The ABC of Bias!

Posted: June 25, 2014 in Politics, society

 

“Brooks found not guilty of hacking charges”

Headline in “The Herald-Sun”

Ok, it seems to go like this. Private media companies are allowed to be biased because they’re private. Fair enough. But the ABC shouldn’t be biased because it’s taxpayer funded. And we know it is biased, because it doesn’t agree with the private media companies. Who we accept are allowed to be biased!

So clearly, the most important thing in the hacking trial was that Rebekah Brooks was found not guilty. The fact that Andy Coulson was found guilty is not all that important. And the fact that the ABC chose to accentuate the negative rather than the positive just shows their bias. Any suggestion that the Murdoch paper tried to spin it to make themselves sound less culpable is just ludicrous. Besides it was in Britain…

The ABC show further bias in that they fail to mention that a large number of Muslims are in Iraq fighting with ISIS. One estimate put the number as high as 150, which is higher to the number of people who think that Tony Abbott hasn’t broken any election promises, but not quite as high as projected public school class sizes, once Christopher Pyne has way.

As Steve Price said on The Project, when telling us that he didn’t buy the argument that young Muslims may feel hated and vilified, “But it’s also they’ve got Australian passports, you don’t leave the country where you were born, if you’ve got an Australian passport and get on a plane and go and start shooting people in other countries. If you want to do that – stay there!” He’s right, of course, only Islamic people would get on a plane and go over to Iraq and start shooting people. No Australian – and clearly these people aren’t Australian, even if they were born here – would ever do anything like that.

There’s no reason for anyone of the Islamic faith to feel disenfranchised. Unless they’re an extremist like the guest on The Project who suggested that we needed to make some effort to understand why young men would want to go and join ISIS. Price found it worrying a man like that was teaching at a university. Anyone who attempts to understand another’s motivation is a dangerous radical.

Similarly, we should worry about moderates like Waheed Aly who – according to Andrew Bolt – should concern us because he doesn’t tell us what a threat to our society Islam is. For a start, they want to build ugly buildings and they don’t support women’s rights and they want to impose strict morals on us all. Which would be fine if they were the Liberal Party, and the buildings they want to build weren’t mosques. And the fact that they don’t approve of drinking, well, its just un-Australian.

As Bolt pointed out, when Aly was talking about Boko Harum:

As so often when Muslim terrorists strike, Aly was brought on by Channel Ten’s The Project to explain away our fears as “an expert in terrorism”.

“So who is this group exactly?” he was asked.

Not once in his answer did “Muslim” or “Islamic” pass Aly’s lips.

“They are a really, really hard group to define because they are so splintered and so diverse,” he said.

“What we do know though is that the broader movement is a terrorist movement and they’ve been wanting to overthrow the Nigerian government and establish a government of their own.

“But beyond that, this particular group, who have done this particular thing, it’s hard to identify who they are and they might just be vigilantes.”

Yes, after all, when Tony Abbott’s mob were bombing London all those years ago, the press always referred to the “Christian IRA”. Similarly, all through World War Two, we had references to the Christian Nazis. Not to identify a group as Muslim is a clear example of double-standards.

Just remember, all Muslims are dangerous. Particularly the ones who try to trick us by being moderate and not advocating Sharia Law. By sounding less extreme than Cory Bernardi, they confuse people as to the inherent danger of tolerance and diversity.

To be absolutely clear: We should not be in any way positive about any muslim and there is absolutely no reason why any of them should feel as though we all hate them. We just want them to go back where they came from even if their family has been here longer than Andrew Bolt’s.

Yeah, I think that’s the unbiased view!

INTERVIEWER

Good evening. Tonight, in order to meet our effenciecy targets, we’re bringing you the same interview we gave you last night. Representing the PIPA or Private Institue of Public Affairs we have Mr Wim Berk. And to provide balance, we have someone representing the Welfare Lobby, Ms. Melanie Hart. Let’s start with you, Ms Hart. You recently stated that you felt the Abbott Government was telling the poor to go to Hell, then trying to charge them for the trip…

BERK
If I could just get a word in here, I’d like to say that this is typical of the ABC, people on the Right like me are never given a go.

INTERVIEWER
I was intending to let you respond after Ms Hart had explained her statement.

