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We already crowdfund the ABC

I know the person on Twitter who suggested that we could all crowdfund the ABC to save the 400 jobs and the services that are being cut by Abbott’s savage ideological slash and burn of our national broadcaster was just trying to be helpful. But no. Sorry. There will be no crowdfunding of the national broadcaster. Unless by crowdfunding you mean paying taxes and seeing the revenue from your paid taxes being spent on the public broadcaster that we all value. Oh, hang on, I just realised tax is a form of community crowdfunding. So yes, we should continue to crowdfund the ABC. And we should continue to be horrified while Abbott and his merry-wreckers continue to swing their wrecking ball through public institutions that we, Australian tax-payers, and generations of Australian tax-payers have, through our hard work, payment of taxes, and community support, built through the community act of paying taxes and giving public institutions support.

Because that’s what’s really at the heart of this whole shemozzle, which is currently called the Abbott government, but in future will be referred to as the one-term-blip-resulting-from-the-biggest-mistake-Australia-ever-made. At the heart of the Abbott government is an ideological war to cut, slash, burn, decimate, belittle, downsize, nullify, reject, outsource, kill-off, delegitimise and ultimately wreck the public institutions that make up the Australian civilisation. Abbott and friends care to ignore that these institutions, these publically funded, owned by all Australians, including those who can afford to pay tax and those who can’t, these valuable assets to our community, are not his to wreck. It’s not his farm to sell off. It’s not his pool to piss in. It’s not his hard work that has paid for any of this.

I’m getting mightily fed up with Abbott’s attitude towards our collective assets. Abbott’s government has sold of Medibank Private. They’ve smashed the ABC and the CSIRO. The Climate Commission was the first on the chopping block and has since been generously crowdfunded by Australians worried about climate change, and is now the Climate Council. Abbott’s doing his best to turn our Medicare system into a no-longer-universal-healthcare-system where ‘users pay’ for the privilege of being cared for when they’re sick. Our higher education students could soon have free-market interest rates assigned to deregulated and growing university fees. Our public schools have had massive funding cuts*. *School chaplains excluded. Our health system has had massive funding cuts and is becoming the problem of under-funded State governments who have no choice but to cut services. The renewable energy sector is disappearing and the manufacturing industry has been all-but killed off with thousands of jobs with it. Abbott’s slashing and burning is ripping at the very heart of Australia. He’s ripping at the very heart of our communities. He’s wrecking the civilisation that we have all crowdfunded into existence and kept running. Why is he doing this? Why does a dog lick his balls? Because he can. (And he enjoys it very much).

Let’s have a look at a world where Abbott’s ideological utopia ‘user pays’ agenda overrides the collective spirit of a social democracy. Note, Abbott’s predilection for a user pays system extends only to people outside of his family and close circle of fellow neo-cons. Frances Abbott doesn’t have to pay for her own education. Abbott doesn’t have to pay for his private travel to attend campaign events or to promote his book for private profit. And Abbott’s friends, like Gina Rinehart, don’t have to pay for the government-funded infrastructure they need to continue to pillage our national wealth and to resent every cent of tax they pay for this self-entitled privilege. No, it’s just us plebs that should be forced to ‘user pay’. So this means every road is a toll road. Don’t leave for work without your credit-card linked toll-pass. You can’t get out of your driveway without it! Traffic lights would also be toll points, as would zebra-crossings for pedestrians. You won’t step foot in a school or a hospital without individually paying for every doctor or teacher that you come into contact with. You can swipe your credit card on the way into the classroom or emergency surgery suite. Need the police? Before they respond to your emergency, they’ll check your credit limit, by which stage the intruder may have already bashed you to death. Is the government intending on sending Australian troops to war? The war won’t start without at least 10,000 interested funders and everyone who doesn’t fund the war will be put on a list and excluded from any peacekeeping in the future, and instead used as human shields. Need to use a toilet? At home or when you’re out and about? I hope you have your credit card with you. You can’t use the sewers without it. There’s a nice big open park and playground down the road. Admittance by booking and credit card only. What about access to the internet? Yes, I know we already pay ISPs to hook up to their streams, but whenever you access a wireless network, your credit card will be charged accordingly to fund vital research work into technological innovation that used to be done by our national researcher, CSIRO, but is now done by private firms who will not make their technology available to anyone who doesn’t pay for it directly. Oh, and you want democratically elected leaders? One vote equals one dollar. How many dollars have you got? Doesn’t this sound like a fun place to live, in Abbott’s utopia? But the good news is, there won’t be any need to pay for the ATO as there will be no taxes. So all the money you earn you get to take home (well, whatever is left after funding all of the above). What’s that? You can’t afford to see a doctor? You’re unemployed and you’re sick. Well bad luck for you! You were born into the wrong family! In Abbott’s utopia, only the rich survive. That’s actually the point. That’s the effing point of Abbott.

I know we have two years to go, but I’m ready to vote Abbott out today. Does anyone feel like helping me crowdfund a new government? I’m sick of watching this one wreck our place.


