when the national broadcaster appears to take everyone’s side but its own and I think it is a problem.”

It lacks ”at least some basic affection for the home team”.

Translation: the ABC has criticised me, and is therefore unpatriotic. I am, I am, I am, the Australia.  Tony, your ego is once again on display for all to see.  Tony, there is no home team; Tony Abbott currently heads one of the major political parties and the one which currently happens to be in power.  Tony, you are not “the home team”, Australia and the well-being and benefit of all Australians is the prime concern of all, irrespective of voting preferences.

Does Tony Abbott expect a robust critique of himself by appearing on shock-jock radio talk-back shows?  Or is this avoidance?  A token gesture so that he doesn’t cop the criticism of being entirely invisible.  Look at moi, I’ve been on Ray Hadley . . . duty done regarding “communication”.

Abbott’s crusade continues, to politicise the armed services, who as per the ABC are apolitical and who are sworn to adhere to basic practices.  Abbott’s awkward attempts to cosy up to the Navy in particular is nothing more than political opportunism.  By the way, Abbott if you are so concerned about Navy personnel, why this?

“Navy personnel carrying out border protection were quietly stripped of some workplace safety protections last month . . .”

So much for concern about “the home team” . . .

Well said by Wendy Harmer,

And what of the other national state-funded outfits he (Abbott) is, by inference, comparing with our ABC ? Russia Today, France 24 , those in Laos or the “baddies” North Korea? Their aims are clear: to promote the current government (or regime) in a favourable light and to vilify the opposition. To be a mouthpiece for those in power. To cosy up to governments and vested interests in affectionate embrace.

Is it any coincidence that certain ABC journalists have been threatened with “services no longer required” should they dare write a critique which might be unfavourable to the current ruling classes?

It is no secret that the NBN is being canned due to Murdoch:

The biggest fear for pay TV is advertising dollars being sent elsewhere as online services offer more affordable advertising rates than pay TV or free-to-air TV can offer.

The next stage on the path to control of what we see and what we know is our ABC is control of all dissenting opinions.

Malcolm Turnbull (this comment rapidly taken from the front pages, but still available via this link as I write):

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has strongly defended the ABC’s editorial independence in the face of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s attack on the national broadcaster, which he says ”instinctively takes everyone’s side but Australia’s”.

Mr Turnbull defended the Prime Minister’s right to critique the ABC but, in comments that could be interpreted as resistance to Mr Abbott, he said the ABC was rightly accountable to its board of directors, not politicians.

Further from Turnbull:

Mr Abbott told radio 2GB that Australians wanted ”some basic affection for the home team”, but Mr Turnbull said the broadcaster was more constrained by rules around editorial fairness than its competitors in commercial media.

Without putting words in Mr Turnbull’s mouth, this might be interpreted as, “Abbott, what on earth are you raving on about? The ABC is “more constrained” than anything and anyone in the the commercial media.”

Kevin Andrews:

Speaking at Canberra airport on his way to a cabinet meeting, the Social Services Minister said that in a robust democracy, the media should be scrutinised as much as anybody else.

Indeed Mr Andrews, and we all look forward to your critiques of the unsubstantiated rumours, false information, and opinion dressed up as fact as is currently presented to us by the mainstream media.  Surely, if your boss desires to continue to give patronage to such things as shock-jocks, the requirement should be that these persons must come under the same scrutiny as the ABC.

An anonymous constituent:

Coalition senator Ian Macdonald vigorously supported the Prime Minister’s criticism of the ABC on Thursday, noting that constituents asked him, ”when are you going to get rid of the ABC?”

Here we arrive at the crux of the matter, Tony Abbott wants the ABC to be his own personal cheer squad, as if we don’t have enough of that already from the Murdoch media and it’s associates.  However, this is a mere side issue on the road to the silencing of all dissenting opinions, the inability of Australians to read alternative views.  This is of course quite suitable to the Murdoch media who currently languishing behind paywalls,  who wants opposition silenced, or as much as possible in a semi-democratic society – first step, procure excuses to cut the ABC’s funding . . . next step . . .

We are therefore placed with a Prime Minister who believes that “the home team” is the only team that one is allowed to barrack for.  However, when he stated that “Test cricketers occasionally drop catches, great footballers occasionally miss tackles and, regretfully, there were a couple of occasions when this mistake was made – but it won’t happen again.”.

Labor’s communications spokesman Jason Clare said the study was ”all about providing an excuse to cut the ABC’s budget”.

