The saying "The only time a politician is telling the truth is when he or she accuses another politician of lying" would resonate with a lot of people, especially Ernesto's readers.
I ask you to just hold that thought for a few paragraphs.
Between 2008 and 2018, over 100 local and regional newspapers closed across Australia leaving over 20 local government areas without a local newspaper in either print or electronic form.
The Covid 19 crisis has seen the closure of many more titles over the last couple of weeks including papers covering the Mildura and Swan Hill regions.
In order to support the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has announced a $50 million help package for “Public Interest News Gathering” but it is only available to commercial television, radio and newspaper businesses in regional Australia.
Meanwhile the federal Government has slashed funding to the ABC in excess of $780 million since its election in 2013
Since 2014 we have seen,
- Loss of coverage of local sport on TV;
- Loss of Adelaide and Perth local television production:
- Only news and current affairs production outside Melbourne and Sydney;
- Closure of 5 local radio newsrooms;
- Loss of local 7.30 report program.
More than ever, Australia, especially regional Australia needs a strong properly funded ABC. Its emergency broadcasting during the bushfires and Covid 19 crisis coverage has been invaluable
Those who argue it must be privatised or shut down obviously failed the "Clear Thinking" module in English.
The ABC is the glue that holds this country together and it must hold authority and governments to account without fear or favour.
This is of course why the Coalition is slowly strangling the ABC by squeezing its funding-Governments (especially conservative ones) don't like scrutiny.
Which brings me back to my first paragraph, Watch the You Tube clip showing Tony Abbott lying to the Australian people before the federal election in 2013.
Then cast your mind back a week to Q&A on Monday 29th June where the Minister for Communications kept running the lie that the ABC had not had its funding cut.
Bill Shorten called him out and produced a copy of the 2018 budget paper which clearly stated the ABCs budget had been cut-by over $80 million over 3 years, but that didn't stop Fletcher belligerently doubling down on his lies.
How dare a Public Servant on his taxpayer funded salary, sit in a taxpayer funded chair in a taxpayer funded studio on a taxpayer funded public broadcaster being interviewed by a taxpayer funded journalist, blatantly lie like that to the Australian taxpayer?
His contempt for the Australian public and the ABC is obvious.
So what to do?
The National party has long said it is there to support rural Australia although some of its actions lately suggest it is more interested in Mining, Big Cotton and profiting from our water.
How about the National Party get back to its roots by supporting regional Australia?
It could make a strong start in this direction by standing up to its senior partner in the Coalition and their mates at News Corp and the IPA and demand the ABC not only gets its funding restored but increased.