Last year, before accusations of rape in Parliament House and against a 17-year-old future Liberal attorney-general spawned an eruption of ABC reports about Hunnish behaviour in Canberra, a prominent ABC radio personality added his sneers to the orchestrated leftoid pile-on that made South Australian Liberal Nicolle Flint’s life such a misery she will shortly quit politics for good. Quadrant’s Tony Thomas took up the matter with the ABC, noting that there appeared to have been a clear breach of its employee guidelines and asking what the national broadcaster intended to do about it.
The ABC’s answer, in a word: nothing. Tony’s piece is republished below. — rf
If the ABC didn’t have double standards, it wouldn’t have any at all. Case in point: the matter of ABC Adelaide radio host Peter Goers, who has been a ABC radio nightly presenter there for 16 years. He also writes a weekly column in News Corp’s Sunday Mail, with a prominent tagline below, “Peter Goers can be heard weeknights and Sundays on ABC Radio Adelaide.”
In his July 26 column, this scruffy and overweight Cuba-lover and Israel-hater of the Left wankerati included a prolonged sneer about the (impeccable) dress sense of Liberal MHR Nicolle Flint (above). His sneers violated the very fibre of the ABC’s anti-sexism protocols for respectful treatment of women. But the ABC shrugs off Goers’ insults: its Adelaide pet didn’t do the sneering on the ABC’s own platforms, so move along, nothing to see here.
But, but … didn’t the column tag him as an ABC radio celebrity? Nah, move along, nothing to see here, Nicolle Flint’s a Liberal anyway.
Is this a storm in a teacup? No, not when you go to Nicolle Flint’s back-story. In 2019’s federal election her seat of Boothby, with its skinny margin of 2.7%, looked winnable for Labor. An alliance of GetUp, Labor, union muscle and freelance thugs and ferals operated with the full force of its toxic and tireless venom. The assault was so such it would have given a lesser target a nervous breakdown. They saw Flint as everything that the Left and the ABC hates. She’s a Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott supporter; she backed the Dutton coup against Prime Minister Turnbull; she won’t buy the warmists’ catastrophism; and she prefers opportunities to expand workers’ and tradies’ jobs to underwriting grants for environmentalist piffle artists.
As a 41-year-old single woman living alone, she must have looked vulnerable, and the get-her-to-get-the-seat strategy was good to go. The campaigns were conducted to psychologically damage her, scare her and prevent her freely campaigning, she has said.
On her posters, graffiti artists called her a “$60 an hour whore” and “skank” willing to “go and blow”. She was shouted down at rallies, thugs egged and vandalised her office, property of her team was defaced and a stalker with camera was so persistent and upsetting that she called in the police, who gave the creep an anti-stalk warning. She remained fearful that her home address would become known and a target.
Mass phone-outs by GetUp volunteers included calls describing her as ‘evil’ and seeking to tear her down personally via verballing with loaded language. (GetUp denies even an iota of uncouthness).
At the height of the campaign, the ABC reporters tried gaslighting her with lines like: “Liberal MP Nicolle Flint has refused to answer questions about whether she regrets supporting the call for a leadership spill that ousted former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.” (The ABC’s shills couldn’t imagine Turnbull’s ouster as anything but an electoral disaster for the Liberals). Not to miss an opportunity, the national broadcaster put itself at GetUp’s service with lead paragraphs like this: “Activist group GetUp has named South Australian MP Nicolle Flint the state’s ‘most backwards politician’ and has launched a push to unseat her from the electorate of Boothby.”
With such daily pressure over the course of five-or-so months, it was surprising she made it through. What she endured also stands as a horror-story warning for any and every conservative woman considering a career in politics.
In the event, the “progressives” and their tactics alienated Boothby voters and much of the Adelaide public. Flint held the seat narrowly, but with a 3.5 per cent increase in her personal vote.
For the Left and its ABC spear-carriers, the pile-on must never cease while she holds Boothby. Hence Peter Goers’ (right) column last week mocking her and the way she dresses. His ostensible justification was MPs’ alleged over-use of taxpayer funding to showcase their wares: the allowance is a staple of political life. To amplify his faux indignation, he reminded his readers of Ms Flint’s sympathies for Abbott and climate non-conformity. I’ll furnish the details shortly, but let’s skip now to Ms Flint’s astonishing response.
She has tweeted a one-minute home-made video re-capping Goers’ “sexist rubbish” and asks, “So Mr Goers, what should a woman in politics wear? How about a garbage bag to match your rubbish views?”
She takes off her black coat to show herself wearing a grey bin bag tied with a black belt. As a political stunt, even some female Labor MPs said they loved it.