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  1. mark delmege
  2. Lee

    Labor has sold off some of our assets too, and our income taxes don’t pay for anything. All they do is regulate the economy.

  3. Kaye Lee

    In an address to the National Press Club 5 days before the election Tony Abbott said

    “you can’t have strong communities without a strong economy to sustain them and you can’t have a strong economy without profitable businesses, big and small.”

    How do you create profitable businesses without demand as more and more people sink into poverty? Less money for low income earners equals less demand equals less profits equals cut costs equals job losses equals less growth equals more job losses and even less demand.

    Or you could increase Newstart by $50 a week and lift about 1 million people out of poverty who would recycle every cent of that back into the economy, boosting demand. Healthy people with an address and enough to eat and a decent education for their kids, affordable housing and childcare, are more likely to get a job. Success can be self-perpetuating. We could help Gina and Clive succeed more and trust they will share with us (though neither are renowned for their ability to play well with others), or we could lift millions out of poverty and help break the cycle of despair.

  4. Rotha Jago

    Yes how can we wait another 2 years? Who will start a campaign to get rid of This government? Not mr Palmer
    Or any other rich person. Not Mr Murdock.
    If the Government wants to save money why is it selling its best cash cow? Because of a conflict of interest says the minister. What conflict of interest? The regulator might need to have a stake in medical insurance if government is to regulate intelligently and for the population’s benefit. But no government is pushed out so that it can be manipulated. And what about Tax? Telstra started using a tax haven straight away, I expect Medibank Private will be quick to take steps to minimise its tax.
    Stupidity? or feeding companies which are already rich and just ‘need’ more power.

  5. Kaye Lee

    Our $105 billion Future Fund has investments in tax havens.

    “Nearly 28,000 pages of leaked documents from Luxembourg were published on Thursday in global media, and they revealed how 343 Australian and foreign companies have used tax havens in recent years to dramatically cut their tax bills. The Future Fund was among Australia’s list of names.

    According to the documents, the Future Fund negotiated a secret deal with Luxembourg in 2010 to reduce taxes by routing profits through other tax havens.

    It signed an agreement that appears to limit any income tax on trades in some distressed debts to $136,000 a year, no matter how big the profits from its $500-million European investment portfolio.

    That deal was signed when David Murray, who is chairing the Abbott government’s current financial system inquiry, was head of the Future Fund.”

  6. mark delmege

    thanks KL a gem

  7. francescaagosti

    Why is this such a crazy idea? I emailed Labor, Friends of the ABC and the ABC itself today to suggest. I would be more than happy to cough up $100 to keep the ABC running in its current format. And I’m sure there are millions of Australians who would happily do the same. Irrespective of the fact that the ABC is already funded via taxpayer dollars, why not I say?

  8. francescaagosti

    Victoria, I usually agree with your point of view, however I believe this article misses the point. Yes, we do fund the ABC currently, however, if crowd funding can ensure the continuation of all programming and prevent staff redundancies at the ABC then why not at least until Election 2016 when this putrid government can be sent packing? Bill Shorten has already pledged more funding for both the ABC and SBS, so to me this idea is a no brainer. Why Mark Scott has not considered it himself is beyond me. I believe he is a sheep in wolf’s clothing, and these cuts have served his agenda well, to streamline overall productions, especially regional, and pump big dollars into online digital, which by his own admission if the future of broadcasting.

  9. Lee

    Why are people willing to crowd fund tv and radio but not unemployed, the elderly or people with disabilities? All of a sudden there is a massive outrage at the cuts to the ABC and SBS that we never saw with any of the other cuts proposed by the government.

  10. lawrencewinder

    A good rant.
    Do we need to crowd-fund a revolution?

  11. stephentardrew

    Personally I think the true left of the Labor party has died a slow death and it is actually up to Labor to revive the critical faculties of class analysis and do what they are supposed to do. No one else has the resources necessary and the whole idea of crowd funding, for a committed past Labor voter, who supported the party, is a total insult. It’s time labor did it’s bloody job and got rid of the economic rationalists once and for all. Pipe dream maybe but that’s what the Labor party is supposed to do. Represent the people not just the top quintile. Get back to the passion of Gough and Hawkey and talk directly to the people comrade. Whitlam would say the word with utter conviction and damn however did not like it. They may not have been perfect but by heavens they believed in looking after ordinary Australians and who, after all, are actual the most important Australians? The means of Labor and wealth production – get it. Is it so bloody hard.

  12. stephentardrew

    Nothing personal Victoria just got shit on my liver.