“The night before the election Tony Abbott said there would be ‘no cuts to the ABC,” he said.

“If Tony Abbott cuts the ABC’s budget it will mean he is a liar, simple as that”.

This issue might have conveniently disappeared for the moment, but watch out come budget time, it is likely that B1 and B2 will be hocking their ‘jammies.

When the Institute of Public Affairs starts talking about the irrelevance of Australia having a national broadcaster, then we should be doubly fearful.  I wonder if having nobbled the ABC via budgetry means that there will be any “takers” to fill the shoes of the ABC in providing news transcripts for the blind?  Not much money in that one for Murdoch, so I can’t see it happening.

If there was ever a case for a taxpayer-funded state broadcaster, it doesn’t exist today. Australians have at their fingertips access to more news from more varied sources than ever before. Online, every niche interest and point of view is well covered. And as private media companies continue to struggle with profitability, the continued lavish funding of the ABC only serves to undermine their business model further.

It’s hotter in LA since Andrew was there

A year ago I wrote a piece for The AIMN titled “Andrew Bolt: the glob-trotting weather presenter” in response to an article – ridiculing climate change nonetheless – he called “Almost too cold to type this message to a warmist“. He wrote:

As it happens, I am in Los Angeles, freezing my backside off in an unusually cold spell . . . The world is not warming as was predicted.

Well, Andrew, LA ‘s damn hot a year to the day later. From conditions where you found yourself freezing your backside off . . . to this:

A record-breaking heat wave combined with gusty Santa Ana winds has created extreme fire conditions across parched wild lands in the Southland, forecasters warned.

Red flag warnings for Los Angeles and Ventura counties have been extended until 3 p.m. Friday with abysmally low humidity worsening already tinder-dry conditions. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph are possible in mountain areas, the National Weather Service said.

Downtown Los Angeles hit 85F (30C), tying a daily record set in 2009. Bob Hope Airport in Burbank recorded a high of 86, breaking by one degree a record for the day set in 1976.

It’s funny how the weather can change so much in one year. Or maybe you were just using “an unusually cold spell” to support your opinion that climate change doesn’t really exist.

What’s in today’s news?


As the alleged owner of 70 per cent of Australia’s print media, most of us would would head to something belonging to the Murdoch empire to find the major stories of the day in our small country. To save us from scouring through endless piles of tree-destroying newspapers, dear Rupert has kindly provided us with where all of the nation’s (and at times the world’s) breaking dailies can be sourced. With so much going on in our political and environmental world, in particular with our under-performing prime minister and our over-heating country, I was eager to read up on the all the latest, news, findings, opinions and/or whatever.

To my gob-smacking bewilderment, nothing that I thought would be of any newsworthiness (to an intelligent person) could be found. These are the stories splattered all over the front of today’s

Bride loses 40 kilograms after wedding shock

‘Get lost Google’

Billionaire bunkers: Beyond the panic room, home security goes sci-fi

Python loose in Aussie suburb

Hollywood stars caught in email stuff up

Woman cried after seeing Schwarzenegger naked

Neil Patrick Harris wins Instagram with boozy pics

Kardashian’s booty ‘definitely photoshopped’

Yahoo trashes Google, Apple and Snapchat live

Who is Madge’s brand new toy boy?

And on it goes. That’s the sort of rubbish the Murdoch media want us to read about. It isn’t fit for monkeys. How eerily different it was leading up to the 2013 election, by the way. Or on that matter, ever since Gillard won the 2010 election.

Meanwhile in real news, I found this over at Fairfax:

Where Abbott fails: pain must be seen to be shared

Here are some snippets from it:

 . . . the government is bumbling and stumbling into 2014, imperilling the consensus necessary for genuine economic reform.

The government has started the year copping stick for floating the possibilities of a co-payment for previously “free” visits to bulk-billing doctors and charging Australians for consular assistance when they get into trouble overseas. They are not unreasonable things to consider within the overall context of how much we can afford as the nation ages and has proportionately fewer tax payers.

But such possibilities look unreasonable when they come from a government that also wants to pay an overly generous maternity leave allowance for the very well paid, reinstates the novated lease tax minimisation rort for the minority who can access it, puts the interests of the financial planning industry ahead of the interests of clients of the financial planning industry and wants the poorly paid to have no tax break at all on their superannuation contributions while ensuring well-off retirees – people with several million dollars in assets – continue to live in a tax haven paying no tax at all on high incomes, or even a little bit of tax on pretty high incomes.