The plot thickened when the ABC’s political writer Jane Norman felt compelled to cover — or, rather, spin — the story about her ABC colleague’s discomfiture. The spin involved her re-capping mild sexisms by Liberal politicians and supporters, the technique known as “Look over there, a squirrel!” She included, of course, pundit Alan Jones’ hyperbole that Julia Gillard should be put in a “chaff bag” and dumped at sea and Tony Abbott saying (2013) his fellow-candidate Fiona Scott had “sex appeal”. She didn’t have space to include Tony Abbott’s looking at his watch while PM Gillard hectored him. Ms Norman ended her report with a mysterious circumlocution: “Mr Goers has been contacted for comment.” Perhaps the ABC’s Goers told the ABC’s Norman to get lost, or he went into hiding from her. The trail then runs cold; nothing more is published that I can find from the ABC on the ABC’s rogue or disappearing Mail columnist.
Goers in 2013, like the profane one-time ABC employee Mike Carlton in 2020, scored an OAM “for service to the community.” ABC Local Content Manager in South Australia Graeme Bennett, congratulating Goers, said at the time, “Peter’s contribution to ABC Local Radio has been immense, but his contribution to our community has been greater still. Since he joined 891 ABC Adelaide in 2004, he has shown his true colours: compassion, humour and a love of his home state and every person in it. We’re absolutely thrilled at this humbling honour, and privileged to work with a great South Australian. Onya Goersy.”
You probably want to know, what exactly did “Goersy” write misogynistically about the female MHR? Answer:
In her latest glossy, six-page brochure there are 23 photos of Nicolle. There’s Nicolle with troubled MP Sam Duluk, Nicolle with constituents, Nicolle with ministers, a curious photo of a photographer taking her photo, and Nicolle with a photo of an over-dressed old lady – oh, it’s the Queen.
There’s lots about what Nicolle has been up to but no mention of her support for Peter Dutton, Tony Abbot, bank CEOs and climate change sceptics.
Nicolle wears pearl earrings and a pearly smile. She favours a vast wardrobe of blazers, coats and tight, black, ankle-freezing trousers and stiletto heels. She’s presents herself in her own newsletter, 23 times as a fashion plate. She has blazers and coats in black, blue, pink, red, beige, green, white, cream, floral and two in grey…
(The ABC itself, by the way, has a thing for stiletto heels. Like every Melbournian, I’m bombarded evenings with that ABC promo about Leftist Virginia Trioli strutting Southbank in her stilettos, to the Nancy Sinatra song that ends, “One of these days these boots are gunna walk all over you”).
So this week Quadrant Online queried ABC management. The exchange went:
On July 26 Sunday Mail published a comment piece by the ABC’s Peter Goers, with his ABC status well displayed at the bottom of the piece: ‘Peter Goers can be heard weeknights and Sundays on ABC Radio Adelaide’.
The piece (in my view) was a gratuitously sexist attack on a female elected politician, Nicolle Flint, in violation of numerous ABC guidelines to staff against sexist reporting. I have also studied the guidelines on “Comment” pieces and consider it violates them as well.
The ABC published a news story mentioning (mid-way) Goers’ comments and Flint’s ‘garbage bag’ response, but this news story failed to deal with or mention the failure of Goer to observe ABC guidelines.
It also said, “Mr Goers has been contacted for comment.” It seems one ABC staffer, Peter Goers, is unable or unwilling to respond publicly to another, Jane Norman.
My questions are:
1/ Is Goers a full-time staff member of ABC? If not, what is his ABC status?
2/ What reaction or response, if any, has ABC management made publicly in relation to the sexism in the comment piece by its employee Goers? Ditto, what response internally?
3/ Did Goers ever respond to the request for comment by your reporter Jane Norman?
4/ If so, where do I find that response? If not, given that ABC is an advocate for fully informed reporting, will management compel Goers to respond publicly?
5/ Is it consistent with ABC guidelines for Goers to refer to Queen Elizabeth 11 as “an overdressed old lady?”
6/ Has Goers apologised publicly in any way for his sexist comments?
7/ Is there a double standard at the ABC that sexist attacks on conservative politicians and the Queen are not as serious as equivalent attacks on, say, Penny Wong or Julia Gillard?
With commendable speed, I received a reply within hours from ABC media PR John Woodward, herewith:
Peter Goers’ remarks regarding the appearance of politicians, was published in his regular Adelaide Sunday Mail column under the heading “Bin the pollies’ newsletters along with corflutes” (Sunday Mail, Sunday 26 July, 2020).
As his comments were published in The Sunday Mail, your questions regarding the appropriateness of those remarks should be directed to the publishers, News Corp, and not to the ABC.
As well as being a weekly columnist for The Sunday Mail, Peter Goers also presents the Evenings program on ABC Radio Adelaide. He has not repeated his views expressed in his 26th July Sunday Mail column on ABC Radio. Our guidelines cover what is broadcast on our airwaves and/or published on our digital and social media platforms and therefore are not relevant to this issue.