BERK
That’s right, give your comrade first crack at the audience.

INTERVIEWER
Well, would you like to respond.

BERK
Yes, I would. This sort of thing is exactly why the ABC should be privatised. Government instittutions are always less efficient because they’re answerable to nobody whereas, private ones are accountable.

INTERVIEWER
Do you have anything to back that up?

BERK
Yes. Lots of people agree with me.

INTERVIEWER
I mean, is there any evidence to suggest that private companies are more efficient. For example, have the privatisations in energy companies led to lower prices and better service?

BERK
Lower prices than what.

INTERVIEWER
Than when they were government run.

BERK
Of course. It goes without saying. No need to actually look at figures

INTERVIEWER
Well,what about service? I waited on the phone for half an hour the other day waiting to speak to someone about changing my energy plan.

BERK
Half an hour? Have you tried ringing Centrelink lately?

INTERVIEWER
Have you?

BERK
No, why would someone like me need Centrelink. But I believe that some people have been waiting on the phone since last Christmas.

INTERVIEWER
If I could just bring Ms Hart into the discussion at this point…

BERK
But we already know her position. She doesn’t believe in personal responsibliity, If it were up she’d let all those people who’ve hit the welfare jackpot sit around without contributing to society.

INTERVIEWER
The welfare jackpot?

BERK
Yes, it’s a pretty good life, sitting around, watching TV, taking drugs and growing fat.

INTERVIEWER
Surely you don’t think that it’s easy to survive on the dole. Doesn’t that contradict the concept that people on $150,000 can’t afford to pay more tax?

BERK
Not at all. People on $150,000 have greater needs.

INTERVIEWER
In what way?

BERK
Well, some of them have mortgages for a start. Not to mention the fact that they can’t hang around all day in moccasins and a track suit.

HART
If I could just…

BERK
Excuse me, but I’d like to finish my point.

HART
Well, I’d just like to know if private institutions are more accountable, how come you can refuse to tell the public where your funding comes from?

BERK
We’re a private body. We’re not accountable.

INTERVIEWER
But didn’t you just say that private institutions are more efficient because they’re accountable.

BERK
Yes, but that was in different context.

INTERVIEWER
I’m just looking for consistency.

BERK
Well, you’ve certainly found at the ABC – it’s consistent. Consistently biased. I mean, when was the last time you had a person like me on.

INTERVIEWER
Just now.

BERK
But before that.

INTERVIEWER
Last night.

BERK
See a whole twenty four hours has gone by without a voice for sanity.

INTERVIEWER
Unfortunately we’re running out of time, so if I could just ask Ms Hart for a final comment.

BERK
Typical – give the left the final say!

INTERVIEWER

Tune in to “The Insiders” every Sunday for a replay of this interview.

 

SNAFU – Situation Normal, All Fouled Up! (That’s the polite version anyway.)

“…I just have to say to Mr. Bolt, he proclaims loudly that he is a friend of the government, well with friends like Bolt we don’t need any enemies.”                                            Malcolm Turnbull, earlier this week. 

 

“Alan is a friend of mine, Andrew Bolt is a friend of mine, I think that they are both very significant commentators and they’ve got a lot to say as you know.”                               Tony Abbott, yesterday.

 

“You said I wanted to diminish you. The truth is I don’t. You said I wanted to challenge you in 2016. The truth is I don’t. You said I wanted the presidency for myself. The truth is… I do. What politician hasn’t dreamed of about what it would be like to take the oath of the highest office of our land? I’ve stared at your desk in the Oval and coveted it. The power. The prestige. Those things have a strong pull on someone like me, who came from a small South Carolina town with nothing. But since you assumed office, my only aim has been to fight, for you and alongside you.”

Frank Underwood, “House of Cards”

 

“I’ve coached Australia in rugby, if one of my players was seen on the eve of the rugby test was seen … having dinner, privately inviting to dinner one of the All Blacks, the player would be sent home Malcolm.”                                                                                              Alan Jones.

When the choice is between a conspiracy and stuff-up, always choose the stuff-up and you’ll be right more often, according to conventional wisdom.

All right, must of us heard the loooong pause from Turnbull when asked if this was part of a co-ordinated campaign. The question, of course, is what is the campaign and what does it hope to achieve?

