Emma, You’ve Done It Again!

emma IIAmong the members of our retired guys’ tennis club there is a boffin who used to work at Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL). When it floated at $2.30 in 1994, he used an idle $10,000 to take up the staff offer. He never sold the parcel. You probably know that CSL has been a sensational long-term investment. When this guy returned my serve, I’d think, “Nice slice, James Packer!”

CSL is one of my rare good picks. I bought  160 shares at about $31 donkey’s years ago, a $5000 investment, and I’ve watched my parcel rocket to around $28,000. So whenever CSL’s share price flashes up on the finance segment of the ABC’s 7pm news, I salivate like Pavlov’s dog. On Friday (May 18) it was ABC chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici handling the finance section. She did an excellent intro comparing Australian and NZ budget and economic parameters. Well done, Emma!

See also:  The ABC’s Alan Sunderland rallies the troops

The great thing about Emma’s stuff is that you can be sure every element has been fact-checked with fantastic thoroughness. That’s because she got the ABC into a wagon-load of trouble with her news story and commentary in February on businesses’ alleged tax  scamming.[1]

Her nine errors in the news piece and general ignorance of the subject saw a cringing ABC beaten up by an outraged Prime Minister, the Treasurer, plus the Communications Minister and business leaders.[2] It turned out that even a prior two-hour briefing from Australian Taxation Office Deputy Commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn had failed to enlighten her to the basics of company tax. For example, tax is paid on profit, not on revenue. Concepts such as carry-forward of losses (think Qantas) were way beyond her reach.

A Treasurer’s adviser  on February 14 sent the ABC a 1600 word email concluding,  “Ms Alberici’s story reveals an inherent bias and is ­activism disguised as journalism, and we would expect more from the ABC’s chief economics correspondent.”

See also: ABC to Complainant: Drop Dead

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie blamed “inadequate editorial resources” — $1.2 billion a year only goes so far, you know —  for the publication of the articles. The national broadcaster has since increased editorial oversight, she said.

So last night, after New Zealand, Emma moved on to the boilerplate finance stuff — the day’s exchange rates, global indexes and, finally, local stocks.

“Shares in CSL put in a stellar performance today on the back of a fairly harsh northern hemisphere flu season,” Emma said as I drooled at the thought of my expanding wealth. She didn’t mention the price but my eyes flicked to her graphic alongside. The prices listed at the closing bell for Woodside and Santos were spot-on, but was this about CSL?

OMG! According to the ABC, my favourite stock was wallowing at $7.31. Last time I checked it had been over $170. Some utter catastrophe had occurred. Should I hang on – a strategy that served me badly throughout the Great Financial Crisis, or sell and garner $1170 (less brokerage) towards my half-yearly electricity bill?

error albericiNothing to see here, folks, especially subject knowledge and editorial rigour.

Surely, given Emma’s history and  Michelle Guthrie’s “increased editorial oversight”, this $7.31 couldn’t have been just another ABC cock-up? Surely, as the ABC’s go-to guru on matters financial, she would checked the facts and details of her report before going to air?

I checked the price: Oh happy day! My CSL babies were actually at $183!

There’s quite a difference between Emma’s $7.31 and the actual $183. It’s not like she mistook $183 for $138 or $173. If Emma knew just a tiny bit about the company sector, she would have known before going to air and, presumably, eyeballing her script, that $7.31 didn’t compute.

But why $7.31? At first I thought it was confusion with builder Downer EDL which had a $7.31 high on Friday. But the explanation is much simpler: $7.31 was CSL’s increase yesterday, which Emma presented as the actual price.

The ABC– all muscle, no fat —  gets its share prices garbled not just occasionally but often. To the green/lefties there, sharemarket prices must be gobbledegook.[3] Their retirement lifestyle is assured by that 15.4% super contribution from the ABC – all muscle, no fat.[4]

So no-one there has noticed the CSL howler – I’ll demand a correction, just for entertainment. Oh, and Ms Guthrie, ramp up that editorial oversight a notch.

Tony Thomas’s book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here


[1] One piece was headed “Tax-free billions: Australia’s largest companies haven’t paid corporate tax in three years”.

[2] It became a double-header embarrassment last month when ABC political editor Andrew Probyn got busted by ACMA for his anti-Abbott rant last October

[3] More than 40 per cent of ABC journalists who answered a survey question about their political attitudes are Greens supporters, four times the support the minor party enjoys in the wider population.

[4] ABC veterans on the old defined benefit super schemes enjoy 20% plus as equivalent super contribution

20 thoughts on “Emma, You’ve Done It Again!

  • Tony Thomas says:

    Just noticed this correction on the ABC site. Looks like ABC PM’s partisan over-reach got them into trouble…

    Peter Jones
    Posted Wednesday at 09:52
    PM: On 22 March 2018, PM reported that Cambridge Analytica employee, Peter Jones, had worked for “various” companies linked to the neocon movement in the United States and that he was “very much inspired by the conservative political right”. These claims are inaccurate. The report has been removed from the program’s website. ABC News apologises to Mr Jones for the errors in the report.

    • Tony Thomas says:

      The ABC responded today to my request for a correction on CSL. Full marks, ABC:

      “You are quite right that there was an error in reporting the closing share price of CSL at $7.31 when the correct price was $182.95. A correction has now been posted on the ABC’s Corrections and Clarifications page – http://www.abc.net.au/news/corrections/.

      In view of this action by ABC News, we consider your complaint to be resolved.”

  • padraic says:

    I saw that stuff-up as well. I have been following CSL for some years now and when I saw $7.31, I could not believe it. The ABC is becoming less and less credible.

    • whitelaughter says:

      how can something as minor as a public humiliation make the ABC less credible? Even good organisations make mistakes, making mistakes one of the few things the ABC shares with good organisations.