Requests for comment by Peter Goers received by the ABC on this issue were referred to The Sunday Mail for a response. We are unaware if The Sunday Mail and/or Peter Goers responded to those requests. Again, you will need to follow up that line of enquiry with The Sunday Mail.
This response suggests there’s been a major change of policy by the ABC. It seems that ABC presenters and reporters can now say, write or publish whatever inflammatory or hate speech (against the Right) that they like, whether politically partisan, sexist, racist, non-inclusive or gratuitously offensive to the vulnerable, providing they do not present these views on the ABC or its various sub-platforms.
The ABC has formal guidelines for staff, saying that their on-ABC and off-ABC behaviour should not bring the ABC into disrepute or reflect on its impartiality. But in this case, despite Goers touting his ABC credentials on his hit-piece against Ms Flint, ABC spokesman John Woodward says Goers’ Sunday Mail scribblings are nothing to do with the ABC, and I should take my complaints to the Sunday Mail itself. Indeed, says Mr Woodward, “Our guidelines cover what is broadcast on our airwaves and/or published on our digital and social media platforms and therefore are not relevant to this issue.”
I don’t think so, Mr Woodward. Try this:
External work and Editorial Conflicts
1.4 External activities of individuals undertaking work for the ABC must not undermine the independence and integrity of the ABC’s editorial content… (Would Goers’ love affair with Cuba undermine the ABC’s integrity a bit?)
4.3 Do not state or imply that any perspective is the editorial opinion of the ABC. (Doesn’t the Sunday Mail tagline about Goers’ ABC job also suggest something about ABC narratives?)
Another set of ABC guidelines for staff,
INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY AND RESPONSIBILITY
The trust and respect of the community depend on the ABC’s editorial independence and integrity. Independence and responsibility are inseparable … It is fundamentally important that the ABC’s content is not improperly influenced by political, sectional, commercial or personal interests.”
Would any of Australia’s Coalition voters — roughly 50% at any recent election — trust Goers or the ABC after reading his columns?
Moreover, the ABC editorial Style Guide warns,
Don’t make gratuitous references to a woman’s physical appearance if you wouldn’t do the same for a man. 
The ABC Board is well-stocked with ardent feminists. Chair Ita Buttrose is a founding member and former president of Chief Executive Women. The latest annual report says deputy chair, Dr Kirstin Ferguson, is an ex-director of SheStarts and the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards, and a member of national and international women’s organisations including Chief Executive Women, Women Corporate Directors and the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia. She was the creator of the Our Watch #CelebratingWomen campaign, and is the co-author of Women Kind.
Her board colleague, Donny Walford, is a Founding Member of International Women’s Forum Australia and ex-director of the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry. And so on. I’d love to know these ladies’ views about an ABC staffer trash-talking in the Sunday Mail about a much put-upon female elected to Parliament by the ABC’s public.
What to make of all this? First, Don’t trust Goers. Second: Don’t trust the ABC. And third, when it comes to crusading against sexism, there are no greater hypocrites than the Left’s gender warriors.
As Herald Sun/Sky News commentator Rita Panahi puts it, Leftists “preach women’s rights but then they attack any woman who challenges their warped view of the world.”
Tony Thomas’s new book, Come to think of it – essays to tickle the brain, is available as book ($34.95) or e-book ($14.95) here.
 In his Sunday Mail column Goers regularly extols Communist Cuba, “ I’m still in love with Cuba … the joyously fervent socialist state . Like love, Cuba is more magic than real. Viva, Cuba Libre” (2015). Israel, by contrast, has “perfected apartheid” and is about “Guns and Moses … one long persecution of Palestinians”. According to Goers, “three people were shot by trigger-happy Israeli soldiers in the street while I was there [Jerusalem], including one unarmed child who raised his arms and said ‘Allahu Akbar’ – God is great. Israel’s God is greater. His people are armed.” (2016).
 Ms Flint disses green-woke causes, like “saving” great white sharks and crocodiles, and what she’s called the “modern day scourge of environmental and animal activism”. She’s said, “The most endangered species in South Australian coastal waters are our fishermen.”
 She has set out chapter and verse of the Left’s campaign in her October submission to the Senate inquiry into conduct of the 2019 election, a submission recently released after some redactions of names:
GetUp, the Unions and the Labor Party ran an aggressive, relentless and deeply personal campaign against me. I was harassed, faced vile, misogynistic attacks, and frequently feared for my personal safety … I hope that by recording my experience, no candidate, and particularly no female candidate, ever has to face such an experience again.
 There is lots of other boilerplate, like “Opinion content must be carefully managed and a proper diversity of views made available to our audiences.” The literally iconoclastic Julia Baird and The Drum don’t know about that, or The Drum wouldn’t have banned the Institute of Public Affairs people from its show. [Baird: “The toppling of statues is enriching not erasing history and it has thrilled my heart.”]