BONUS EDITORIAL: The ABC of aspiration and desperation

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(Cartoon by Mark David / @mdavidcartoons)

Aspiration is the latest buzzword of the Turnbull Government. They used it so much in Parliament this week, it started to sound like desperation.

Apparently, according to Prime Minister Turnbull in Question Time, a 60-year-old aged care worker in Burnie, Tasmania, shouldn’t worry about tax cuts for the well-off, but should instead “aspire to get a better job”.

Looking after old people, it seems, isn’t a worthy aspiration for our Prime Minister.

Of course, the only job this 63-year-old former investment banker from Point Piper is concerned about is his own, although his aspiration to keep it seems to be fast receding.

That’s because he and his Government’s meagre aspirations are so far removed from those of the vast majority of Australians.


Firstly, they aspire to make people on $200,000 (people near their own social strata) pay the same marginal tax rate as those earning $41,000 a year.

The following is a graph from the Guardian’s Greg Jericho, which shows who gets the benefits from the Government’s planned personal income tax cuts (spoiler, it’s not the poor):

Secondly, the Turnbull Government aspires to give a huge income tax cuts to big corporations. Very deserving corporations, like the big bandit banks and tax evading multinationals. The sort of corporations that make massive donations to the Liberal Party and offer lucrative lobbying jobs to ministers and MPs as soon as they leave Parliament — and sometimes even before.

Unfortunately for Turnbull and his gang, most Australians don’t share these aspirations. They would like to see such things as better schools and hospitals, and public debt being paid down, rather than shovelling Commonwealth consolidated revenue to foreign shareholders and the already affluent.

Although paying off Government debt also used to also be an aspiration for the Coalition — remember the “debt and deficit disaster”? But that aspiration faded fast as soon as the Liberals gained power in 2013. Funny that.


Thirdly, the kleptocracy in charge aspire to privatise the ABC. Well, Turnbull and his ministers won’t admit it, but we know they do.

We know this because it is one of the aspirations of the Liberal Party’s “brains trust”, the IPA — and the IPA almost always gets its way. We also know it because the Liberal Party’s peak Federal Council passed a motion the other day declaring ABC privatisation to be Liberal Party policy.

Yes, our Liberal Government wants to privatise the ABC, just they don’t know how they can do it and still get re-elected. Because the ABC is very, very much more trusted by the voting public than the Government. So, they will say they will “never, ever” do it — and then go right ahead and do it if they win the election. Just like John Howard did in 1995 (and 1998) with respect to bringing in a GST. Just like Tony Abbott did with his “no cuts to the ABC and SBS” pledge in 2013. It is standard conservative practice.

One of the reasons the Liberal Party say they want to privatise the ABC is because they claim it is a drain on public resources. In fact, modelling released by Deloitte Access Economics shows it injects at least as much into the economy as the Government spends on its meagre and ever tightening budget.

The Liberals also say the ABC “crowds out” commercial broadcasters by providing them with publicly-funded competition. This is also quite clearly false. The ABC does not take a single cent away from commercial free-to-air broadcasters, who receive virtually all their revenue from advertising, because the ABC is commercial free.

The Turnbull Government and its cronies also claim the ABC is biased and “left-wing”. Indeed, Malcolm Turnbull and his (IPA member) communications minister, Mitch Fifield, have made repeated complaints to the ABC on this issue — Fifield six in the past five months. However, anyone impartial watching the ABC can see that the ABC is not “left-wing”. In truth, it has been bullied and threatened so much, most of its content and talent lies comfortably on the right. It is just that, unlike the commercial broadcasters, sometimes the ABC does ask the Government some hard questions — and that, to the Libs, is simply unacceptable.


The Liberal Party doesn't want to privatise the ABC because it is biased. They want to privatise it because it is not biased enough — towards them, like all the other broadcasters are. Like all wannabe totalitarians, the quasi-fascists of the Right cannot tolerate any dissent or scrutiny.

More than even that, the Turnbull Government aspires to privatise the ABC because it is Rupert Murdoch’s dream, just as he dreams about owning the BBC. Because without the monopolistic Murdoch propaganda machine on his side, Turnbull knows his career is finished. So, despite once saying he was the ABC’s best friend, Turnbull will privatise the ABC as soon as he receives that dreaded midnight call from Australia’s demon puppet-master.

Mostly, though, the Libs want to privatise the ABC because, even with every mainstream commercial newspaper, TV station, cable network and radio station backing them to the hilt, they remain firmly behind in the polls. They think this could only be the ABC’s fault, not their own incompetence and ill-conceived policies.

They Turnbull Government says it is all about aspiration, but really it is on artificial respiration.

You can follow managing editor Dave Donovan on Twitter @davrosz. Follow Independent Australia on Twitter at @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

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