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Government dishonesty continues unabated

Murdoch has them by the balls.

What is it that Rupert Murdoch has that enables him to demand of our government millions of dollars of taxpayer’s money whenever he wants it?

I first came across this story in 2017 when the government kicked in $30 million dollars to Foxtel to promote women’s sports. It appeared as a one-line item in the budget of that year.

At the time it pricked a lot of ears, and questions were put to the then minister Mitch Fifield. As usual, he played a straight bat to all the questions he faced. There wasn’t a journalist who could penetrate his defence.

On the surface it looked as though Murdoch’s Foxtel man, Patrick Delany, just demanded 30 million dollars and got the money without so much as a condition being bowled.

They could spend the money in any way they wanted and the umpire would overlook any excessive appeals. Not a bad deal. The umpires didn’t even have to write a match report, meaning no plan on how the money would be spent even existed. There wasn’t even a plan to enforce a follow on.

Although it is supposedly to:

“… support the broadcast of underrepresented sports on subscription television, including women’s sports, niche sports, and sports with a high level of community involvement and participation.”

Why would you give that sort of money to a subscription television station? Wouldn’t the ABC be a better proposition for underrepresented women’s sports?

I mean, they didn’t even have a plan for a bit of ball tampering in Murdoch’s groin area when he was fielding in the covers, let alone the promotion of women’s sport.

There were never any terms or conditions, no plans needed to be submitted, no terms and no accountability. The women’s cricket team didn’t even have a dress code.

All attempts at fielding documents under Freedom of Information were denied for the reason that they didn’t exist. Any drunk on the boundary would reckon a googly had been bowled at the taxpayer during a pandemic.

Minister Fifield declined to comment:

“But a statement from his office said the decision was made by the Government as part of the budget process, and the FOI decision was made independently of him.”

Now you have to pay a subscription to Foxtel who have asked for money from the government, and in turn the ABC for broadcasting rights for women’s sports for which we already pay tax. Hit that one to fine leg.

Is that clear? If not, it simply means they got $30 million dollars no questions asked.

But Foxtel being the run hungry buggers they are weren’t satisfied. They asked for and got another $10 million. They don’t even have to submit a plan until the end of the season. Just before the footy starts. If you are thinking it’s a bit of a balls-up you would be correct.

With the latest $10 million a further FOI request was hit for six when:

“Communications Minister Paul Fletcher’s chief of staff Ryan Bloxsom said the disclosure ‘could reasonably be expected to have a detrimental effect on the working relationship between the minister’s office and the Prime Minister’s office, now and into the future’.”

That sounds to me like a bit of grafting at the crease now and into the future.

So, let’s hope that the parliamentary inquiry into Murdoch’s media ownership brings some sanity to the game. At the moment only one side is playing cricket.

My thought for the day

The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of reason never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation.

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  1. Terence Mills

    There must be somebody at Foxtel with a sense of irony.

    First they conned the Australian government out of $30 million and then an additional $10 million to broadcast women’s and niche sports.

    They then obtained the exclusive rights to women’s soccer which they promptly locked away behind their pay-wall. Then when the ABC wanted to broadcast the Matilda’s international games ( as is their right under anti-syphoning regulations) – Foxtel charged the ABC for these broadcasts.

    So, the bottom line is that Foxtel collects the taxpayer subsidy, charges punters to watch on Foxtel and then charges the taxpayer funded national broadcaster to cover these niche sports – which very few watch on pay TV anyhow – so the good old taxpayer gets to pay Murdoch entities twice !

    Howzat !

  2. Paul

    Terence, I don’t believe that the government was conned out of anything.
    This was a gift with conditions and the conditions are there for all to see in any Murdoch rag you care to peruse..

  3. Baby Jewels

    That $30m was an absolute disgrace. A gift to Murdoch. That money should have gone to our national broadcaster, not an American subscriber-only business. I am appalled that there is so little fight in Australians that that idiot Fifield, was able to bat off questions so easily, and we simply swallowed it.