So far, the impression given by the government is that it is committed to maintaining the privileges of the privileged, while whittling away at the breaks afforded the not-so-privileged.

I know now where to go for my news, and it ain’t from dear Rupert. He might own 70 per cent of our media, but honestly, he provides us with 100 per cent of its crap.

Yes, we are frustrated

Whilst we blog writers source most of our material from the issues of the day, usually found on the mainstream media, now and again a comment will appear on a blog that can also stir us into action. And we do receive many. One posted by John O’Callaghan on the Worse than disrespect post on The AIMN before the election is one that such comment. John wrote, which I have slightly edited:

I remember Bob Hawke when he first became Prime Minister saying that the biggest obstacle that Australians faced is apathy, and when you combine that with a gutless media that panders to their own survival and keeps the general public uninformed and not thinking for themselves, as an example, making sure we’re happy that the majority of funding for education goes to elite private schools to produce future Tony Abbotts, John Howards, George Pells and the like. The Republicans in America have been employing this tactic for years and up to 2008 it was working, but even the Americans are waking up to this right-wing bullshit and have twice voted for Obama and the Democrats but it seems we Australians are a bit slow to recognise that the right-wing are brain washing us to vote against our best interests. Why would any parents with school aged children vote for a party that will take away the school bonus? Why would any parent with a teenager working their first part-time job or low wage full-time job vote for a party that will tax a young person who earns over $6000 as opposed to $18000? Why would a person vote for a party that will force them to spend 5 to 6 thousand dollars to get fibre to their home when they can get it for free? Why? Is there someone out there in cyber land that can answer my questions? I don’t have the answers but is there someone out there who has? I get the feeling from reading the posts from sites like John Lord (The AIMN), Independent Australia, Café Whispers, WixxyLeaks and the like that people are frustrated just like me and want their voices to be listened to. But until we become united as one we will never be heard so I suggest we join forces as a united voice, if you like, something like a union. And don’t forget the Truth Seeker and his brilliant poems and political musings as well. All this talent just going to waste because we are preaching to the converted and we are so smug and empowered by the power of the internet and feel we have done our bit by voicing our opinions, but we have to be pragmatic and realise that our opinions do matter but nobody is listening and unless we get our message out to the general public we are a lost cause. I remind all you good people that when Independent Australia tried to lodge an application for membership of the Canberra Press Gallery, it was rejected by David Speers. I hope that all the independent on-line publications will form a union to fight the good cause for the good of all Australians.

Well, John, I can assure you that we are frustrated too. And that’s why we exist, as do the other sites you have mentioned and many more that haven’t been mentioned.

Yes, we are frustrated. Frustrated at the apathy in this country and frustrated by our gutless media. And from the look of the latest Newspoll, the number of frustrated people just got a whole lot bigger.


Living with baboons

It’s been a huge week in politics; a week that saw some absolute cock ups from the government. To briefly recap, we’ve had Tony Abbott’s decision to provide Sri Lanka with two patrol boats to help round up people fleeing the island nation, we’ve seen Tony Abbott upset the Indonesian president over his response to the 2009 spying scandal, we’ve seen tens of thousands of people take to the streets calling for action on climate change, and anybody who saw this week’s Media Watch would have been appalled at the government’s fanaticism at keep the public in the dark over asylum boat arrivals.

Indeed, it’s been a bad week for Team Tony.

You’d think that these big stories would be receiving daily coverage in the media, with dashes of scrutiny. But not so in the Murdoch media. These are all bad for Team Tony so any reference to them is silenced as quickly as the government’s news on asylum seeker arrivals.

As an aside, the Fairfax media is leading the charge but you”d be amused to learn that Andrew Bolt simply dismisses this as their jihad against the government. Yes, you may laugh.

The Murdoch media is of course free to write about whatever it wants. If they don’t want to write about the government, even when we are facing our greatest ever diplomatic crisis, then so be it. They did, of course, feel quite content on pushing all sorts of rubbish down our throats about the previous government, but apparently the current government isn’t newsworthy. It appears that politics is no longer of interest to them.

So what is?

Brace yourself, these are the big stories the Murdoch media think are the important page one issues of the day:

Canadian school rejects mum’s homemade lunch, gives crackers instead.

What kind of bored are you? Researchers discover a fifth type of tedium.

Snake Catchers Brisbane film marathon fight between two carpet pythons.

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge recycles a favourite Orla Kiely frock at London charity event

How a non-runner learnt to run.

