As I’m fond of pointing out, Liberal governments have a strangely inconsistent message. For example, they’re strongly in favour of free speech, but want any criticism of them shut down. People should be free to spend their money how they choose, but they want individuals contributing to GetUp! to jump through so many hoops that one has to wonder what happened to their “war on red tape”…
Similarly, we have to listen to their endless boasting about how awesome they are at economic management, only to be told that private industry is much better than they are at managing just about anything. Is it just me or does it seems strange that people who tell us that they’re excellent at running the economy, but totally incapable of running any of the things that comprise the economy.
And so it becomes Liberal policy to sell the ABC…
Let me be clear here: When I say that it’s Liberal policy to sell the ABC, I don’t mean it’s the policy of the Liberal Party because they’ve said quite clearly that it’s not their policy. Why it’s even more not their policy than introducing the “never, ever” GST, or Tony Abbott’s “ironclad guarantee” that there’d be no changes to the Medicare safety net after the 2004 election. And it’s certainly more strongly not their policy than all the election promises they broke after the 2013 election in order to keep their most important promise of getting the Budget back into surplus. A promise so important that we now have billions of dollars in proposed tax cuts, because the only thing more important the promise of getting the Budget back into the black was Malcolm’s promise that if you make me leader, I’ll keep winning elections.
No, selling the ABC is not the policy of the Liberal Party; it was only voted on at the Liberal Party conference. Even though the result was a resounding, “Yes, because Rupert wants to buy it”, it’s not really worth worrying about because the Liberal Party conference votes are – like election promises – not binding on the parliamentary party.
So recently we’ve had Scott Morrison tell us that he funds the ABC, so he doesn’t have to defend it and Malfunction Turnbull tell everyone that it has a left wing bias. While Mal’s comment begs the question, “Compared to what – Reclaim Australia’s manifesto or Socialist Weekly?”, Scott’s position is a little more confusing. Would Morrison say that the government funds Centrelink therefore they don’t have to defend it? Or we fund schools and hospitals, so we don’t have to defend them?
Assuming that by “I”, Scottie meant the government, and by the government he meant the taxpayers, then we have a rather strange logical extension if you apply the same concept to almost anything else. For example, would you say I’m funding my lawyer so I don’t have to defend his behaviour in court?
Whatever, it seems that we’re being softened up for the eventual attack on the ABC. While selling it would be politically hard, it’s even harder to oppose the will of Rupert “Monty” Murdoch. If you repeat something often enough, people start to believe it. I’m quite willing to concede that the ABC is further to the left than the editor of “The Financial Review”, but I’m yet to hear anyone on the ABC talk about which bastards will be lined up against the wall when the revolution comes. Neither is there a disclaimer after the News segment discussing the financial markets telling viewers that many of these companies make their profits through the tears and blood of exploited workers.
No, the ABC seems frightfully middle of the road to me. While many ask where’s the right wing equivalent of Philip Adams – a Sydney millionaire who’s meant to represent the ABC’s leftist bent – they conveniently ignore the fact that Adams isn’t exactly advocating revolution. More importantly, they also conveniently ignore that they’re often asking it on the ABC, in much the same way one talkback caller complained that they never had talkback callers like him on the morning show.
I suspect that the best way to stop talk of selling the ABC wouldn’t be to oppose it but to embrace it. Once I start my crowdfunding campaign to purchase it and run it as an “Alternative Broadcasting Company”, then we’d quickly see the government finding all sorts of reasons to keep it public hands.
Then we could start a campaign to privatise the Federal Government and Australia could be run by the highest bidder.
Which, I guess, is sort of what happens anyway…