  4. Henry Rodrigues

    Murdoch has a curious ability to force weak corrupt parties and leaders to do want he wants, by maintaining a very painful grip on their ‘balls’, but then he goes even further by actually shoving a nail spiked cudgel up their shitholes if he senses even a slight weakening of their resolve. But Scummo and his band of dickheads relish the vicarious pleasures of being bumboys and piss carriers for Murdoch. He showers them with piss, they shower him with millions of dollars of taxpayer money. Works for both parties

    Then on sunday Scummo raises his hands in prayer to thank that guy upstairs, how lucky he is to have a friend like Murdoch

  5. wam

    Do what you like is alive and well in scummo’s government. If anyone objects give them effall:”
    The recent requests to the Morrison Government about Foxtel… According to the ABC, more than half of the hundreds of pages released were blacked out and 80 per cent of the rest had substantial redactions.

    Communications Minister Paul Fletcher’s chief of staff, Ryan Bloxsom, was one of the FOI decision-makers and justified the extensive redactions in this way:
    ‘I do not consider it would inform debate on a matter of public importance or promote effective oversight of public expenditure.’

    Great thought today, lord, but how do you imagine “Thinking human beings to blindly embrace…” They embrace because they think they will get something and not embrace because they think they will lose something(nth queensland coal workers and frankers)
    11:If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts,
    12: you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity” (Deut. 25:11-12).

  6. Kathryn

    There can be absolutely NO DOUBT that the non-Australian predator, Murdoch, is the unofficial Propaganda Minister for the LNP!

    As such, the unspeakably biased, morally bankrupt Murdoch dynasty – along with his self-serving capitalistic neoliberal “mates” in the notorious IPA (Institute of Public Affairs) – believe they have the “right” to demand financial reward as compensation for Murdoch’s unbridled loyalty to the LNP’s fascist right-wing extremism over many decades! The fact is that Murdoch – and his rising dynasty of entitled offspring – would support Satan himself if they thought it would provide them with some type of personal benefit.

    Over the years, it has been evident that there isn’t a sewer too filthy for the horrendous, untalented, Z-rated Murdoch hacks to crawl through; isn’t a gutter too low to stoop to; isn’t a character-assassinating piece of lying slander too shocking to push through, isn’t a lie too loathsome to tell in order to try and destroy, ruin and obliterate the reputations and lives of anyone and everyone who oppose the never-ending self-serving corruption, astounding entitlement and misappropriation of hard-earned taxpayer funds by the depraved miscreants in the LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance!

    Murdoch’s appalling array of vindictive, talentless, “shock jocks” – Allan Jones, Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt, Ray Hadley, Steve Price to name a few – never fail to reveal their undying loyalty to the appalling right-wing extremism supported by the LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance. The constant verbal diarrhoea and blatant virulent support of the repugnant, callously inhumane, misogynistic, homophobic and openly racist ideology spewed out by the abovenamed (and other) obsequious army of Murdoch “foot soldiers” – which include just about every current and ex-Sky News rabble (including David Speers) – is so offensive, so corrupt and unspeakably dangerous to our rights! As Australian citizens, we have every right to expect to receive unbiased, untainted news that has NOT been perverted, twisted and manipulated by anyone connected to Murdoch and his unholy alliance with the LNP and the unelected swill in the IPA – sadly, this has NOT been the case!

    Australians expect better but we will NEVER get anything like a respectable, unbiased and honest media because just about 80% of ALL Australian media is now in the hands of the venomous Murdoch! We can thank the Mother and Father of All Liars, John Howard for this prejudicial take-over of our media. Decades ago Australia used to have laws in place that prevented a single entity – like the manipulative, non-Australian Murdoch – owning more than 75% of all our media. The Government then managed to secure the support of the Nick Xenophon Team and One Nation to pass a bill that scraps restrictions such as the “two out of three” rule, which stops companies owning newspaper, radio and television stations in the same city. The changes – which shamelessly and openly benefit the LNP – also abolish the “reach rule”, which prevented a single TV broadcaster from reaching more than 75 per cent of the population!