Ok, let’s examine the conspiracy theories for why Bolt and Jones would want to give the story about Turnbull’s leadership ambition so much publicity. The first is that it’s a way to distract from the Budget. The second is that they hate Turnbull and a just using this as a chance to whack him, while boosting their ratings. The third is that they’re part of a conspiracy to help remove Turnbull from the front bench.

Of these, the idea that it’s the Liberals way of taking the focus of the Budget is the only one I’d consider if we were dealing with your average government. However, any government that can appoint Christopher Pyne to anything more than working out the seating plan for meetings with the Premiers, clearly lacks a grip on reality and we can’t just look at the logical.

The second is partly plausible. Bolt and Jones are, after all, first and foremost, reliant on their capacity to generate controversy. But would they really want to hurt the Liberal Party by helping create a re-make of the Rudd/Gillard soap opera? I mean, aren’t they “Friends of Tony Abbott”. (Mm, and it’s the ABC that are supposedly biased.)

Are the Liberals really so stupid as to think removing Turnbull would help them politically? In spite of his dinner with Clive, Malcolm has been a good little boy towing the line on all sorts of things from Direct Action to the NBN. While he may have the odd word about gay marriage or the Republic, he’s basically supported party policy. If he’s quietly biding his time, trying to boost the numbers for a crack at the leadership, this only becomes an issue when it hits the media. Which it does when people like say Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones bring it to public attention. Even the big “Dinner With Clive” event would have run out of legs by now.

But no, thanks to Bolt – Abbott’s “friend” – Turnbull’s alleged disloyalty is a hot topic. Which gives Turnbull the opportunity to deny it, thus keeping the story alive.

So, Abbott, the leader is part of a conspiracy to help put stories about his rivals leadership ambition in the media? Isn’t it usually the other way round? I mean, isn’t it usually the challenger who wants the speculation and the incumbent who wants to pretend that nothing’s happening? Perhaps, really hasn’t noticed that he’s Leader of the Opposition, let alone PM.*

Which brings us to SNAFU…

According to the polls, the Government is unpopular with the electorate. Turnbull, on the other hand, is preferred leader by a long way. While this may not be a good enough reason for the Liberals to dump Abbott and install Turnbull as PM, it hardly suggests that dumping Turnbull from the Ministry would be something that would boost their standing with the electorate. Could they really be so out of touch with political reality that they don’t see how Turnbull’s sacking would play out?

Let’s ignore the media reaction about the removal of a moderate because he’s a threat and letters to the editor complaining about how far to the Right this government has gone. Let’s just ask ourselves, how would Turnbull react?

Yes, it’s a nice fantasy to think that he’s had enough. That he goes rogue. He tells people exactly what he thinks of the Liberals and – with no hope of ever being PM – spills as many beans as he can. Or maybe he joins PUP. Or the Labor Party.

Or perhaps he, channelling Peter Costello, just gives up his dream of being PM, resigns from Parliament causing a by-election in his seat of Wentworth. Can’t see the Liberal strategists cheering for that one.

But wouldn’t the most likely scenario be for Malcolm to quietly see out his time on the backbench, occasionally having dinner with the odd friend – as Tony pointed out, journalists are sometimes friends of politicians – reminiscing and providing “off the record” comments? And, Keating-like, quietly reminding people that he’s there. While it’s true that many in the Liberal Party don’t like Turnbull, they like losing even less.

Nope, no sane, rational leader would even a re-shuffle where Turnbull was removed. Mm, with that in mind, he’ll be gone within the month.

But just because I’m likely to get that wrong, here are some other predictions that I’m more confident about:

  1. The head of a retail change will suggest that the poor are just being selfish by spending their money on rent and food instead of electrical goods.

  2. An advisor to Tony Abbott will say that owing to the fact that unemployment is so high, perhaps people could job share. That is, a group of people all work full time for the same company but share one wage.

  3. If the Medicare co-payment gets through, there’ll be an immediate call to increase it, as it’s not covering its administration costs.

  4. One Liberal Politician will suggest that people suggesting that the rich could pay more tax are indulging in class warfare on the same day that another suggests that people should be happy to contribute to Australia’s future by making sacrifices. A clarification will follow where the Liberals explain that paying tax is not making a sacrifice, and that sacrifices are when one throws a peasant into a volcano to appease the gods.

