Katharine Murphy deconstructs Abbott

Comment & opinion By Barry Tucker                    29 January, 2014

The taxpayer funded ABC is supposed to be impartial, according to its Charter. For practical reasons it attempts to be balanced over time. It is not an arm of government policy. During the past three years, at least, the ABC supported the Liberal National Party federal Opposition while being openly hostile towards the Labor government — there is absolutely no doubt about that in my view; I watch and listen constantly. I was a Labor supporter but I’ve withdrawn due to the party’s incompetence. I now focus on exposing the true nature of LNP leader Tony Abbott.

Of all the problems facing Australia early in the life of the new federal “Liberal” Conservative government, support from the ABC is low on the list. The “Liberal” party’s policy development arm, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), recommends the privatisation of the ABC and its sister SBS. These organisations are not the only almost independent sources of news and commentary, but they produce a range of programs and diversity that commercial enterprises come nowhere near matching. The fodder that free enterprise newspapers, radio and TV produce is akin to the mind-numbing drugs that are fed to asylum inmates to keep them quiet, unquestioning and happy. Australians deserve the kind and range of stimulating product that ABC/SBS produces.

Rupert Murdoch (I’m sure you know who he is) disagrees. In the UK and here, he wants publicly funded broadcasters sold off because they compete with his news and entertainment empire. Rupert’s father, Sir Keith, was an originator of the IPA. The IPA was one of the bodies/interests that launched the Liberal Party of Australia in the following year.

Before the 7 September 2013 federal election Abbott and his now Treasurer Joe Hockey said the ABC would not be privatised if they won government. Hockey said any “waste” would be cut from the ABC budget. Since the “Liberals” won the election the News Corp/IPA inspired campaign to discredit the ABC (but, curiously, not the SBS) has gained considerable momentum. The ABC is criticised for doing its job, which is about as bad as the situation can get.

In the latest irrational outburst today Abbott claimed the ABC instinctively took “everyone’s side but Australia’s” and should show “some basic affection for the home team”. You have to wonder to whom Abbott is referring in the term “home team”. In the “Liberal” view, if you are not 100 percent behind them all the time you must be biased against them. Today’s “Liberals” are not Liberals. They sometimes behave like neoFascists. They are in fact Conservatives, with a political philosophy inheritance from the time preceding the French Revolution: God, King, church, nobility, backed by the military, and everyone else is a peasant. Know your place and stay in it. An Army general heads the government’s Operation Sovereign Borders and a former Army general (Peter Cosgrove) is the Governor-General designate. The Attorney-General’s COS is a former ASIO spook. Dole and Disability Pension recipients are prime targets for the government’s savings program, although cutting their welfare will yield a pittance.

Here is a transcript (on a government website) of the Hadley/Abbott interview.

Here you will find Guardian Political Correspondent Daniel Hurst’s take on today’s remarks by Abbott.

Here is Ben Packham’s report on Abbott’s remarks (in Murdoch’s The Australian, no pay wall), with partial video of Abbott’s appearance on shock jock Ray Hadley’s radio show and quotes from others.

Finally, a link to Guardian Deputy Political Editor Katharine Murphy’s article.

Before the election Abbott said his government would do after the election what it said it would do before the election. This is nothing less than the political utilisation of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s clumsy handling of the introduction of carbon pricing. His capacity for lying is well established. I still don’t understand why he was not carpeted for misleading the House on the effect of the carbon tax (pricing mechanism) on household electricity bills — a deliberate distortion for a political purpose. You have to wonder if our two major political parties don’t sometimes self-sabotage in order to give the other mob a go at government.

In my opinion, Australia has elected the most blatantly cynical government in its history. Now that it has demonstrated it can act as it pleases with impunity, you can expect worse to come.

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