Weekly salon 2/3

1. Politics and the mood of the people

Mark David cartoon

To me the Morrison government has brought politics to a new low in Australia. Angela Merkel’s flipping through her briefing notes to see who is PM in Australia this week spoke volumes.

Turnbull lacked authenticity when defending policy on climate change, for example, because he understood the government’s policies were a sham. Morrison understand nothing about the topic, so he can sound genuinely enthusiastic about the latest opportunistic intervention with great photo opportunities, and a policy Turnbull once called a “fig leaf” to cover doing nothing, and fiscally reckless.

Julie Bishop said she could have beaten Bill Shorten in the election if elected leader. Last year she also said that populism’s resurgence was ‘coinciding with a crisis of confidence in democracy’ and voters risk being ‘duped’ by populist political leaders. She also said voters believe MPs are ‘no better than schoolchildren’.

An outfit called JWS Research does a True Issues Survey every three months. Phillip Coorey tells us Voters more upbeat, but they’re not thanking the government:

    Voters are feeling better about their own personal circumstances than they were before Christmas, but this has not translated into a more favourable view of the Morrison government.

    The latest quarterly True Issues survey by JWS Research shows that since November, the cost of living has slipped from first to second as the issue voters feel should be the government’s prime focus.

    But while cost of living is the second-highest issue of concern, it ranks 18th out of 19 in terms of government performance.

    JWS Research director John Scales said the government has not benefited from an uptick in sentiment with people rating its overall performance as lowly now as they did after Malcolm Turnbull was replaced as leader.

    Health, hospitals and ageing has regained top spot as an issue of concern but ranks 18th in terms of government performance.

    Australians’ overall optimism about their own personal situation has rebounded since November 2018. Significantly fewer feel they are headed in the wrong direction (17 per cent down from 23 per cent) and slightly more feel they are now headed in the right direction (33 per cent up from 31 per cent).

However, the government’s overall performance was rated as lowly now as last August after Malcolm Turnbull was replaced as leader.

From the survey itself, here are the prompted issues. People were asked to select the five most important issues the government should focus attention on:

Hospitals, health care and aging came in first at 60, followed closely by Cost of living at 57, with daylight to the third issue, Employment and wages at 40.

This format allows JWS to track issues over time, but I thought it interesting that when people were asked to nominate the most important issues unprompted, this is how it turned out:

Healthcare and ageing, then Immigration and border security and then Environment are Australians’ top-of-mind concerns.

The survey concludes that:

    The most top-of-mind concerns for Australians rank among this Government’s worst performing areas…

2. The campaigner behind Phelps, Banks and Steggall

If you can get into The Saturday Paper, Karen Middleton has an intriguing article on Damien Hodgkinson, former director of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, who helped Kerryn Phelps get elected (for a price), is helping her again this time, plus six other lower house independents and one senator.

    Hodgkinson, a 50-year-old consultant, runs a change management company, DEM Asia, and at last count was working with eight independent candidates – seven for the house of representatives and one for the senate – setting up their campaign infrastructure, including donor and volunteer databases, and advising on logistics, administration and other back-of-house necessities.

Hodgkinson estimates an incumbent independent MP will need to find about $150,000, and a whole lot of volunteer help, for a re-election campaign. New independent candidates will need around $250,000.

That includes his fee of $30,000, but does not include political advice. You can purchase that separately from others.

There is a market for just about everything these days.

3. Trialling universal basic income

Will people work if they are given a universal basic income (UBI), or will they just sit about, as these people are outside the cathedral in Helsinki?

The Finland government has just completed a two-year trial to test the concept. 2000 unemployed people between the age of 25 and 58 were randomly chosen across the country and given a basic income of €560 a month, which they would continue receiving whether they got a job or not. A control group of 5000 unemployed people were subject to the normal conditions of payments being reduced when they worked.

The hours worked were about the same, so there was no disincentive to work. On other counts, the World Economic Forum report gives the graphs shown below.

