The ABC Has Gone Too Far And Must Be Held To Account
By Mike Canavan
If ever evidence was needed to confirm that the ABC has gone completely feral, their decision to encourage Australian citizens to attend illegal Australia Day rallies (in violation of the Public Health Act) is ample confirmation of same. Their activities not only serve to incite division and promote derision. They have become reckless to the point of criminally negligence.
One has to ask who are making these decisions. Surly they must be held to account for their capricious actions.
Sadly, missing in action thus far is the ABC’s chair Ita Buttrose. To date she has been woefully ineffective in her role as Chairman. Under Ms. Buttrose, it seems like ABC staff continue to pervert the words “cultural diversity” to create a taxpayer-funded playground for identity politics.
In fact, the ABC was created by taxpayers to contribute to a robust democracy where cultural diversity means curious journalists with intellectually diverse views exploring all kinds of issues, from different perspectives. They should reflect and resonate with a broad range of Australians. They don’t.
It may have escaped the folk in Ultimo, but we are embroiled in one of the greatest medical challenges that this nation has faced since the Spanish flu in 1914. Yet in some fit of pique of ingenuousness self-indulgence and moralising bankruptcy, the national broadcaster (entirely funded by taxpayer’s money), has chosen to push its own bias political agenda. On Sunday 24th January the National Broadcaster published on the ABC news website — the terms “Invasion Day” and “Australia Day” are interchangeably.
Scores of Australians were quick to register their disapproval online after the article was posted — in an otherwise unassuming guide to activities taking place in capital cities around the country on Australia Day this week.
The news story, entitled “Australia Day/Invasion Day 2021 events for Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin”, described the January 26 public holiday as “one of the most polarising dates on the Australian calendar”.
“January 26 marks Australia Day or Invasion Day, typically seen as a celebration of the nation or a day of sorrow for the colonisation of an ancient culture,” it added.
“For many First Nations people, it is a day to mourn the past and galvanise the community to address ongoing systemic racial injustice. For others, it’s a chance to spend time with family and friends at the beach or around barbecues.”
Under the ABC’s Editorial Policies, the national broadcaster has a statutory obligation to “ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information is impartial”.
One Nation’s Mark Latham said labelling January 26 “Invasion Day” was needlessly incendiary in an events guide and described it as “part of an ongoing pattern” of political activism masquerading as journalism at the ABC.
Thousands attend the Invasion Day march in Melbourne on January 24, 2020.
“There is a determination in there (the ABC) to rewrite our national history to fit in with their own left-wing biases and agendas,” the NSW upper house member said.
“It’s disappointing but I’m not surprised. If you can find one conservative voice or centrist voice discussing issues like this on the national broadcaster, it’s a fluke. Instead, the ABC is intent on broadcasting political propaganda and left-wing ideologies and making the facts fit their own narrative.”
Mr Latham’s sentiments were echoed across social media, with one user, Geoff Keogh, tweeting: “The ABC is a government service. ‘Invasion Day’ has not been adopted by the parliament or the people/ Sure let’s debate but not adopt before approval.”
Another user, Adam Brown, added: “Geez @abcnews invasion day, really? Lost me as a reader.”
However, Aboriginal woke agitator Stephen Hagan applauded the ABC’s use of the term “Invasion Day”.
Hagan, a self-serving political activist who this month claimed to have won a 21-year fight to have Australian cheese brand Coon renamed, he said that research conducted by the Australian National University suggested only about 20 per cent of Australians supported “the ambitions and goals” of their Indigenous counterparts.
“That means that any survey of the population will only ever garner 20-25 per cent support for the official adoption of Invasion Day and the term will never win approval by general consensus,” Mr Hagan said.
“So, I applaud the ABC’s decision to call it Invasion Day because it is the correct term even if it is not the most popular term with everyone.”
An ABC spokeswoman said the broadcaster acknowledged the response generated by its use of the term “Invasion Day” and said that, while “Australia Day” remained the preferred terminology, staff members were free to use other titles for the public holiday at their discretion.
“Some audience members have been asking about the ABC’s terminology in stories and coverage around Australia Day. This is a perennial issue,” she said.
“The default terminology for the ABC remains ‘Australia Day’. We also recognise and respect that community members use other terms for the event, including ‘26 January’, ‘Invasion Day’ and ‘Survival Day’, so our reporting and coverage reflect that.
“Given the variety of terms in use, and the different perspectives on the day that the ABC is going to cover over the course of the long weekend, it would be inappropriate to mandate staff use any one term over others in all contexts.”
Read the full ABC statement here.
In a particularly weak response, the Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the terminology used by the ABC was ultimately a matter for the broadcaster.
“The Morrison government’s position on Australia Day is very clear,” Mr Fletcher said. “The position taken by the ABC is a matter for which the ABC must take accountability, as the ABC, by statute, has editorial independence from government.”
It would have being better if Fletcher have had stood up and said that these actions were thoroughly inappropriate and would only serve to divide our nation at a time when unity is desperately required.
The Communications Minister Fletcher is clumsy and often ineffective in his role, but his job is to ensure the ABC meets its responsibilities under the charter. We, the public, are entitled to see that he does his job and starts being effective in the role.
Evan Mulholland, Director of Communications at the Institute of Public Affairs said the move shows the ABC “is now the Unaustralian Broadcasting Corporation”.
“The government ought to step in and prevent the ABC from pushing divisive identity politics and diminishing our national day,” he said.
“The ABC claims it hosts a diversity of opinion, poll after poll finds that Australians support Australia Day on 26 January yet the ABC continues to publish ‘analysis’ against our national day without one piece in favour.
“If the ABC wants to keep pushing a divisive invasion day narrative, they should be privatised so that taxpayers aren’t paying the bill for their political campaign.”
The time as well and truly come to put a broom through the current management structure of the ABC. An organisation where conservatives’ voices are not just ignored, they are treated as morally repugnant. A new management team must seek to realign the balance between the progressive left and the more conservative people of this great nation. The ABC must represent all Australians, not just café latte swilling Surrey Hills set. If it cannot rise to this then there is a strong argument to privatise sell it off, so it is no longer a billion-dollar plus burden on the overstretched coffers of our nation.