Wednesday 20 June 2017
Understanding the conservative’s desire to eliminate a state-owned broadcaster is as simple as ABC. Conservatives don’t believe in state ownership of anything. They believe private enterprise and competition is the best way for all businesses.
It’s the same with health. They believe, philosophically, that individuals should fend for themselves and pay for any health service required through a private service.
That they do is simply a convenience or necessity of politics. A rule they break when politics demands it so.
The ABC was founded on 2 July 1930. Its purpose was to ensure that audiences had reasonable access to a range and high standard of radio services. The ABC was based on the BBC model and was originally funded by a combination of licence fees and some government funding. The ABC’s early services included twelve radio stations across the country offering live music, sport and information programs for 11 hours a day. It was quickly embraced by Australian households and became a fixture of daily life for many.
Well over the years it has done more than that. It has become a national institution performing much better in both programming and digital media than its commercial counterparts.
People in country areas find it essential in the function of their daily existence. It offers services far beyond those provided by the commercial stations both in television and radio.
By the way, have you heard a National Party MP defend it since the Liberals overwhelmingly voted at last weekend’s talkfest to sell it? Yes, break it up and sell it, they voted with capitalistic eagerness.
After the vote, senior members ran around saying “never, never” even though the vote was overwhelmingly to do so.
Even though they were high-ranking MPs and Senators, who could foresee the quicksand they were walking into, they are also members of the IPA from which the idea has its genesis.
One of them was the mercurial Scott Morisson who shouted with heightened blood pressure that the Government would never privatise our ABC but then suggested the broadcaster should “demonstrate to the Australian people that they are acting impartial and unbiased”.
In an article headed “The ABC is an indulgence we can no longer afford” by the NSW Young Liberals leader Harry Stutchbury (son of Mike) presents a case for selling off the ABC totally based on the capitalistic reason of profit. Nowhere could I find a cost for the maintenance of community standards and our taxes contributing toward it.
It’s rather like we should all accept that there is a cost to the maintenance of our general health but we shouldn’t have to pay for the maintenance of the planet.
He goes onto say that:
“The truth is that the ABC was designed for a bygone era, founded in the context of an underdeveloped media market, before TV, before radio matured and before the internet.”
What utter poppycock.
The truth is that the ABC is designed for the modern era. The ABC put to shame the commercial stations in developing the streaming technology to come up with iview, and what a success it has been.
If the Coalition were to win the next election, and particularly if Fifield were to retain the communications portfolio, then given their record of withdrawing funds from the ABC you can be certain that a death by a thousand cuts would take place.
Michael Pascoe writes:
“Yet we can expect further ABC budget cuts and more perfidious complaints about ABC reports and programs. On the current trajectory, Senator Fifield will soon be Apostrophe Man, protesting about ABC punctuation errors.”
Phil Manning wrote in yesterdays edition of The Monthly today that if re-elected, the Coalition “will be under pressure from an emboldened base” to move to privatise the ABC – if not via a sale, perhaps by tender, as Bernard Keane writes today in Crikey, as a step towards destroying the organisation.
The ABC has been attacked from both sides for as long as I can remember. Hawke and Keating were forever at them. Abbott treated it like his own personal punching bag. Enquiry after enquiry has been called (both internal and independent) with never a case to answer.
Bolt and other low-lifes have accused it, without any proof, of every bias imaginable. The Bolts of this world would never withstand the sort of obnoxious insults hurled at the ABC. That’s why the rag he writes for is at the bottom of the list of most trusted media outlets and the ABC IS THE MOST TRUSTED.
“It is a pity that fact in journalism cannot be made compulsory and decency legislated.”
The decision by the Federal Council is but one of many we will see if Turnbull wins. He may think that he would gain power for his position as Prime Minister but in essence, it will be a victory for the Trumpian right-wingers who happen to be older right wing nut cases, be they media tarts like Jones or nutter politicians like Andrews, Abbott and Abetz.
The apprentices – Andrew Hastie, Zed Seselja, Michael Sukkar and Alan Tudge may well think they have become fully qualified.
“In the information age, those who control the dissemination of news have more power than government.”
Now that the Liberals have made this decision and the Nationals by their silence (even though once again like the NBN it is their constitutes who will be affected most) must presumably agree, it must be legitimate for Labor to take them to task over the decision. Yet another on a very long list.
Yesterday the ABC boss Michelle Guthrie gave a decent return of serve to the Liberal Party, the IPA and other Trumpian types saying that the ABC would never be a “punching bag for political and vested interests, and labelled the attacks as cynical, misplaced and ignorant.”
She is altogether correct.
My thought for the day
“Governments who demand the people’s trust need to govern transparently to acquire it.”