The test group had a somewhat better feeling of financial wellbeing:

Participants were asked, to what degree do you feel stress?

This was their self-perceived assessment of health:

So there were modest benefits, according to Luke Martinelli of University of Bath. He doesn’t think the results will convince critics of the scheme.

Clearly it would be good to trial UBI given to everyone within a region. Also in this survey the low numbers did not allow any regional differences to be observed.

MIT says only the data from 2017 was analysed. We’ll have to wait until next year for the full report.

4. Unpicking sex discrimination embodied in US law

On Saturday my wife and I went to see On the Basis of Sex, a film about current 85 year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a US Supreme Court judge who refuses to resign while Trump is president.

When she was a young lawyer in the 1960s and 1970s there were over 1000 laws that discriminated on the basis of gender on the US statute books. The film is on Bader Ginsburg’s legal education, her early career (she was a top student, but was rejected for a dozen jobs, then finally because the wives of the male lawyers in the firm might be jealous) and her first big case where a male caregiver to his old mother was discriminated in law because he was both male and unmarried. However, clearly the outcome of his case would set a precedent for all the laws discriminating against women.

The conservative position was that women occupied a role that was deemed natural in the scheme of things, essentially the way God designed the world. Her argument was that society had moved on and that the law must follow, as it simply reflected the social values of the time.

The film was interesting and surprisingly engaging as a story. The climactic court scene was in fact very moving. I’d give it 4 stars out of 5. However, I can see why Wendy Ide only gave it 2:

    A now revered figure, Ginsburg evokes elegance and restraint, both in the calm precision of her statements and in her personal style. More significant is the legacy of her work, chipping tirelessly away against gender inequality. Bader Ginsburg is, in the most tasteful way possible, a revolutionary figure. But rather than attempt to convey all or, indeed, any of this in the film’s craft, Leder instead opts for lurching melodrama. This brilliant original thinker is crowbarred into a stolidly conventional “triumph against the odds” narrative. It’s not an entirely terrible film. It’s just not the film that RBG deserves.

I can see why her colleague Benjamin Lee at The Guardian said the film was all but ruined by the casting of Felicity Jones as the female lead, but still gave it 4 stars:

    What really hampers proceedings, however, is Leder’s choice of lead. It’s such a disappointment that the film’s weakest link is arguably its most important. Struggling with an accent she never manages to nail, Jones fails to bring real command to a role that so desperately needs it. There’s energy but no depth.

    It’s not that Jones is necessarily bad; she’s just incredibly miscast, never once justifying why she was picked for a role that was surely in demand.

The other characters, superbly played, rally around her, but:

    the majority of the film relies on Jones and it’s a weight that she just can’t carry.

Her acting was not bad, indeed good, but it did not convey the “elegance and restraint, both in the calm precision of her statements and in her personal style” Ide suggests was needed.

The Independent does a review roundup – ‘Well-intentioned but flawed’.

I’d say definitely go and see it, it is an important story and an enjoyable film.

Meanwhile this review of Jane Sherron de Hart’s biography will tell you about Bader Ginsburg’s life and work, and Daniel Hemel tells us What Happens if Ruth Bader Ginsburg Remains Too Sick to Work?

Nothing, apparently. She remains a Supreme Court judge while she is alive. If she wants to, and she’s aiming for the next five years.

77 thoughts on “Weekly salon 2/3”

  1. I’m still hoping to have another crack at Pell, but might leave it until after Four Corners.

    Other than that I’ve been looking at ScoMo’s opportunistic figleaf for a climate policy, so that would be second cab off the rank.

  2. Hang on, the same source says Australia’s average monthly income is $4,900.
    So our Dole is better than 1/4 of the average monthly income.

    We’re more generous to our unemployed if my math is good ( highly unlikely as we may see below … )

    Pick ya act up Finland, have you no empathy!!???!

  3. No need to “have another crack at Pell” Brian.
    I reckon Four Corners are likely to lay into him with baseball bats.

    Arithmetic is an Adornment of a Gentleman, you do know that don’t you, J. Jumpy, Esq.?

