Saturday 22 July 2017
1 What a mystery it is. In the last budget $30 million is given to the Murdoch owned Foxtel. There is no explanation as to what it’s for, who authorised it, or why. Even the Telecommunications Minister Mitch Fifield has not the slightest idea as to how it got into the budget.
Or so he reckons. $30 million just doesn’t appear in the budget papers without some sort of discussion. No paper trail exists. A spokeswoman for Mr Fifield said the decision to give money to Foxtel was part of the Turnbull government’s broader media reform package.
The most plausible explanation I have heard so far comes from Director of the Australian Shareholders Association Stephen Mayne who said he believed the government gave Foxtel the money to avoid making an enemy with the Murdoch media.
”Because the free to air networks were all getting a licence fee cut in the budget and the government wants to keep sweet with all of the media,” he said.
”They didn’t want to have an enemy in the Murdoch’s so they just gave them $30 million and then had to come up with a reason.”
They just gave them $30 million of taxpayer’s money.
No oversight as to how it could be sent. No agreement. No obligation. They certainly know how to spend our money. $90 million for ill-treating refugees. $200 million for a plebiscite to find out what we already know.
Surely when you give a company the size of Foxtel there would have to be some guidelines, some terms and conditions, some deliverables. At the moment we’re just in the dark as to what they are, if indeed there are any.
Three years ago the Abbott government was going to close down the Freedom of Information (FOI) office until Turnbull came along, in a fit of grandiose righteousness, and saved it.
But any attempt to find out about Murdoch’s millions via the FOI office have been met with blank stares.
Doing a ‘Turnbull/Transparency’ search on Google rewards you with 10 references to transparency.
And that’s only page one.
When Turnbull replaced Abbott as Prime Minister he immediately promised a more open and transparent government. This is another failure. The $30 million was rather succinctly buried in the last budget.
For the Minister to refuse to comment implies he is incompetent, a fool or plain dumb.
”A Freedom of Information (FOI) request filed by ABC Radio Melbourne’s Mornings program, seeking correspondence between Foxtel and the department, was declined on the basis of no such documents existing.”
”In declining access, the Legal Director for the Department of Communications and the Arts “refuse(d) access to the requested documents under subsection 24A(1) of the FOI Act, as I am satisfied that documents falling within the scope of your request do not exist”.
This is but one example of the lack of transparency and the born to rule way in which this government is treating its constituents.
The dog ate my homework excuse will no cut it with the wiser voter.
2 For those who didn’t click onto the link I provided to Sean Kelly’s piece for The Monthly Today last Tuesday, here is some more of his description of Peter Dutton.
”Last month, Dutton defended his new language test for would-be citizens, saying that in its objections Labor was confusing two different types of tests. A world-leading languages expert said, in fact, both tests required the same level of English.
In May this year, after Yassmin Abdel-Magied had unreservedly apologised for a controversial tweet about Anzac Day, Dutton applauded the ABC for axing her TV show, and said, ”One down, many to go.”
Also in May, after Fairfax journalists went on strike to protest sackings, Dutton said productivity at Fairfax had gone up during the strike, and urged people not to read Fairfax papers.
In April, seeking to justify his citizenship changes, Dutton said you’d expect migrants to send their kids to school. When it was pointed out to him that this was already required by law, he had no answer. He also said domestic violence offenders should not be let into the country, but was unable to explain how existing police checks would not pick up on this.
Also in April, Dutton agreed with radio host Ray Hadley that Newspolls were a fair measure on which to judge Turnbull’s performance, and that at some point that would affect his leadership.
In December last year, Dutton told Hadley that the story of a school that had not sung Christmas carols at its year-end assembly made his “blood boil”. Attacking political correctness, he said, “We need to rise up against it.”
In November last year, Dutton implicitly condemned an entire migrant community, spanning generations, when he agreed with Andrew Bolt that Malcolm Fraser had made a mistake back in the ‘’1970s in resettling Lebanese–Muslim refugees.
In August last year, Dutton said refugees were setting themselves on fire as a way to get to Australia.
Also in August, asked whether there would be an investigation into reports of abuse on Nauru, given the PM’s speedy response to allegations of abuse in the Northern Territory, Dutton responded, “Nauru is not part of Australia, so this is an issue for the Nauruan government.” He also described the reports of abuse as “hype”.
In May last year, after a second refugee in detention set themselves on fire, Dutton sought to blame refugee activists for inciting the act.
Also in May, Dutton said that refugees would simultaneously take Australian jobs and languish in unemployment queues. He accused those refugees of being illiterate and innumerate in their own language and in English.
In January last year, Dutton referred to a journalist as a “mad fucking witch” in a text message, then accidentally sent that journalist the text.
Finally, back when Dutton was the health minister, a reader poll for Australian Doctormagazine found that Dutton was the worst federal health minister of the past 35 years.”
Is this the sort of man you want literally dripping with power?
The debate around his appointment to head the Mega ministry that will combine our spy agencies, the Federal Police, Immigration and Border Protection seems to be that it was a political decision to, by giving him such massive power, it will adhere him to Turnbull.
These departments that Dutton will head are given billions and billions of dollars to protect us from the ravages of terrorism.
Given that ABS stats on deaths by terrorist activity for the period 1978-2014 show that 113 Australians lost their lives. Yes, that’s right. In 36 years 113 people have died from terrorism. By comparison this year around 730 will die from Domestic Violence and around 2500 will take their own lives.The government has spent over $33 billion on counter terrorism measures in Australia since 9/11. In that time 2 people have died in Australia from terrorism.”
It seems to me that the government is placing its faith in the wrong man simply to appear tough on terrorism and the aforementioned figures would suggest that if we really wanted to save lives we should re prioritize our spending.
A number of ministers apparently argued against the decision and none of the departments requested it.
3 An update from the Poll Bludger reveals that:
The Coalition gets a better federal voting intention result from ReachTEL, although the result would be more typical of recent polling of preferences are applied as per the 2016 election result.
Labor maintains its wide lead in an Essential Research poll that also gauges opinion on party polarisation, same-sex marriage and foreign leaders.
BludgerTrack: 53.0-47.0 to Labor
A bit of a fillip for Labor in the latest reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, and also for Bill Shorten whose net approval rating has edged ahead of Malcolm Turnbull’s.
My thought for the day.
”Just because we are governed by clowns it doesn’t mean we have to laugh.”