Kim Kardashian appears topless in Kanye West’s music video for ‘Bound 2’.

I’m not suggesting that these stories are not of interest – to somebody – but we do expect some balance in political reporting. We also expect honesty. We are receiving neither. And something on the diplomatic crisis would be nice.

But I’ve saved the best for last:

What Australian biologist Mat Pines learned while living with baboons.

All I can suggest is that he’s preparing himself for life under an Abbott Government.

When Tony wants to talks tough, who does he run to?

Our chest-beating Prime Minister must have Indonesia shaking in its boots after this bold broadside:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has fired a verbal warning to Jakarta that Australia is not happy over a standoff in which a boatload of asylum seekers landed on Australian territory, despite being rescued in the Indonesian search-and-rescue zone.

Did he pass on his displeasure to Indonesia? No. Did he do it by way of a media press release? No. Did he pass the job onto his Minister? No.

The article tells us – wait for it – that . . .

Mr Abbott told radio station 2GB.

Yep, he said it on the Alan Jones Breakfast Show (here is the interview if you are at least interested). He told Alan Jones FFS! And of course he would. He’s much kinder, gentler than those frightful Indonesians.

Jones and his army of knuckle-dragging listeners must have wet themselves with joy to hear tough Tony as they enjoyed their morning break from the regular tree-swinging activities.

And do you know what’s just as depressing? That the Sydney Morning Herald had to tune into the Jone’s show just to learn what our Prime Minister is up to.

There’s something missing from our media

Do you remember how most political stories used to begin between the 2010 and 2013 elections? They began with “The Leader of the Opposition says . . . ” and we were bombarded daily with whatever opinion Tony Abbott held. Even articles about the Government or a policy release began with the mandatory “The Leader of the Opposition says . . . “.

Have you seen any article begin with that since Bill Shorten was elected Leader of the new Opposition?

When Tony Abbott held that position the media used to beat a path to his door. Now anyone would be right in thinking that Bill Shorten has gone in hiding: yes, he’s been rather silent, but why aren’t the media making an effort to talk to him? Why are they no longer interested in what the Leader of the Opposition might have to say?

Well we all know the answer to that. The Government has made a mess of just about everything they’ve laid their hands on so the Leader of the Opposition is the last person they’d want to speak to these days. The Opposition could have a field day thanks to the stuff-ups from Abbott and his team of incompetents; it’ll be a real turkey shoot.

But they can’t do it without the media giving them a voice.

Oh how I miss the good old days of “The Leader of the Opposition says . . . “.

Have you ever wondered where journalists source their news?

I clicked on a link to this Sydney Morning Herald article, George Brandis to repeal ‘Bolt laws’ on racial discrimination by Jessica Wright, who we are told, is a “breaking news reporter for The Age”. Here is an extract from the article:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis will fulfil an election promise next week and introduce legislation to repeal a section of Racial Discrimination Act that conservative journalist Andrew Bolt was found guilty of breaching.

The repeal of the laws that make it unlawful to offend and insult people because of their race will be the first legislation Senator Brandis will introduce to Parliament, according to The Australian newspaper.

Senator Brandis told The Australian that he was certain that the changes to the act would be viewed as the government condoning racist behaviour, but said he believed ”you cannot have a situation in a liberal democracy in which the expression of an opinion is rendered unlawful because somebody else … finds it offensive or insulting”.

Did you see what I saw? In case you missed it, here it is: “according to The Australian newspaper” and “Senator Brandis told The Australian“.

I’m sure that Jessica Wright is a good journalist who has no doubt produced some outstanding articles. I’m also sure she’s not the first journalist to source her story from another journalist, but you must wonder if this is the best our political journalists can do.

We saw this far too often in the lead up to the 2013 election, with the ABC being the biggest culprit. Obviously they aren’t alone.

So if you’ve ever wondered where journalists source their news, now you know: from each other.

The article, in the Sydney Morning Herald, by a breaking news reporter from its sister paper The Age, was based on an what had been said by a journalist in Murdoch’s The Australian.

Honesty in Language

By now most would be aware that Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has instructed departmental and detention centre staff to publicly refer to asylum seekers as ‘‘illegal’’ arrivals and as ‘‘detainees’’, rather than as clients.

This has been met with a torrent of outrage across social media, not only because “illegal arrivals” is a term that is incorrect, but the term itself is one that dehumanises the unfortunate people it is applied to.

