Guest post: Vikki Campion – Beating around the bush

ABC talkfest Q&A sank to an audience of 96,300 regional viewers  a few weeks ago. That means of the eight million regional  Australians, just over 1.2 per cent are tuning in.

ABC championing Annandale, Brunswick and Canberra and not Atherton, Bourke, and Corryong is why Q&A in the bush rates beneath Bluey, Peter Rabbit and Shawn the Sheep. That and its double standards on behaviour.

On Q&A’s Facebook page on Thursday, venomous comments about the only conservative woman on the show’s panel flowed freely.

According to the Q&A viper pit, she was “barely human — let alone a woman”. It continued: “Great panel EXCEPT FOR Anne Ruston … I hope Spears (sic) lets the great women speak and I mean all EXCEPT Anne Ruston…”; “Horrible piece of excrement” etc.

The comments remained published on the national broadcaster’s official social media despite the ABC’s proclamations about being advocates for women — and that was before she even set foot on the set.

Given the ABC’s mighty legal budget, underwritten by taxpayers, it can be difficult for people who feel wronged to defend themselves in court or bring the ABC to account.

An ombudsman could fix that and need not cost taxpayers more. It could end up saving the taxpayer millions of dollars in legal bills in providing a way to resolve a dispute with the ABC outside the courts.

For example, the NSW Ombudsman, which engages in worthwhile investigations, costs $25.7 million a year. That’s cheaper than the combined salaries of the 109 ABC staff earning between $225,000 and $495,000 a year, published in the 2019-20 financial report.

Two petitions calling for an ombudsman, started by South Australian Senator Alex Antic and Advance Australia, have more than 40,000 signatures combined. Those inside the ministry are understood to be softening to the proposal. Asking the ABC for an apology is like asking my kids to sleep in past 5am. A complete waste of breath.

Of hundreds of complaints made about ABC bias, only a handful get investigated and even less upheld.

And when you try to FOI the ABC, you are told that their news services are exempt.

There are zero repercussions — a liberty not afforded to those they investigate. Unlike life in commercial media, where advertisers can move their money, and the board has to report to shareholders, the tab never switches off for the ABC as they kick the life out of someone who put on the wrong coloured tie.

In the UK, the BBC has an independent ombudsman. Even if the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the wet lettuce of oversight, finds they have breached the code, the punishment is incomparable in effect to the Public Health Order where a son in Armidale is charged $1000 for not wearing a mask to drive his blind dad to the shops. We have an ombudsman for banks, telecommunications, health, consumer affairs, small business, and even Australia Post, so why not the ABC, the apparently protected species of Glebe?

From January to June this year, the ABC has closed 513 issues raised about anti-Coalition, and antigovernment bias — of those 108 issues were investigated by the ABC’s internal reviewers, meaning 405 were presumably not.

I reckon it would make Media Watch if a conservative politician didn’t get back to the ABC on 405 enquiries. In the 2019-20 financial year, 10.4 per cent of complaints to the ABC were of party political bias.

You can guess which. Many complaints get no response beyond a robo-debt like automated acknowledgment that your message has been received. When the line of inquiry is about their actions, they infer bigot, racist, illiterate, climate change denier, stupid “excrement”.

Depending on where they sit, the screws can be applied to politicians by the NSW Ombudsman, ICAC, Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority, Ministerial and Parliamentary Services, media, Members Interests, and processes within the Parliament itself.

The NSW Police are subject to oversight by the Ombudsman, the Police Integrity Commission and the ICAC. At the ABC, you have to wait until Senate estimates roll around to ask a question where they reluctantly turn up dispensing corporation lines.

Given the transparency they demand of everyone else surely they should be prepared to live by the same rules. Isn’t the standard you walk by the standard you accept? Isn’t that their oft-quoted mantra by their favourite acolyte? You pay for them. Landline, ABC Rural and local ABC radios are the bibles of so many regional areas because they are relevant and honestly impartial, dispensing information, not opinion.

ABC goes down with the sun. When local programming ends to be replaced by opinion out of Ultimo, the bush switches off.

If ABC disputes the bias, then get retiring Dawson MP George Christensen, whose Facebook page on a slow day gets more eyes than Q&A in its current ratings bonanza to give them a hint of how to grow their audience. He is available after the election.

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Cassie of Sydney
September 4, 2021 11:07 am

Thanks DB.

As I wrote on the OT, Vikki is 100% right but her other half still insists on legitimising their ABC’s biases and hostility towards conservatives by appearing on the putrid broadcaster.

So…it’s akin to something going in one ear and out the other…all very quickly!

September 4, 2021 11:27 am

We have an ombudsman for banks, telecommunications, health, consumer affairs, small business, and even Australia Post, so why not the ABC, the apparently protected species of Glebe?