  4. highly unlikely as we may see below

    One quarter of $4900 is $1225.
    $1100 is less than $1225.
    Therefore our Dole is not “better than 1/4 of the average monthly income.”
    And UBI is not the same as Unemployment Benefits.

  5. The UBI was at the lowest end of welfare paid in Finland. I gather there existed extra entitlements that people could apply for, so I think you make comarison’s at your peril.

  6. There’s the problem word again, “ entitlements “

    Therefore our Dole is not “better than 1/4 of the average monthly income.”

    But better than 1/6th right ?
    Plus rent assistance and health care card and transportation subsidies and… well…. you fill the rest out, I’m sure you know better than I.

  7. Plus rent assistance and health care card and transportation subsidies and… well…. you fill the rest out, I’m sure you know better than I.

    You’d rather step over their bodies in the street?

  8. The main article says,

    The experiment began in December 2016. Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, randomly selected 2000 people aged between 25 and 58 from across the country who were on unemployment benefits.

    It then replaced those people’s benefits with a guaranteed payment of €560 a month. They would continue receiving the payments whether they got a job or not.

    ( my bold )

  9. In fact, I’m for a Finland style UBI, the taxpayers will be screwed by a lot less.

  10. You’d rather step over their bodies in the street?

    Haha, like that’s the only two paths.

  11. Haha, like that’s the only two paths.

    Err, yes. We either accept that everybody is entitled to the basic necessities (a civil society) or we leave everybody to fend for themselves (Randian libertarianism).
    We know which path you prefer. Please don’t bore us with another sermon.

  12. Jumpy and zoot: Trying to compare Finland (civilized) with Australia (still crippled by the aftermath of “economic rationalism”) is like comparing oranges and lemons.

    That said, I reckon unemployed Finns on a 600 Euro UBI would be far better off – and stand a far better chance of becoming re-employed – than their counterparts in Australia.

    UBI would be a very good idea in Australia but only after the many social injustices and barriers to honest work in Australia were abolished – but since Australia’s moribund elite are utterly dependent upon these injustices and barriers to stay in power, the chances of them ever being abolished are next to zilch – and that means we will never ever have UBI. So dream on ….

  13. The aus newstart allownace contains a whole raft of disincentives to work in addition to a raft of measures that allow people to be nasty to the unemployed.
    For example, the last time I looked there is a point where the system claws back 60% of earnings. If that was a tax on the rich they would be yelling lack of incentives….
    A UBI solves a lot of these problems but, it would reuyire serious tax increases.
    Will write a post on the subject when we have finished moving house.

  14. Good luck with the move, John, and look forward to the post.

    Upthread zoot asks:

    You’d rather step over their bodies in the street?

    When my daughter first went overseas some years ago she worked for a while in a London pub. She used to go out after work at night to ring me from a public phone booth, give me the number, then I’d ring her back. On the way she literally had to step over bodies on the street.

  15. I suppose people know that in return for the privilege of Newstart you have to submit on average on job application for every working day. And attend compulsory interviews at Centrelink.

    It’s quite a job in itself, is stressful and in some circumstances actually inhibits the process of searching for work.

  16. Stumbled across this analysis of the benefits of raising Newstart by $75 a week.
    I won’t pretend to have read it properly (the data I was looking for is encapsulated in Chart 1.2) and Brian may have already linked to it in a previous post. My apologies if that is the case.

  17. Zoot, I haven’t, and sadly don’t have time to look into it in detail now. However, Deloitte Access are not raving socialists, and if they think $75 is warranted, then it probably is, and more.

    I did hear on the radio one mob, did not catch their name, suggest $90.

    Labor have been tactically smart in saying that in government they will have an inquiry before they do something about it. In other words they don’t want to be an easy target for the LNP and libertarian types to dump on.

    There does need to be some public discourse and public re-education on the matter.