    Tragically, this has resulted in Australia having the most biased, monopolised media in the western, so-called “democratic” world! The complete take-over of more than 75% of our media by a predatory, ultra-conservative tyrant like Murdoch who now doesn’t even bother to try and HIDE his open right-wing bias and character-assassinating dishonesty is not surprising. This state of affairs has degenerated to the point where we had the LNP defund the ABC to the tune of more than $790 MILLION (since 2014) in order to weaken the ABC’s resolve, installing right-wing sycophants onto the ABC Board to manipulate it into yet ANOTHER mouthpiece for the LNP/Murdoch/IPA agenda! We now have the appalling consequence of the LNP/Murdoch/IPA openly infiltrating and manipulating OUR taxpayer-owned ABC by parachuting LNP sycophants (like David Speers) into crucial roles on the ABC as spurious talking heads! The one-sided, openly biased presentation of the recent Queensland State Election (by David Speers) was roundly criticised and condemned as one of the worst incidences of biased reporting with countless thousands of ABC viewers now DEMANDING Speers’ and other LNP/Murdoch sycophants to be removed from the ABC.

    Tragically, the LNP just DOES NOT GET IT … unlike the blatantly right-wing bias presented on Channel 9 – who’s current Chairman, Peter Costello, used to be a member of the woeful Howard government and one of the worst, most wasteful treasurers in living memory – and other commercial media influenced by the Alliance, the ABC has never and SHOULD NEVER belong to ANY government! Australian taxpayers insist that the ABC – funded by us – should ALWAYS belong to the taxpayers of Australia! Sadly, this is no longer the case! In a surreptitious, underhanded manner, the LNP/Murdoch/IPA influence over OUR ABC has taken full impact. The LNP’s threats to further take away TAXPAYER FUNDING from OUR ABC in order to bully, harass and threaten ABC executives and staff with the loss of their jobs if they fail to “toe the right-wing line”; by removing funding in such a way that the ABC is now DOOMED TO FAIL will most certainly satisfy the ruthless IPA Agenda (on which the sale of just about every taxpayer asset – including the ABC – is a top priority) will hasten the closure and sale of the ABC. No guess who is waiting at the receiving end
    of this sale of one of the most loved taxpayer assets we have in the country? If you guessed “Murdoch!” – join the long, long queue of enraged Australians out there who do NOT want the last vestige of what was once the greatest, most highly respected form of media in the country to be taken over by the rampaging, self-serving grubs in the LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance!

    The ABC was the ONE form of media in this nation that promoted Australian culture, Australian values, encouraged and fostered wonderful Australian-produced programs. It was a taxpayer asset that was one of the few forms of media that went Australia wide including to remote areas of our nation! Once we lose the ABC to the reckless, undemocratic agenda of the LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance – there will be ZERO freedom of the press! If this, in combination with Peter Dutton’s current appalling grab for power in increasing the fascist tyrannical power of ASIO, comes to fruition, Australia will be under the jackboot of an oligarchical dictatorship so complete, it will manage to turn our nation into a dictatorship where Australians will only get ONE POINT OF VIEW throughout our nation, ie the right-wing-extremism and hysterical racist, war mongering and divisive undemocratic propaganda spewed out by an Alliance obsessed with power, elitism and helping to enrich and empower their billionaire donors!

    Murdoch is a tyrant who has no moral conscience, is driven by a diabolical obsession with power, who has no allegiance to ANYONE or ANYTHING except like-minded sycophants in the LNP and the IPA – least of all to Australians or Australia. In 1985, Rupert Murdoch proved his condescending contempt for our nation when he decided to toss his Australian citizenship in the garbage in order to become a 100% American citizen for no other reason than to satisfy his burgeoning lust for power when he wanted to expand his media empire to purchase Metromedia, the largest owner of independent television stations in the US at the time!