The need for an ABC ombudsman is sticking out like dog’s balls. So why is it so hard to get it enshrined in legislation and passed through parliament? Because whoever proposes it opens him/herself to an on-air harrassment campaign by the ABC.

Whatever else it it, the ABC is platform for bullies with microphones who have no KPIs, produce nothing of value and use push-polling to create fake public support, even though life in Australia is so remote from the ABC’s fantasy that ABC TV is the worst-rating service in most markets (especially the bush, as Vikki Campion points out).

Bullies fold if they’re faced with courage. When was the last time you heard a member of parliament described as courageous?

The only reason why there is no ABC ombudsman is that our politicians are cowards who are so cheap that, on this issue at least, they don’t need to be ought.

September 4, 2021 11:44 am

The ABC, SBS and Australia Post are simply obsolete and should be shut down.

September 4, 2021 11:49 am

Heard possibly the most ABC intro so far this year, for an instalment of 7.30: “Why women are angry”.

Cassie of Sydney
September 4, 2021 12:05 pm

September 4, 2021 at 11:27 am”

I think you’ve said it best Tom.

And note the deafening silence from Paul Fletcher, the Minister for Miscommunication. Like a mouse popping it’s head out of a mouse hole, Fletcher did come out this week and mutter something re. the ABC’s Luna Park Wran doco…..but strange how he’s been silent about ABC attacks on his own…..the Porter allegations and of course he has said nothing about the Pell lynching.

Fair Shake
Fair Shake
September 4, 2021 12:06 pm

Why appoint an Ombudsman ? The Vic Government has one and just ignores it. Why would the ABC , cut from the same cloth, be any different?

Sell it off to the viewers and left wing believers. Begone with it.

September 4, 2021 12:49 pm

I’m over worrying about this shit.

Nicolle Flint has a piece in the Australian complaining about the ABCs handling of complaints.

Well maybe she could have done something from parliament, but now she’s moving on she’s just another voice they can ignore.

September 4, 2021 12:49 pm

The need for an ABC ombudsman is sticking out like dog’s balls.

Why just the ABC?

From what I hear channels 10 and 9 aren’t much better.

September 4, 2021 1:30 pm

Why just the ABC?

Because we own it and the staff behave like we don’t. If this was the real world, they’d be fired.

September 4, 2021 2:29 pm

The fact that the ABC continues to receive protection from the entire political class supports the assertion that we now have a UNiparty in Australian politics.
They only pretend to be different parties with different policies.
Look at what they do, not what they say.
They’re all in lockstep with the UN on the most-damaging globalist attacks on our nation – climate and coof.
The Libtards failure to do anything to rein in the activists at the ABC informs us that they approve of the ABC’s output.
No UNiparty candidate deserves to survive the next election.

Cassie of Sydney
September 4, 2021 2:38 pm

“From what I hear channels 10 and 9 aren’t much better.”

True….but the fact that they spout progressive left-wing rubbish doesn’t bother me…just like The Malcolm Guardian doesn’t bother me. I don’t fund their progressive rubbish. Everyday I’m aware that, through my taxes, I am compelled to pay for their ABC. It enrages me.

September 4, 2021 4:38 pm

What would the ABCess have to fear from an ombudsman?
Would an ombudsman have punitive powers? If not, what would be the point?

Remove politics and ideology for a moment. In any context – the raising of children, employment, society at large – the setting of boundaries must be accompanied by the believable threat of a consequence should those boundaries be transgressed. The fear of the consequences of one’s behaviour is additional to the preferred behavioural restraints of a strong sense of positive values and morality, and can motivate when the latter are being tested. When an individual -and, I would argue, organisations under certain conditions – lack the latter, the fear of consequences that threaten one’s self-interests become the only restraint against immoral or illegal behaviour. When that fear does NOT exist, however, the untethered feel free to satiate their own needs.

Unless the proposed ombudsman is provided with a fine set of teeth and strong lower facial muscles, it will be yet another exercise in screwing the taxpayer with a rusty star picket.

September 4, 2021 5:59 pm

No Ombudsman, sell it, shut it down or remove public funding. Enough is enough. Time has long past since when they either service or give a fig about the bush.

September 4, 2021 9:10 pm

“In the UK, the BBC has an independent ombudsman.”

And what good has THAT done?

Shut. it. down.

Davey Boy
Davey Boy
September 4, 2021 9:50 pm

Wake up.
The ABC is beyond biased.
It is partisan.
Act accordingly.

September 5, 2021 11:29 am

Why bother, just Rabz it. The left will find a way to reward their acolytes by giving them a nice retainer in the ombudsman as well as all abc positions.

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