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Brisbane's local ABC radio fails to hold Anna Bligh to account over privatisation

Brisbane's local ABC radio morning presenter Madonna King failed to use knowledge that she had in her hands that would have demolished Queensland Premier Bligh's excuse for not raising the issue of privatisation during the recent state elections. When I tried to phone the ABC to put this knowledge directly to the Premier, I was cut off.

See also: ABC's response in "ABC dismisses complaint claiming privatisation not 'newsworthy' in 2009 Queensland elections" of 10 Jun 09, "Brisbane ABC suppresses alternative candidates in state elections despite listener dismay with major parties" of 30 Apr 09, "Queensland Government has no mandate to privatise" of 27 May 09.

On the morning of Wednesday 28 May I heard Madonna King interviewing Queensland Premier Anna Bligh over her suddenly announced plans to privatise Queensland's publicly owned electricity generators, ports, railways and other assets.

When Madonna King asked Anna Bligh why she had not discussed her plans to privatise during the recent elections, the Premier claimed that the issue had not occurred to her.

For the Premier to have claimed that such a critical issue as privatisation would not have entered her head during the course of the election campaign would have truly been stretching he credulity of the ABC's listeners.

Almost certainly the real reason for her omission was that she knew that privatisation was overwhelmingly opposed by the Queensland public as even the editorial of Tuesday 26 May in the virulently pro-privatisation Courier Mail acknowledged:

"Predictably, (Premier Bligh and Treasurer Fraser) made no mention of this during the recent election campaign. This means they have either just come up with this idea in the face of worse-than-expected revenue figures, or, as is equally possible, they decided to wait until they were re-elected before unveiling a strategy that, if carried out, will almost certainly result in job losses."

In fact. Madonna King knew perfectly well that I, as a candidate, had attempted many times during the course of the election campaign to get both Anna Bligh and Andrew Fraser to come clean with the Queensland electorate regarding privatisation during the course of the campaign. Indeed, only the previous day I had sent her a copy of a letter I had sent to the Courier Mail. In that letter, I wrote:

"I stood as an independent candidate against my local member and State Treasurer precisely because I believed that the electors of Queensland were entitled to express their opposition to privatisation at the ballot box.

"In fact, even before the elections were announced, I sent an e-mail on 17 February to both the Premier and Treasurer asking that any planned privatisations be put to the public at forthcoming elections. My letter was ignored.

"My repeated challenges to Anna Bligh, Andrew Fraser as well as Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg to defend privatisation in a public debate during the subsequent campaign were also ignored."

So, there could have been no possible excuse whatsoever for Premier Bligh not to have not mentioned the issue of privatisation during the elections, but in spite of having been repeatedly supplied this knowledge by me, Madonna King failed to put it to the Premier.

I attempted to phone the talkback line on 1300 22 612 in order to put this to the Premier.

When I phoned, I told them that I wanted to ask the Premier why my letter of 17 February was ignored and put to her that she therefore had no mandate to privatise.

I was thanked for my call, but after a few seconds, I was cut off.

I tried to dial again but found the lines engaged.

As I had already been treated poorly by the ABC during the course of the recent election campaign, it seemed likely to me that I had been deliberately cut off. So, during the day, I attempted to ring the ABC in order to establish whether or not this was the case. I left a message asking that I be called back, but was not contacted. I then posted the following letter to the ABC's feedback page:

"Hi,

"I'm trying to ascertain whether or not I was deliberately cut off, when I phoned in this morning to put a question to Premier Anna Bligh on the issue of privatisation.

"I wanted to ask her why she ignored my e-mail which asked her, prior to her calling the election, if she would inform Queenslanders of any plans to privatise any more of their assets during the election campaign.

"As Ms Bligh was trying to claim that the issue of privatisation had never occurred to her during the course of the campaign, I thought that this would be of utmost interest to your listeners.

"However, shortly after I was thanked for my call, I was cut off.

"I need to know whether or not this was deliberately done.

"So could someone please call me on ... so that I can know, from now on, whether or not I am welcome to express my views on Brisbane ABC local radio, in particular, Madonna Kings's Morning Show?

"I have already left a message to be called back and have tried unsuccessfully to dial 130022612 in order to be able to discuss this.

"Thank you.

"Yours sincerely,

"James Sinnamon

"Independent pro-democracy candidate
Mount Coot-tha electorate
Queensland State elections, March 2009
http://candobetter.org/QldElections"

See also: ABC's response in "ABC dismisses complaint claiming privatisation not 'newsworthy' in 2009 Queensland elections" of 10 Jun 09, "Brisbane ABC suppresses alternative candidates in state elections despite listener dismay with major parties" of 30 Apr 09, "Queensland Government has no mandate to privatise" of 27 May 09.

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Comments

The following comment was posted to a Larvatus Prodeo discussion on the ABC, "Balance! I’ll give you balance…". It is currently awaiting moderation.

In reality, the ABC has been well to the right of most public opinion for decades, certainly in regards to questions of privatisation, and economic deregulation.

What has concealed this and allowed some to depict the ABC as being biased to the left is that state and federal labor governments have adopted whole scale the economic neo-liberal dogma (which is, in reality, a justification for the looting of our economies by corporate thieves).

From the 1980's until about 1996, Pru Goward blatantly abused her position as journalist including on the "The 7.30 Report" to peddle her extreme economic neo-liberal anti-union views and to promote the career of John Howard.

In the early noughties the ABC blatantly pushed privatisation. As an example, in 2003 the ABC Radio National's Morning Show presenter Vivian Schenker, even as the Estens Review was supposedly considering the overwhelmingly anti-privatisation submissions and, form that supposedly, deciding the fate of Telstra, told her audience that the only think left to decide was haw the proceeds of privatisation were to be divided up.

For years, the ABC has abysmally failed to hold either Labor or Liberal Governments to account. Kerry O'Brien left Howard almost completely off the hook in one critical interview with him prior to the start of the Invasion of Iraq in 2003 and idiotically referred to the war as 'ethical' whilst assuring John Howard that no irony was intended. I complained of this in a letter that was published in the Canberra Times.

More recently, Brisbane's ABC has given Premier Anna Bligh an astonishingly easy ride during the course of the recent rigged state elections and since then when she has attempted to foist the policy of "Shock Doctrine" style privatisation and public sector cutbacks on the Queensland public.

I have written of this in the articles "Brisbane ABC suppresses alternative candidates in state elections despite listener dismay with major parties" of 30 Apr 09 and "Brisbane's local ABC radio fails to hold Anna Bligh to account over privatisation" of 28 May 09. I have invited ABC journalists to comment on my articles, but none have taken up my offer. Anyone who wants to defend the ABC, here or there, is most welcome to do so.