  18. Hey, while we’re throwing around arbitrary numbers, how about raising it to $2,000 per week, imagine the social and economic boom Australia would experience.
    Also free everything, those rich arseholes can pay because they were lucky.

  19. Why stop at $2,000 per week?
    If you’re going to make baseless, over the top comments you might as well raise it to $1,000,000 per week. Your comment would be no less nonsensical.

  20. Exactly, why $75 would de an economic benefit as opposed to any other random amount.

    And you may be correct in my comment being nonsensical, to some. But you seconded the point inadvertently.

    No, I think the $75 figure was more than likely plucked out someone’s arse on the grounds it’s more likely to be incrementally politically safe yet bold, depending on focus group research.

  21. No, I think the $75 figure was more than likely plucked out someone’s arse on the grounds it’s more likely to be incrementally politically safe yet bold, depending on focus group research.

    I doubt it was plucked out of anybody’s arse. It was certainly chosen as a figure which won’t frighten the horses.
    I’m sure the rationale is explained in the report somewhere. If you’re serious (and not just looking for a stoush) you should take it up with Access Economics, not some obscure commenter on an obscure blog.

  22. It was ACOSS that settled on the $75, so you’d have to ask them, but my bet is that theyt know there would be benefits, and it’s near the upper limit of what could be expected to fly, given politics and social attitudes. The report finds improvements in health, less crime, so what’s not to like? In addition:

    Nations with greater levels of inequality tend to have lower economic growth over time (in the language used in this report, failures on fairness can limit success on prosperity –see Chart 2.12above); while The worse is inequality in a nation, then the shorter are its spells of high economic growth.

    Meanwhile, I’m going to watch what 4 Corners has to say about comrade Pell.

  23. …and it’s near the upper limit of what could be expected to fly, given politics and social attitudes.

    Yep, lots of votes there.
    Political pragmatism trumps rational economics every time.

  24. Yep, lots of votes there.

    The report was commissioned by ACOSS, which is not a political party.
    The little I have read of it demonstrates that the economy would benefit from lifting the level of entitlements like the dole. The proposition is quite rational.

  25. Just a little a aspect of what Brian quoted from the report: “improvements in health, less crime”.

    Note that both of these ultimately involve less tax money used for medical, hospital, police and jail services.

    And spending of income by lower income persons circulates through the economic system. As does your spending and mine…


  26. And without putting a financial gloss on it: better health and less crime are good in themselves.

  27. And in other news, reports say that unsuccessful former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will not seek nomination for the 2020 election.

    She joins Mr Al Gore and a host of living, defeated candidates in deciding not to put the electors through all of that, again.

    Well decided, Ms Clinton.
    Farewell and best wishes.

    (Apparently her main opponent in 2016 hopes to run again.)

  28. I think, at this stage in the Dem primary race, Kamala Harris is the intersectional front runner and kind of sane. Heaps wrong on a multitude if issues but still sane.
    But the far left insane Dems will destroy her with all sorts smear because she’s not far left insane.

    Interesting little thing I found ( from The Hill so verification necessary) is that The Don and Ivanka donated multiple times to her Senate election campaigns.

    There are other scurrilous accusations about other step she’s taken to rise up but I’m too much of a Gentleman to discuss that publicly.

  29. Donald was quite the Democrat donor, I’ve heard. Was it his NY milieu, or was he one of those guys who donate to both Republicans and Democrats?

    Or, heaven forbid, did he donate only to individuals he thought should be in Congress, regardless of Party affiliation?

    Over to you, Jumpy.

  30. Mr A, I’m stupid, you’re going to have to phrase questions in a way I can understand if you really want an answer.

    Those are too messy for me.

  31. 1. Was Mr Trump a person who was known to donate to both major Parties (like some Australian corporations donate to both Liberal and Labor Parties)?


    2. Has Mr Trump explained to some journalist, that his donation(s) was/were to individual candidate(s) who he backed, and he was not concerned which Party they were endorsed by?

    Here, an equivalent might be a donor who supported only female candidates, and would support them no matter which Parties they stood on behalf of. Or a donor who would support only ex-labourers, or support only candidates they had heard speaking in public.