There is, however, one journalist who has jumped to the defense of Scott Morrison. Would you be surprised to learn that it is Andrew Bolt? Morrison’s application of the term says Bolt, is “honesty in language” and encourages that we support it. By “we” I don’t know who he means. Probably his thousands of readers who find it OK to dehumanise people or are happy to stand around the front bar yelling that these people are illegal.

And what would Bolt know about honesty in language anyway? He publicly ridicules anyone who has an opinion that differs from his own.

But if it’s honesty in language he wants, perhaps we can give him some.

Feel free to speak your mind.

If it’s Labor let’s dig some dirt


The Howard Dirt Files were renowned. But even so, the Howard years were just a foretaste of what was to follow once Labor was elected.  I quote here from Miglo aka Michael Taylor’s post of September 12: Media mud chuckers.

It appears that no matter who leads the Labor Party, whether in Government or Opposition, the media always manage to dredge up some mud to throw at them.

The comparison couldn’t be more startling than at present.  Where are the demands for Abbott (and a quarter of his front bench) to resign?  These are not just unsubstantiated rumours from “unnamed sources”, or speculation on events from years ago, this is here and now with the rorts continuing up until the present.  Where are the threats from shock-jocks to throw the perpetrators into chaff bags?  Why are not Abbott’s family “dying of shame” as it was suggested that Gillard’s late father should do?

Shorten has now won the leadership of the Labor Party.

A little about Bill, born in Melbourne his father a waterside worker and unionist from Tyneside, UK.  Educated at Xavier Collage, graduated in Law at Monash uni.  Aside from his former role as National Secretary of the AWU, Bill is probably best known for his role in the Beaconsfield Mining Disaster.

The event was reported thus:

HE SPEAKS the language of the people; everyone is “mate”.

And he is never seen wearing anything other than the union official’s uniform, the chambray shirt and branded bomber jacket.

This week, Australian Workers Union national secretary Bill Shorten has been the public face of the Beaconsfield mine disaster. He has featured in almost every news bulletin and newspaper, has given countless news conferences and, at times, been the sole conduit of information about the mine for the media, the public and for anxious miners’ families.

He has played the hand of the “good bloke”, and won praise from both mine management, as well as miners’ families. He says the week has been a rollercoaster for him.

At the 2007 election, Bill Shorten was elected to the House of Representatives as the Labor Member for Maribyrnong and commenced his career as the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services.   As Parliamentary Secretary, Shorten pushed hard for a National Disability Insurance Scheme, something which was later to become a policy of the Labor Government and passed as an Act of Parliament shortly prior to the 2013 election.

Isn’t that how you are supposed to express things?  Factual information.

But not so, almost immediately the media runs a lead article titled:  Labor’s Shorten experiment: the tale of ‘Showbag Bill’.

The article includes a snippets including the names and statuses of his former wife and current wife, which seems a little irrelevant but as this comment immediately followed the inevitable “power broker” descriptors, it was perhaps meant as a method of emphasis.

Shorten’s first wife, Debbie Beale, is the daughter of multimillionaire businessman and former Liberal MP Julian Beale. His current wife, Chloe, is the daughter of the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.

Tony Wright’s article is otherwise fair and balanced. It does however give the appearance that it was written some time in advance. And why lead with such a negative title? Why is Bill Shorten “an experiment”, there is certainly nothing within the text of the article to justify not to provide any sort of explanation as to this description.

Shorten, in fact, has the gift of speaking the salty language of factory-floor workers and the smooth tones of captains of industry alike. He is a born networker and has a reputation for remembering names, whether they be union members from Adelaide or Ballarat or bosses from Sydney. on the other hand is yet to give it’s comment on the announcement of Shorten’s election to the leadership, other than this trivial and sarcastic remark:

Shorten: “Bill the Knife”, which reflects his not insignificant part in recent Labor leadership coups. Actually, he probably doesn’t answer to that name at all, but anyway.

My intuition tells me that it will be exactly as Michael predicted.  Again from his topic, “Media mud chuckers”:

At the moment there aren’t too many people in the party who’d be safe from the mud chucking. But anything will do. Kissing the wrong baby in 1985 or dumping a girlfriend as a teenager would be enough get the sharks circling.

In your opinion, given my assumption that the media would want political blood, who could thus be ruled out as the person to lead Labor at the next election?

That well known manifesto of good taste and style (said with sarcasm), Larry Pickering has labelled Shorten (only when it looked likely that Shorten would win the ballot) as, “..a treacherous union thug in a white collar and red tie”.  More to follow, I should imagine.