Contributed by Joe Montero
Pauline Hanson has a flair for bizarre moments. The two latest is that she has made herself president of One Nation for life and that she is telling the Australian government that it will not enjoy One Nation support, unless it effectively destroys the ABC.
What the most bizarre about these episodes, is that the existing political leadership of this country and big media have not uttered a word of criticism. This should be noted. Both present themselves as the protectors of democracy.
Consider this. Pauline has established what passes as a political party, and is registered as a political party, but is in truth a private company operating for her personal profit. She dictates, and the members have no voice.
Excuse me for feeling something is drastically wrong here. Is this not a blatant perversion of what is supposed to be democracy? Could this be corrupt behaviour? But mums the word, for our protectors of democracy.
This says a lot about where Hanson is coming from. Before continuing with this, it should be observed, that it also speaks volumes about our political leaders and media bias.
This takes us to the campaign against the ABC. Is this a crusade or free speech? No. It is waged against that has been described by one of its leading champions, Andrew Bolt, as a campaign to clean out the “collective of leftists.”
You see, any opinion not sanctioned by Rupert Murdoch is intolerable and must be presented as having no legitimacy. This is an ideological war, aimed at effectively outlawing anything, but support for Murdoch style corny politics. The political process is turned into a controlled business interest.
There is also the very important point that the ABC is a business competitor of commercial media. The less ABC, the more profitable potential for the commercial media.
Pauline Hanson has made herself available as a convenient tool. Her antics are used. She in return is made untouchable, at least for now. Her personal interests, sectional business interests, and those of our political leaders intersect.
Last week, the government cut funding by $84 million. Pauline, no doubt looking for a headline, cried out that this is not nearly enough. She wants so far as to threaten Malcolm Turnbull that she would not support his government, if he didn’t comply. She upped the ante, and by doing so, at once made the cut appear more reasonable and set the stage for a further cut.
It is no accident that the war on the ABC comes at the same time as the extension of the restrictions on what journalists can say and the erosion of the protection of sources. Nor is it an accident that this same alliance champions the rise of autocratic government and the slow restriction of a range of rights that were once taken for granted.
The ABC is hardly Bolt’s “collective of leftists.” But overall, it does provide a somewhat greater diversity of opinion than the commercial media. In this respect, it deserves to be defended. An even more important reason to rally behind the public broadcaster, whether you agree with everything that comes through it or not, is that this is inseparable from the defence of our rights in general.
Many journalists continue to fight for their voice, even if they are now doing so under editorial limitations and rising insecurity of their work. A large part of Australia is against the attack on the ABC.
An important leg of the campaign of this coalition, besides the attack on the ABC, is the vendetta against unions. Never mind that even with fewer members than before, they represent more than 1.5 million Australians, which is far more than any other organisation in the country. A campaign to destroy the unions, or at least render them completely ineffective, is to target 1.5 million Australians as the enemy, deny them a voice and make it illegal for them to act collectively to protect their interests.
A survey just released by the Australia Institute shows that 68 percent against 23 percent, not support the cutting of funds of the, based on the question; “the ABC and SBS should get less funding and provide fewer online and streaming services, so that they don’t undermine commercial media.” An even higher margin of 70 percent saw that maintaining the public broadcaster is “critical to a healthy democracy.”
This is a good basis on which to fight back. And this is exactly what is happening.
Meanwhile, the unions have launched their change the rules campaign with huge numbers of supporters.
Pauline Hanson, the Turnbull government and Murdoch have a fight on their hands, and they are far from winning it.