    I hope those questions are clearer.
    Please excuse the lengthy explanations.

  32. A spokesman for the Harris campaign told the Bee that Harris donated the $6,000 she received from President Trump to a nonprofit that advocates for the rights of Central Americans.

    ( from The Hill so verification necessary)

  33. Mr A
    1) I don’t know the Rep/Dem donation ratio of the Trumps, perhaps that’s out there somewhere.
    2) I’m not up with the almost incoherent babble that Trump says about anything, the media or otherwise.

    I’ve always focused on what folk do rather than say.

    Oh, you’re excused for sure. I just struggle with linguistic interpretive dance from those smarter than I.
    All good.

  34. Jumpy old bean, I thought you might have known about what he actually did, in the way of donations.

    Do they have some type of “political donation disclosure” laws over there? Frankly, I’m not much interested in his donations. He self-identified as a real estate entrepreneur.

    My questions to you were in search of facts, not intended to set the scene for stoush (Spellcock wanted ‘Stosur’ in place of ‘stoush’ – are there no limits to its random stupidity?).

    I will concede your point that Mr Trump’s utterances seem to vary widely, from day to day; to a greater extent than most other humans achieve.

  35. What is certain is that Trump changes from time to time, sometimes multiple times before breakfast, as the situation demands in terms of his own interests. He’s a happy pic from earlier days:

  36. You’re right, it could be said.
    It would be untrue, but I doubt that would stop you saying it.

  37. I never said you called me a liar zoot, did I ?
    Looking into your inability to follow a simple discussion is probably a more optimal use of your time.

    Anyway, I’ve fed your trolling enough for one day, time to move on to serious folk if they wish.

    Good day.

  38. Brian

    As it happens, we watched a superb documentary about Justice Ginsburg last night, on SBS I think.

    Because it included audio of bits of cases she argued before the Supreme Court, excerpts of prepared speeches, interviews with her after she joined the bench, quips from her husband, etc., we got to know her crisp, elegant, forceful English. For a barrister, she is a wonderful prose stylist. Not a word too many.

    I recommend the doco.
    Having seen it, no need to go to the movie.

    (And I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t heard of her.)

  39. Ambi, I hadn’t heard of her either a week ago.

    The doco, simply named RBG, was on our ABC. I’d read about it when I was reading up on the other film. It may be in iview for a while.

    In terms of information, the doco was way better than the movie. Seems the main legal case in the movie was invented. It was similar to one of her real cases.

    It also confirmed the judgement about the miscasting of Felicity Jones. Also you get a lot more emotion in the movie, and American tropes like, if you want anything bad enough you can get it. And it’s good to be angry etc etc.

  40. No need whatsoever to raise Newstart by even one cent.

    Instead, remove all those stupid disincentives to find – ot to provide!! – genuine work.

    Pestering busy potential employers with mountains of paperwork through that compulsory job application nonsense was undoubtedly dreamed up by graduates of the Leonid Brezhnev Academy of Administrative Excellence; it was too silly to have made it into a “Yes, Minister” script. They should have sub-contracted the task of designing a system to ensure the unemployed were striving to seek work to a couple of ten-year-olds,; they would have made a far better job of it.

    We’ve all heard, ad nauseum, about “dole bludgers” and similar mythical beasts – yet nobody has bothered to mention Fussy Employers: those pampered swillers of the taxpayers’ dollars. Crack down hard on their whims-and-fancies and the unemployment rate would crash overnight – cutting out their tax concessions would do for a warning shot before launching a campaign against these parasites.; besides, taking their lollies away would pay for all the Newstart you cared to have.

  41. Mr B. Joyce says he’d like his old job back.

    Mr M. Turnbull says one of his former backbenchers is innumerate.

    Mr A. Abbott says his backflip on Paris is partly because “we have a new Prime Minister”.

    Last night Peta Credlin was still hot under the collar about Paris; did Tony forget to send her the memo?