*In a previous blog, I pointed out the Rafael Epstein suggested to Graham Morris that the weeks after the Budget had been Abbott’s most difficult as Leader of the Opposition.

 

 

 

 

 

Abbott’s Groan-up Government

Posted: June 5, 2014 in Politics

‘The defence minister, David Johnston, has blamed the previous Labor government after Tony Abbott’s departure for Indonesia was delayed by technical problems with his RAAF jet on Wednesday.

Abbott was due to meet Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Batam Island later in the day to improve relations damaged by spying revelations and asylum seeker policies.

But his departure from Canberra was delayed for several hours and a replacement jet had to be brought in.

Johnston said the Rudd government had given the Coalition a “hospital handball” by renewing the contract on the current fleet of jets just before the 2013 election.

“I was very unhappy about that,” Johnston said.’

 

The Guardion

 

God, are there no depths to which Labor will sink to sabotage the Liberals. Making Tony Abbott late. Of course, they should have SPENT MONEY on new jets. I mean, it’s not like anyone was complaining about their SPENDING.

And this is on top of the way they have the Budget blowing out over the next four years. It’s not Joe Hockey’s fault that it’s projected to blow out to three times what it was when Labor left office. There’s nothing he could do to stop that. After all, raising taxes isn’t an option because they specifically ruled that out before the election. (Although Hockey did say that it was nonsense to suggest that they’d promised no new taxes when it was via a new levy that they were going to pay for the PPL, and a levy is clearly a tax unless it’s being temporarily applied to high income earners.)

Then on top of all the things that Labor has done, we have the Fair Work Commission increasing the minimum wage by a whopping $18.70 a week. That’s going to cost jobs, according to Mr Hockey. After all, it’s about four middies and while a visit to the doctor is only two middies and not worth worrying about, four middies is serious money.

I suggested to a Labor voting acquaintance that if we abolished the minimum wage altogether, people would work for half the wage – particularly after the freeze on the dole for under 30s – then we’d be able to employ twice as many. He showed his economic ignorance by asserting that if people were earning less, then they’d spend less and that’d lead to a slump in economic growth, but that just shows how out of touch Labor people are.

“That’s just the sort of woolly logic that led to the recession Australia experienced during the Global Financial Crisis,” I told him.

“There was no recession in Australia,” he argued.

“Well, not technically, but that was only because Labor spent all our money. If they hadn’t done that, we’d have had a recession like the good lord meant us to.”

He attempted to change the subject by arguing that economics has nothing to do with religion.

But I steered him back to the point: How our lack of a balanced budget was Labor’s fault for introducing a carbon tax when Julia Gillard promised in one speech that she wouldn’t.

“She said there’d be no carbon tax,” I told him, “and that speech was replayed over and over again after the election, so it’s not like the Australian people didn’t hear her broken promise!”

“But what about Abbott’s broken promises?”

“He had to break them because of Labor. If Whitlam hadn’t introduced Medicare, the country would have plenty of money.”

“Actually, Whitlam introduced Medibank, then Fraser and Howard trashed it to the point it wasn’t recognisable.”

“That has nothing to with what we’re discussing. We’re discussing ways of getting the lazy, unemployed back to work.”

“Why is that just last year, anyone losing their job was due to Labor incompetence?”

“You mean like when they mandated keeping a log book for leased cars? That nearly caused the death of our car industry.”

“Which Abbott and Hockey finished off by cutting subsidies…”

“Why should unprofitable companies expect to be subsidised by government?”

“Then why do they give such handouts to mining companies?”

“Because mining companies are profitable and they create jobs!”

“Then why do they need subsidies?”

“Oh, so you want to indulge in class warfare and attack the tall poppies. You just hate anyone who’s successful.”

“I give up,” he said, throwing his hands in the air and walking off.

Typical Labor man, I thought, they can’t stand it when you use a logical, consistent argument.

 

The Australian Independent Media Network

IMG_1264

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.”