      • padraic says:

        Public humiliation never entered my mind when I wrote the above posting. Journalists can dish it out to members of the public, politicians et al. and presumably have skins thick enough to cop it when it is served back. It is the lack of accuracy (exemplified in this CSL instance) and the constant bias that for me are signs of a lack of credibility. You may note that I said “becoming”. The ABC produces a lot of good stuff, and criticism is warranted when the good stuff is getting snowed under by the poor stuff.

  • Jody says:

    Poor Emma; enslaved to the smug ABC mentality (and “Friends of the ABC” are equally smug, I’ve found). She needs to read this:


    And then WATCH THIS: one of America’s most important intellectuals. The things he writes and says are devastating for so-called ‘progressives’: this program, “The Rubin Report”, is right up there in terms of modern thinking and chewing the fat!


    • Keith Kennelly says:


      There you go again. On and on about that populist managerial espoused Peterson.

      Now listen carefully.

      The American philosopher, taught in the US Education system, is the late Tom Wolfe.

      Read him and you will see how he dwarfs your hero.

      Really you need to read more widely than youtube. You might also watch Fox.

      Oh dear you are becoming boring with this fixation on Pietersen.

      • mburke@pcug.org.au says:

        Why are you so consistently aggressive in your attacks on Jody just about every time she comments? Jody might choose to ignore you, but I find your attacks offensive.

        • Jody says:

          To quote Dr. Peterson; “the frightened dog barks a lot”.

        • Keith Kennelly says:

          Well well, DT, here is where you need to listen.

          I do not attack Jody’, I attack her views and the monotony of them.


          That is ok in the traditions of free speech and western democratic traditions.

          What you have done is joined the corrupting brigades.

          You’ve attacked me personally without any understanding or comprehending of what I’ve done.

          Those are the tactics and errors of both the left wing and the modern managerial elites.

          Suggested reading:
          Tom Wolfe and James Burnham.

          Two true Western conservative intellectuals.

          Read them and you will see the truth of my criticisms of the shallowness and lack of intellectual rigorous and depth of Peterson.

          There now there’s an area for improvement for you.

          • Keith Kennelly says:

            And that Tezza is the fat man singing!

          • mburke@pcug.org.au says:

            I haven’t attacked you at all, and while it’s true that you’ve attacked Jody’s views, your condescending, patronising even hectoring tone whenever you respond to something she posts is invariably offensive. Oh, and don’t patronise me either. I’ve been reading Tom Wolfe for more than 50 years and there aren’t many of his books that I haven’t owned and read, many more than once. I don’t think you’ve read a word of Peterson. If you had, you wouldn’t make such ridiculous statements.

  • a.crooks@internode.on.net says:

    If she cant tell the difference between “revenue” and “profit” – how can you realistically expect her to know the difference between the “change in price” and the “actual price”? Be fair Tony. I wonder if she can tell the difference between “salary” and “bonus”? I sure hope the guy who does the ABC’s books has a better grasp of what “$1.2 billion” means.

  • Rayvic says:

    It is time that the ABC either moves the grossly over-paid Emma to a position where she does not have to present quantitative data, or else shows her the door.

    I for one will not be watching any more ABC current affairs programs. That means I will no longer watch the ABC.

    • Jody says:

      I stopped about 2 or 3 years ago. Being over 30 is the major qualifier; oh, that and an IQ above 100. It’s amazing to me how smug ABC viewers are too. I was at our weekly community group and somebody said he was a “friend of the ABC”. A woman behind me said “we all are”. As we’re all well over 60 I was astonished that most of them hadn’t moved beyond the undergraduate view of the world. I said nothing (as these are my friends) but I’ve found all the MSM largely bores me silly. I’m tired to the death of ‘audience capture’ and I seek out high qualilty heterodox sites on the internet where public intellectuals thrash out the big ideas. The rest is kindy kids stuff, for me. IF anybody mentions the ABC, Fairfax, Guardian or SMH to me my eyes glaze over and I quickly grow bored. I’m in a hurry at my age and life is far too short for the quotidian.

      • mburke@pcug.org.au says:

        Me too. I would not spend one minute per week listening to or watching the ABC, whereas up until about 40 years ago we almost never missed the ABC news and current affairs programmes. I’ve had bitter personal experience of the ABC’s unethical behaviour, and that didn’t do anything to keep me loyal, but I think that it was the retirement of the likes of James Dibble, Ross Simonds, and their generation (including our very own Peter Luck) and their replacement by blatantly leftist political activists like Kerry O’Brien, Barrie Cassidy and Maxine McKew that finally drove me away. (I used to cringe and hide whenever McKew interviewed a Labor or leftist personality. Meg Ryan’s famously orgasmic movie scene couldn’t compete with Maxine’s obvious ecstasy.)

        • Jody says:

          I think you meant Geoffrey Luck. I relate to everything you’ve said about the ABC but my antipathy is worse, having worked there in my early 20s and seen at first hand the kind of bullying and siege mentality of the Left. Yes, you were openly bullied if you didn’t conform to group think and I prided myself on being the opposite!! I’ll never forget the thrill of watching “well may we say God save the Queen…”! Yes, that schadenfreude was hard to beat!! Poor little snowflakes were crestfallen that day.

  • Quilter says:

    I didn’t see Emma Alberscreechy’s latest stuff up as I can no longer be bothered with the ABC but as a trained economist, I really resent her being designated as the economics correspondent when she is clearly incompetent when it actually comes to anything about economics which requires thought – which is rather a lot of it if your job is theoretically to explain it to an audience in terms they can understand and in an unbiased way. Emma is incapable of explaining or being unbiased. She would be fired out here in the real world.

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