    Not my circus, not my monkeys.

  42. G’day Brian. Did you happen to send out an email about registering for Climate Plus.? I haven’t opened the email yet – just it case it came from our inventive chums in west Africa or in the former Soviet bloc.

  43. G’day Brian. Did you happen to send out an email about registering for Climate Plus.?

    Absolutely not, Graham, The email registration function is broken. I’ve long asked to get Viv to fix it, but she’s up to her eyeballs in commitments.

    I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.

  44. I wonder who got the email, and if it was people who comment here, how they got the information. Can’t be good.

  45. Just looked back to Thursday in my Emails and nothing there from Climate Plus or yourself Brian.

    Just so you know.

    But I don’t use my actual name either, maybe GM or JD got one.

  46. Thanks Brian and Jumpy. Thought so, Excuse me while I hop over and hit Delete on my emails. The problem might be at my end; had a chatty email a couple of weeks ago making reference to people & places known to me (and to a few of my contacts) but I didn’t recognize the signature. If the two are linked, that would narrow the field of suspects right down – and that would lead to the inconvenience of a new email address:; “watch this space”. Cheers.

  47. John, I have to log in about once a day, I think.

    Graham, if you do change your address the first comment will land in the moderation bin. Once I release it you should be OK

  48. Concerning the ABC and particularly ABC Radio, an extract from Jonathon Holmes’s new book On Aunty appears in the Guardian online. He claims there is nothing for “listeners on the right” on the public broadcaster.

    I agree.
    And that’s anywhere from 35% to 50% of the public missing out, depending how you count.

    A reprehensible circumstance?

  49. Having read the extract I don’t think I’ll bother with Holmes’ book.
    Apart from casting RN as the whole of the ABC (last I looked it had around 2% audience share), his analysis suggests we could silence the right whingers by giving Amanda Vanstone and Tom Switzer the same combined air time as Phillip Adams. Simplistic and lazy, it ignores the way the Australian sets Radio National’s daily agenda and the queue of IPA interviewees giving their “objective” opinions.
    If the ABC offers nothing to people on the right (a BS argument if ever I heard one) let’s set up a third network just for them.

  50. Zoot (Re: MARCH 11, 2019 AT 1:35 PM)

    If the ABC offers nothing to people on the right (a BS argument if ever I heard one) let’s set up a third network just for them.

    Right whingers already have:
    Murdoch entities: The Australian, Telegraph, etc.
    Fox News (“after dark”)
    Macquarie Radio Network: 2GB, etc.

    Why have more?

  51. The national broadcaster is not simply one outlet amongst many. It’s funded by the Federal Govt.

    I won’t buy Mr Holmes’s book either, but his views are based in actual ABC experience, I reckon.

  52. Why have more?

    Because for these people too much propaganda is never enough!
    /sark 🙂

  53. Meanwhile over in the Country Party Nationals, where they prefer their men decent and women farmers are having more to say, it’s getting a bit willing.

    Mr McCormack has declared that he “knows what it takes to have a successful marriage.”

    ??? Why would he say that???


  54. The national broadcaster is not simply one outlet amongst many. It’s funded by the Federal Govt.

    I would hope one of the functions of public broadcasting is to provide balance to the lowest common denominator pap that is commercial broadcasting.
    I avoid like the plague “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of My Kitchen Makeover Queer Eye for the Big Brother Rules”, but every time I shop I help pay for it. These days I rarely listen to RN (my only real exposure to the ABC) but I don’t begrudge my contribution to the whole ABC/SBS edifice.
    And whats this crap about “nothing for people on the right”? Don’t they garden – Gardening Australia? Are they impervious to quality drama – last night my wife watched Vera? Is Four Corners hopelessly captured by the trotskyites?
    Harrumph! Bah humbug!

  55. Mr A, both you and Jonathan Holmes are correct.
    The ABC is blatantly left wing ( from everyone’s perspective except the most far left extremist )

    I keep tuning in to hear this conga line of IPA talking heads but unfortunately I must be missing them all.
    I remember a couple of opinion pieces from Cris Berg a few years ago I must admit.

