June 30th 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY NSW electricity grid now at 'crisis point'

EDITORIAL China's pivotal role in Trump-Kim summit

CANBERRA OBSERVED Throwing our 8¢ in the ring over sale of ABC

OPINION Why populism has become popular among the populace

MEDIA Ramsay Centre gets all that' left from ABC's Drum

ENERGY Solar panels leave hidden carbon footprint

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson conviction conundrum

ENERGY Don't let our waste go to waste: energise it

OPINION We've moved from low standards to no standards

LITERATURE AND CULTURE Christian humour through the ages: Dante, Chaucer and Cervantes

ECONOMICS Trump, China, the WTO and world trade

WHY BREXIT? A tight little island


MUSIC Contrary emotions: Following and leading the beat

CINEMA Incredibles 2: Just the average family of superheroes

BOOK REVIEW The main driver of our foreign policy

BOOK REVIEW Commitment at risk of obliteration



EDITORIAL By-elections a trial run for next federal election

Books promotion page

Throwing our 8¢ in the ring over sale of ABC

by NW Contributor

News Weekly, June 30, 2018

The great irony about the Liberal Party’s provocative proposal to sell the ABC is that no one would be remotely interested in buying it.

Specially minted ABC bid dollar coin

That’s why it is such a silly proposal. But it is also borne of frustration from the failure of successive conservative governments to rein in the clear leftist bias of our national broadcaster, which receives such a large amount of money from taxpayers.

Malcolm Fraser, John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull have all failed to temper the ABC, and it would be legitimate to argue that things have gotten worse not better over four decades.

The Liberal Party’s federal council voted almost two to one in favour of the “privatisation” of the national broadcaster, prompting much wailing and tearing of garments from the left and predictions that this will be a major election issue.

It will not be a major election issue.

This is because most ordinary voters are ambivalent; they rarely watch ABC TV and are not interested in the issues the ABC is preoccupied with.

People do listen to ABC radio in its various forms, particularly in regional Australia, where it provides a good service of gathering news and providing community services, most notably in times of natural disasters.

But even there the content of the ABC’s current affairs is skewed towards the same issues: climate change and environmental issues, indigenous issues, women’s issues, gender issues and so on.

The prism through which the ABC looks is narrow, its worldview closed, and its themes deadly predictable.

Critics of the ABC are accused of denigrating the ABC’s professionalism but it is difficult to dispute the reality that the ABC is regularly anti-Christian but pro-Muslim; anti-traditional family but pro-gay families; it is anti-business but pro-union; anti-traditional Australian cultural practices but pro-multiculturalism; anti-constitutional monarchy but pro-republic. And so on.

The Turnbull Government moved quickly to dump any notion that this policy proposal would become government policy, concerned that it might become a distraction.

Of course, Labor Leader Bill Shorten jumped in, saying he would restore funding to the ABC, though it is difficult to see if he will win any more ABC supporters than he already has.

Meanwhile, a columnist from The Australian quipped in the newpaper’s “Cut and Paste” section that an offer could be made to the ABC’s staff to acquire the broadcaster for $1.

“They will then have to make their own way in the world,” the columnist wrote. “From a taxpayers’ point of view, it is not worth anything because it costs us more than $1 billion to run and brings in zero income.”

It is actually worse even than that. The 100 per cent government-subsidised ABC competes with other commercial news organisations in the same space for no clear purpose.

Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood says the ABC uses taxpayer money to boost the profits of multinational corporations such as Google and encroaches onto the terrain of news­paper businesses.

Hywood has said that the public broadcaster is “using taxpayer money to drive traffic” to its news websites by paying to boost its Google search results.

These tactics make it harder for online readers to find news articles from companies such as Fairfax that rely on advertising revenue to support journalism, Hywood said.

So even Fairfax wonders what the ABC’s mission is!

The fact is that there is not one conservative commentator, editor or producer at the ABC despite the fact that half the country votes conservative.

Shows like The Drum have guest line-ups where everyone is of the left and everyone agrees with everyone else generally that Donald Trump is an embarrassment and a disgrace.

Recent reports by ABC political editor Andrew Probyn (who described Tony Abbott as “the most destructive politician of his generation”) and business editor Emma Alberici (who said big business dodged tax when they in fact posted legitimate tax losses) have been exposed for their bias.

Treasurer Scott Morrison tried to laugh off the sell-off proposal, saying that some Australians “may think the Labor Party already owns it”.

But the issue is not so much pro-Labor bias (of which there is some evidence) but pro-left bias across the board.

Selling the ABC off is not the answer.

It will, rather, require a strong minister to tackle the ABC in a way that has not been done in 40 years. But the opportunity has probably been lost again under the current Turnbull Government.

The appointments of a new chairman in Justin Milne and a new chief executive in Michelle Guthrie have not produced any positive results, with both declaring that ABC bias is non-existent.

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm