NEWS THAT MATTERS
Australia’s favourite aunty chained
Last Sunday (14 November) Ita Buttrose, Chairwoman of the ABC, in a blistering statement defended the independence of the ABC by passing a motion to terminate or suspend the Senate inquiry into the ABC and SBS’s complaints handling processes until an independent process commissioned by the ABC Board last month had been completed.
16 November 2021
ON Thursday (11 November) the Senate environment and communications legislation committee, chaired by Liberal senator Andrew Bragg, announced a snap inquiry into complaints handling by the ABC and SBS, to report by 28 February.
Bragg’s reasoning for his spur-of-the-moment decision came after the ABC’s complaints division told Fox News it had not upheld any of the complaints made in a lengthy submission about a Four Corners program on Fox News, aired in August.
ABC Chair Ita Buttrose accused the Coalition of ‘political interference’ and ‘intimidation’.
“This is an act of political interference designed to intimidate the ABC and mute its role as this country’s most trusted source of public interest journalism,” she said.
Yesterday Buttrose, who was appointed ABC chair by the Morrison government in 2019, described the relationship with the government as “strained”.
“We do look at powerful people, we do investigate situations and sometimes there are situations where people wish we wouldn’t go,” she told Radio National.
“I think it would be much better if the government and the national broadcaster had a better relationship. We are not the enemy.”
An SBS spokeswoman said the broadcaster was “surprised by the inquiry and “no concerns have been raised about our processes”.
This attack on Australia’s ‘favourite aunty’ is not the first time that the Morrison Government has attempted to supress the freedom of the press. We saw Scotty’s stormtroopers raid the home of an ABC journalist because she dared expose the truth about the military in Afghanistan and Australians have continually witness Morrison’s spin in a feeble attempt to manipulate outcomes. So, it’s no surprise that Morrison would back the Senate inquiry.
So, is the Prime Minister’s agenda to back political interference designed to intimidate? An agenda to control Australia in accordance with the will of Scott and his Pentecostal influences?
Early this year Scott Morrison addressed the Australian Christian Churches (ACC) gathering on the Gold Coast, which began with a roll call of Christian influence on the government. The words were music to the ears of an adoring audience of Pentecostal Christians lapping up the proof of how far they’d come with one of their own in the highest political office in the land. And by his side, of course, were fellow Pentecostals’ Employment Minister Stuart Robert and Liberal Senator Matt O’Sullivan.
Matt O’Sullivan, elected to the Senate in 2019, who graduated into politics via billionaire Christian businessman Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation. In his brief time in Parliament, O’Sullivan has already distinguished himself as a defender of the government’s robodebt scheme (which was incidentally introduced on the watch of Scott Morrison as social services minister).
Here was proof of the outside influence of Pentecostalism within the Australian government. Followed by just over 1% of Australians, the religion now lays claim to a prime minister, a cabinet minister and a new senator carrying its standard in government.
Now everyone, including our Prime Minister and fellow politicians, has the right to have their religious beliefs respected. That’s what a democratic and free society have mandated, but, likewise, religion should not influence governance. Yet the government, under Scott Morrison’s watch, believe that politicians should be able to meddle and dictate to our national broadcaster about content and censoring the content in accordance with Christian beliefs.
So, we now have a Senate inquiry into the ABC that smacks of a far more nefarious agenda than just ‘Aunties’ ability to investigate her own complaints. We have an inquiry based on an impulsive decision that has received the Prime Ministers blessing.
Labor’s representative on the communications committee, Senator Nita Green, opposed the Senate inquiry, which, not surprisingly, was pushed through by the government’s majority.
Yesterday, Green rejected suggestions from Bragg that the inquiry was not partisan, noting that he had used the legislation committee where the government has a majority rather than seek Senate support to refer the issue for inquiry.
Australians are well aware of the vital role the ABC plays in exposing situations that need to be corrected, yet it is this truth that seems to overly concern the Morrison Government – the people’s right to know.
Grapevine News Online
Central Coast NSW
SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE to the Grapevine News Online and to the monthly e-book edition of the Grapevine Community News. You will receive an email notification every time a news story goes live, keeping you up to date with what is happening in your community.
Our online news update and monthly newspaper is about real local news and events. We will not spam you or share your details with third parties.