  13. Gilly

    @ Kaye Lee
    Yep money works harder and more equitably when it goes around. The vast majority of businesses that fail, do so because of cash flow problems. However, not to worry as the poor are decimated, there are not enough to pick up the rubbish, the sewers overflow, disease runs rampant snowball on snowball all the way back through feudalism to a subsistence existence. Unless, of course discontent leads to rebellion a Syrian like total social breakdown. Conservatism and regression make a symbiotic partnership. The rabbid one has morphed from Rhodes Schooler to rogue sulker

  14. Phil Gorman

    It’s taken 36 years for the crowd funding of the ABC to rise from a donation of 8c per day to 12.2c. At the same time the ABC has been at the forefront of innovative, informative, entertaining, intelligent, balanced and trustworthy broadcasting. It’s time we all volunteered to put in at least 25c per day.

  15. Annie B

    So many many people over decades have depended on old ‘aunty’ ABC for excellent delivery of news, entertainment – and all that Phil Gorman mentioned. They have been an integral part of our very lives, as has the SBS whether watching a film in native tongue or watching the translations on film …. and SBS contribution to general news, information and documentaries etc.

    This is all just another attempt to dumb down the Australian public. Keep them under the thumb. Threaten with ultimate ( possible ) extinction of something that is very much appreciated, precious and depended upon by many of the public – the ABC in particular and the SBS.

    the LNP has little really to gain from depleting these networks of funding – but it will cost so many jobs, and it will cost viewers the comfort they have had from non-commercial ( SBS has a few commercials ) ….. viewing, that is stable, honest and of excellent quality.

    This ogre is treating us like we deserve to be punished in some way – like we are naughty children, and if we give in to it, that’s how we will all end up feeling. Like naughty kids.

    THAT’S .. WHAT.. THIS.. GOVERNMENT … IS .. AIMING.. AT. ,,,,,,,,,, It’s called fascism, folks.

    I think crowd-funding the ABC in particular, is a good idea ….. provided it could be run properly and privately. 25c a day is not too much to ask. AND it would send a stronger than strong message to the eff-wit allegedly running our country.

    It well could be a good ( yet simplistic ) way of kick-starting a few other causes to help the needy, the poor, the elderly and the sick in our community. And it would give us some sense of power back in our own hands, to show these bastards that they are not going to brow-beat any Australian into an abyss of misery and insecurity.

    Admittedly ( before anyone points it out ) ……. it might be a bit of a pipe-dream, but it is most likely do-able.

  16. Annie B

    p.s. ….. while we are ‘already funding the ABC through our tax dollars ‘ ….. those tax dollars are being diverted by this unbelievable mob, to God alone knows where ………… or what.

    Probably straight into the wealthy bods pockets – including the Governments own personal purses. With their penchant for ‘secrecy’ we don’t REALLY know where our tax $ are being spent – do we ?

    And they are not about to tell us, either.

  17. Ricardo29

    Re Scott, a sheep in wolf’s clothing (?), I think he’s more a Trojan horse, a former commercial operator, put into the ABC to make it more like a commercial TV station, that is dumbing it down. You can see it in news, the increasing populist leaning, was the Phil Hughes story a national lead last night? The previous night we had some Sydney rugby coach “storming” out of a press conference when it looked to me as if he’d just said enough is enough and walked away. More and more I am distressed about the poor quality of reporting. Then there is Kate Torney, head of news, who wants ABC news reporters to be more like the commercials in shooting and editing their own interviews. These are specialist roles which free a reporter to continue following a story, and also provide valuable over-sighting skills, a form of sub editing. The ABC is being intellectually gutted.

  18. red

    I thought it was gina whinefart that suggested the ABC be crowd funded, you know to save the poor old taxpayers – which is pretty hilarious coming from that sack of over fed bile better known as the Queen of Welfare. The way I see it we already crowd fund our ABC but we call it paying our taxes which is something the likes of gina aren’t familiar with.

  19. townsvilleblog

    Victoria, we have seen 15 months of the LNP Abbott government, long enough to be sure that it is the first fascist government that Australia has ever seen, we pay something like 5c a day to have the ABC, and for me, on a pension, that 5c is well spent.

  20. Erotic Moustache

    Why are people willing to crowd fund tv and radio but not unemployed, the elderly or people with disabilities? All of a sudden there is a massive outrage at the cuts to the ABC and SBS that we never saw with any of the other cuts proposed by the government.

    Best comment in a certain form of “ages” that political correctness prevents me from using. Penitent, incisive and poignant. Would like to see the question posed receive some responses.

  21. Erotic Moustache

    Oh crap and dammit. “Penitent” in the above should have been “pertinent”. Meh.

  22. red

    moustache, “political correctness” prevents you from using – why, what do you have against good manners? I would have thought that it is obvious why the cuts to the ABC and SBS are getting such a huge response, the abbott never promised not to punish the unemployed or the disabled and sadly a lot of the idiots that voted for the LNP agree with punishing the unemployed and the vulnerable. Plus cuts to our public broadcasters cut across class divisions – even some Tories are cross.

  23. Frank Matijevic

    Get rid of these morons ASAP before more damage is done to our way of living.!!!!!

  24. Erotic Moustache

    Sadly there’s no way to do that till the next election. That’s as soon as is possible. Sucks, huh?

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