    The fact that Murdoch does NOT even hold DUAL Citizenship in the nation of his birth proves that this contemptible, power-hungry narcissist cares NOTHING about our nation, its people or our democracy! His perverted alliance with the LNP and the IPA in allowing our (once) compassionate democracy to be turned into a ruthless, right-wing Oligarchy can NEVER be forgiven and should NEVER be tolerated! Murdoch is like a cancerous growth infecting the free democratic media of the UK, America and, in particular, has had an absolutely DEVASTATING impact throughout Australia! There can be no doubt that every form of media owned by the rampaging Murdoch is a tainted, perverted piece of propaganda used to promote the worst, most corrupt and self-serving politicians in the country. Murdoch will promote anyone PROVIDED they provide power and benefit to the marauding Murdoch empire. Let’s face it, anyone with an IQ >10 knows – or should know – that News “Corpse” is where prejudiced bullshit reigns supreme; its where facts, impartial reporting and truth go to DIE.

    Australians MUST insist that the ALP, the Greens and other political parties DEMAND to have the democratic Media Ownership Laws reinstated, strengthened and rigorously enforced to ensure that the despised pariah, Rupert Murdoch and his sycophantic army of hired hacks, never again take over, corrupt and distort our media again. We must DEMAND that the Murdoch/IPA Alliance never again use their malignant power to hold our nation to ransom to openly benefit what has become the worst, most ruthless, undemocratic and corrupt government in Australia’s political history!

    Democracy should NEVER be taken for granted. Australians should NEVER be complacent about our democracy which is now being whittled away by a ruthlessly fascist Alliance that is tearing down everything we love and cherish – piece by piece. Sadly, Australians are notoriously apathetic; we have pensioners and working class citizens SO brainwashed and misinformed by what they inhale in the toxic Murdoch press, they are prepared – even willing to vote for a malignant government that actively works AGAINST the best interests of the most vulnerable citizens in the country! Why? Because they believe all the Murdoch lies; they agree with all the character-assassinating scandal the LNP push out about the LNP, the Greens or ANYONE who opposes the LNP’s increasing level of self-serving corruption, rorting and condescending contempt for Australia’s democracy; they silently condone the unspeakable callous inhumanity the LNP (and Dutton in particular) have inflicted on defenceless, vulnerable asylum seekers impacted by the illegal war in Iraq and Syria generated by the Howard/Costello regime that has – and is STILL – costing Australia countless BILLIONS of dollars!

    To all those working- and middle-class Australians who loudly – or silently – turn the other way and choose to ignore or condone the brutality, cruelty and fascism of this unholy Alliance – SHAME ON YOU!

  7. Terence Mills

    The interesting thing about the $30 million gift to Foxtel was that when a Freedom of Information request was made by the ABC to find out how this extraordinary largesse was determined by the government, the response was :

    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”.

    So, in answer to your comment, Paul, the art of the con is not to let the target (i.e. the Australian taxpayer) know that they are being fleeced. In this case there is not a Minute, not a Memo not even a note on the back of an envelope.

    And Mitch Fifield, the Minister responsible at the time, is now Australia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

    That is the art of the con !

  8. Matters Not

    But let’s not forget that Rupert Murdoch is an Australian taxpayer at both the personal and corporate level and has been for decades and decades. And apparently that’s important for some.

  9. Ross

    The best way to destroy a sporting code is to sell the broadcasting rights to a Murdoch pay TV service. It would be fair to say that money was never going to televise women’s sport so a few million to keep it as far away from Murdoch as it can get is money well spent.

  10. wam

    yes waltz my daughter was caught in a debt and when she queried it she did not ask the right question when she shited state the new officer queried it for her and found they owed her $4000 for child care.
    so ask the right question if you know it or suffer the answer:
    s I am satisfied that documents falling within the scope of your request do not exist”

  11. Matters Not

    Lots of people dislike Murdoch media (broadly defined) and express support for the ABC, yet one wonders how many here watched Kim Williams on the 7.30 Report last night ridicule further inquiries into the Murdoch Media in Australia. As Williams (a former CEO of News Corp) asks :- What needs to be known that is not already known?

    The information is at hand and has been for yonks. Nothing’s happened to date so why would that change in the forseeable future? More howling at the moon? Murdoch spends his money wisely and only buys those who have real power, lots of ambittion and want to continue on that path.