H. L. Mencken

Over the next few weeks we’re going to have glossy brochures shoved in our letter boxes, explaining the necessity of the Government cuts. This will, of course, be difficult, because if it’s paid for by the Government and not the Liberal Party, they won’t be able to use the phrase, “The mess Labor left”. Although I suppose “Budget Emergency” may sneak through.

Now I have a massive problem with many of Abbott and Hockey’s statements on the Budget. I accept that the extent of the “emergency” is highly debatable. And I can’t see how anyone can argue that they didn’t break any promises and, anyway, they have to break some promises in order to keep their main promise, because the…

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The Australian Independent Media Network

“One version of the get-together is as follows.

Mr Turnbull was back late in Parliament House because his department was being grilled in Senate Estimates hearings. As he left he ran into a friend, business executive and Liberal Party vice-president Tom Harley who also was a friend of Mr Palmer. They agreed Mr Turnbull should text Mr Palmer and invite him to dinner. Another businessman, John Fast, was with them.

In the Parliament House car park Mr Turnbull ran into Dr Parkinson, who had been head of the Environment Department when Mr Turnbull was Environment Minister in 2007. He, too, was invited to dine.” 

news.com.au

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to explain to someone that Labor and The Greens couldn’t force a double dissolution in the current circumstances, and that I couldn’t really see a scenario where Abbott was likely to declare one. For a start, even if…

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The Australian Independent Media Network

Well, for a few months it was easy to send up this government. You only had to repeat what they said and exaggerate it slightly, or, in many cases, just juxtapose it beside something else that they were saying. Tony criticising the Opposition for having no alternatives, for example.

But lately, there is no way to actually exaggerate their position. Look at this recent offering from Christopher Pyne:

“Mr Pyne said he had no “ideological opposition” to collecting debts from the estates of former students who died still owing money to the government’s student loan scheme.” Link

Now, perhaps the Liberals are concerned that – like the long term unemployed – people will hit the jackpot by dying before they’ve paid off their HECS debt. (One edition of The Herald-Sun this morning had the headline “Dole Jackpot” on the front page. It then proceeded to tell us that there…

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The Australian Independent Media Network

twain

Dear Bill,

You don’t know me, but I’m about to give you some really, really good advice.

In case you haven’t noticed, Mr Abbott has labelled you a “whinger” and said that you haven’t come up with any alternative to his Budget. Now, this is pretty rich. I mean, apart from a pom like Abbott calling someone a whinger, he and Smokin’ Joe have been telling us that there IS no alternative.

Of course, even if one accepts the premise of the Budget emergency, there are always alternatives. So, because you’re probably too busy defending yourself from all the people who are saying things like the left should unite to defeat the Coalition and why isn’t Shorten doing something about it, I’m giving you an alternative Budget to present to Parliament.

Here are a few simple suggestions for filling the Budget black hole: (Actually in the interests of accuracy…

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The Australian Independent Media Network

Slackers j

Well, I’m appalled. Apparently there are more people on Disability Support Pensions than war wounded. What’s wrong with our soldiers? Weren’t they trying hard enough? Gees, no wonder we lost at Gallipolli.

Oh, not the message I’m supposed to take from this? Ah, apparently, I’m meant to think that people on the DSP are slackers and that it’s about time that the stood on their own two feet. Unless they only have one, of course, in which case the remark about standing on their own two feet is a little insensitive. Still, we’re not meant to worry about offending people these days.

KEVIN ANDREWS: The problem with the DSP, and this has been the case for years, probably decades, is that it’s been a set and forget payment.
People have been put on the DSP and that’s been the end of it, and they could stay there for years or…

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The Australian Independent Media Network

Poll - Fence jp

“This is a watershed moment, when a bold new government does what has to be done to set the nation on a better course.” Tony Abbott.

Say what you like about Tony Abbott, he doesn’t lack confidence. But then, neither do problem gamblers who lose the rent betting on “certainties”. For the past few years, he’s been telling us how much better his government was going to be. How much more honest. How much more competent. He told us that he could lower taxes without cutting spending and still reduce the deficit. And, when those nasty scaremongers suggested things like the Liberals would want to raise the GST, he insisted that it wasn’t necessary, because, once he was PM, everything would fine and we’d have a strong economy once more. (Of course, there is no way the GST could ever be raised. I remember being assured of this by John…

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