The punch-up over political interference at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) still has some distance to go, despite the resignation of Justin Milne over assorted e-mails to Michelle Guthrie, apparently pressuring her to sack journalists Emma Alberici and Andrew Probyn for doing their job1. There are now calls for the entire board to be sacked, but that is unlikely to happen. It will be extremely interesting to see if the government attempts to install another conservative ‘mate’ like Milne, given its propensity to similarly stack boards and positions of leadership in government organisations. If they do attempt to install another ‘mate’, it will simply demonstrate the depth of the government’s corruption. The current rumour is that Danny Gilbert of the ‘heavy hitting’ law firm, Gilbert and Tobin, is the front runner as the replacement chairman of the ABC Board3.
The Coalition government has constantly whined about ‘bias’ at the ABC and has repeatedly cut the budget of the organisation, seemingly as instructed by the Institute of Public Affairs. Years ago, the ABC used to cost each of us about 8 cents a day; now it costs each of us 4 cents a day4,5,6. Why do the Coalition whine so much? It is because the ABC is the news organisation that is not corrupted by the influence of Murdoch7, for whom an ultraconservative corporatocracy is the ideal to be pursued, nor is it corrupted by the profit motive like Fairfax in the increasingly desperate struggle to keep their heads above water. Nothing will deter Murdoch in his pursuit of the reconstruction of his part of the anglophone world into a series of corporatocratic states, although he does seem to have given up on the current Coalition government8. However, the abandonment of the Coalition’s pet money laundering project of huge tax cuts for corporations9 seems to have dampened the enthusiasm of Fairfax for the Coalition.
Murdoch aside, the fact that Fairfax would still cling to the failed neoliberal economics because it is in their financial interests to do so, is a disgrace, and is symptomatic of the malaise affecting Australia. Everything is for the corporate class and the rest of us can get stuffed.