Insights from Quadrant

Red Sales
of the Shun Set

Every now and then, the ambient bias of the ABC in seeing the greenish Left as the default position of a just and moral society is made explicit in a few unguarded words. Such was the case on Monday’s 7.30, when compere Leigh Sales quizzed Prime Minister Scott Morrison about this, that and many other things. Seasoned ABC viewers need not have been blessed with clairvoyance to know the matter of preferences would arise, as Labor’s Bill Shorten has made much of the Liberals’ preferencing of Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party and the Nationals’ pact with One Nation.

How could the ABC’s flagship current affairs programme resist the instinct to further broadcast Labor’s talking points and scorn the positions of its opponents? Their exchange (with emphasis added):

LEIGH SALES: The Liberal Party has done a preference deal with Clive Palmer. Does it tell voters something about Coalition principles that you’ll do deals with Pauline Hanson or Clive Palmer if it helps you stay in power? … But my point is, what does it say about your principles if you’re prepared to do deals with those kinds of people to stay in power?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, it says that do I think the United Australia Party is a bigger risk to the Australian economy and jobs and Australia’s future than the Labor Party and the Greens? No, I don’t think they’re a bigger risk. I think Bill Shorten and the Greens are a much greater risk to people’s jobs and the economic security and national security of this country than the alternative.

LEIGH SALES: But to be fair, if you look at Bill Shorten’s policies or Richard Di Natale’s policies, whether you agree with them or not, they are at least, for example, based in science, based in evidence. They’re not racists; they’re not constantly dropping candidates in disgrace for offensive statements…

SCOTT MORRISON: Richard Di Natale thinks it’s okay for people to invade farms, so I don’t think that’s terribly sensible. Richard Di Natale supports death taxes. I don’t think that’s particularly sensible. Richard Di Natale wants 100 per cent renewable target, which will basically crash our economy. I don’t think that’s sensible at all.

LEIGH SALES: If Coalition preferences help Clive Palmer or One Nation MPs into the Senate, how will that be a good thing for Australia?

SCOTT MORRISON: We’re advocating — again, you’ve got to number all the spots on the ticket, and we’re advocating a vote for the Liberals and Nationals. And after that, people will ultimately make up their mind where they put their preferences.

Bias, what? And somewhat behind the news as well when it comes to Labor candidates getting the boot. As Ms Sales’ very own ABC reported just days earlier:

Wayne Kurnorth resigned after it was revealed he had shared an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and posted an Islamic State-themed meme online.

As Leigh Sales’ very own ABC on April 13 also reported:

Labor’s candidate for the West Australian seat of Curtin, Melissa Parke, has pulled out of the contest after reports she told a public meeting last month that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians was “worse than the South African system of apartheid”.

And as Leigh Sales’ very own ABC also reported:

Labor’s candidate for the seat of Melbourne, Luke Creasey, has withdrawn after social media posts came to light that showed him engaging in inappropriate jokes about rape, lesbians and Catholics.

That last item went up on the ABC website a mere 72 hours before Ms Sales asserted “Labor isn’t constantly dropping candidates in disgrace.”

Those with nothing better to do — and no expectation of satisfaction — might wish to bring the Sales-Morrison interview to the attention of the ABC’s complaint department. After rejection there, ACMA might be disposed to investigate, as it did when Andrew Probyn used the national broadcaster’s pulpit to lambast Tony Abbott.

— roger franklin

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