    Amd for those not familiar with Williams – here’s a link to his many and varied connections.


  12. David Stakes

    Protection racket, $30million down and $10million whenever I need it.

  13. New England Cocky

    In 1975 Rupert Murdoch stated to the editorial desk at The Australian, ”Ï don’t care what you write about the ALP, make them look bad”. This was payback for Whitlam failing to gift Murdoch the Ambassador to the US position and having the temerity of demanding he attend the Bar of the Senate to answer questions about his then biased news coverage of Australian politics, despite backing the ALP for the 1972 elections.

    This strategy has been maintained ever since, and the political class live in abject fear of ”offending” this American citizen oligarch.

    Obviously reducing his political influence is essential for the good of Australian democracy, so perhaps the optimal solution is to require all media to be owned by persons who are solely Australian citizens, as happened in Fiji when that government was offended by News Ltd supporting foreign owned corporate ”investors” to the detriment of Fijian-borne citizens

  14. Caz

    It is a form of blackmail by Murdoch. If you want me to stay quiet on the scandals in the government, then pay me to keep my mouth shut. Or in this case, keep the newspaper reading public and Foxtel viewers in the dark about the way you are screwing them.
    When it suits Murdoch he will apply the screws again and the poor stupid taxpayer will cough up another $80k or whatever Rupe demands. That is the problem of blackmail, thé blackmailer is never satisfied.
    When the Australian voter say enough is enough, Murdoch will abandon Morrison.
    Morrison didn’t impose any conditions on the Women’s Sports broadcasting, because he wasn’t in a position to do so. If there was a god, Murdoch would have depart This life already. However there is no god, but there is a devil and there is evil as demonstrated by Murdoch and his toadies.

  15. guest

    Kathryn has skewered the Murdoch media empire very well in multiple directions. The compact nature of the post gives readers opportunity to get a meaningful overview and to followup particular directions. I would like to follow up, some time, on Murdoch contradictions.

    In a recent Q&A program Turnbull challenged Kelly about the Murdoch denial of climate change. Kelly replied that there are many sources of climate change claims expounded by climate propagandists, so it is OK for Murdoch to be a questioning sceptic or denier propagandist. Yet Murdoch also claims to be a believer in climate change. Here lies the contradiction.

    Turnbull asked about the Murdoch claim that most fires in the last summer were the result of arsonists. A reply was later given in the Australian that the newspaper had published many stories about the fires, and only a small percentage were about arsonists. The simple explanation is that the figures originally given were extraordinarily high – and it was found that the numbers were taken from police reports in Queensland in the year before the fires began. No wonder there were not so many reports based on that false claim.

    That matter reminds us of how Murdoch writers, even recently, have used the claim that Tim Flannery said Perth’s dams would never fill – something he never said. Or the claim about East Anglia emails wondering about the publishing of certain climate data being published was named Climategate, investigated many times and found to be not some attempt at cover-up.

    There have been claims by Murdoch writers that Albanese knows nothing about what 2050 will be like for him to make any decisions about zero emissions. But Morrison has committed Australia under the Paris Agreement to net zero between 2050 and 2100 – but the less Morrison says about it the better (Kenny, 15/11/2020).

    Mitchell says (16/11/2020): “Most journalists have little real understanding of climate change or the costs of mitigation: they are on a mission to save the planet. Such moral posturing gives little time to read the science and economics.”

    So what does Murdoch’s media understand about the science? Professor Ian Enting of Melbourne University, wrote “Checking the Claims” @complex.org.au., where he demolishes the claims made by Ian Plimer in his book “heaven+earth”.

    Plimer also appears in the IPA publication “Climate Change: the facts, 2017″ where its editor claims that the publication has many contradictions which she hopes will one day be reconciled. How to reconcile Plimer’s claim that carbon dioxide has nothing to do with climate change, whereas Bob Carter says in his book Taxing Air” that carbon dioxide is a strong greenhouse gas. How they will be reconciled is unimaginable.

    Murdoch media deserves clinical analysis. But as one of Murdoch group said, enough is known already. But let us sink the boot in.

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