    I get a lot of CNN talking heads talk about Trump though, and the odd MSNBC as well.

    If the subject turns to Brexit we get BBC that are rabidly opposed to it. Before, during and to this day.

    I recon either balance it, make it user pay or shut it down, we’ve got enough left wing privately own media outlets, we don’t need a taxpayer funded one.

  56. Brian
    I know you trade stock, an area I know sfa about, also what areas of the market you dabble so take this for what it’s worth.

    I’m very familiar with a large number of folk in the furniture/electrical retail space.
    If I had JB hi-fi I’d get rid of them. The corporate governances, sales systems and staffing system changes to their acquired Good Guys franchises are terrible.

    Harvey Norman are capitalising and should continue to do so as Good Guys goes down the gurgler.

    Just an idea.

    ( not a financial advisor, invest at your own risk 😉 )

  57. Jumpy, always happy to get more information. I’ve avoided the companies you mention.

    However, I don’t “trade”. Trading and investment are very different approaches. In trading you are concerned with price movement. In investment you are concerned with the fundamentals of the company, its prospects in its trading environment, its exposure to risk etc.

    Neither is “dabbling”. That’s where uninformed people generally lose money. In trading you have to have a formal strategy, be very disciplined and unemotional. Research shows (last time I looked) that 1 in 50 who try are successful.

  58. zoot and Jumpy:
    The Evil Right and the Useless Left – both thoroughly despised, with good reason, by a lot of ordinary Australians – have far too much to say on the ABC. That’s why I listen mainly to ABC Classical FM (which, surprisingly, comes in loud-and-clear in this part of The Other Australia). I also listen to Bad Music AM, also called ABC Local Radio, mainly for regional news and weather reports. Commercial and religious broadcasting here is inferior to broadcasting in a Communist dictatorship, so I avoid it like the plague. Since the Ministry Of Truth has seized its monopoly on newspapers, the actual news content (as opposed to advertorials and blatant private-sector propaganda) has fallen to a few dozen column-centimetres per issue, I have just about given up on them. The usual social media platforms are excellent sources of fake news, urban myths, wild rumours and thinly-disguised advertising – none of which I need – so I’ve given them the flick too.

    So where do I get my news and views? Apart from those broadcasts I’ve mentioned and from a very few distinctly reliable websites such as this; for the rest, I depend on word-of-mouth and travellers’ tales ; that’s a bit 17th Century, but it works for me. 🙂

  59. The ABC is blatantly left wing ( from everyone’s perspective except the most far left extremist )

    Not according to the surveys (unless you are particularly mathematically challenged).

  60. Yes JD, and their regional radio network is essential during times of extremes – bush fires, cyclones, floods, coups de tat etc

  61. Oh no, oh dear…..

    Are we threatened by tat now?

    Fomenting coups?!!

    Heaven forfend {swoon}

  62. Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to mislead you. Yes, sometimes I do switch on to ABC-RN regular programs then switch off the radio when I’ve finished listen to them.

  63. When our radio’s on, it’s usually RN or local ABC, sometimes
    ABC FM, or ABC News Radio. On telly, wider-ranging. But for news and current matters, basically ABC/SBS.

    So biases annoy.
    (Not claiming that biases on other stations/channels are non-existent; I accept that the biases there are blatant and pervasive.*)

    ABC: “quite good, but could do much better.
    6/10, see me at morning recess.”
    Schoolmaster Pedant


    * an anecdote: two decades or so ago, SBS TV seemed to have an obsession with broadcasting documentaries about the Nazi period in Europe. A German visitor said he found it fascinating: “I’m learning so much. We hardly ever see this stuff back in (West) Germany.” AFAIK their big de-Nazification drive would have been in the late 40s and 50s. He may have been too young to have experienced that.

    An example of bias: but I’m not arguing that Australians don’t need to know of the horrors WW2 was partly fought to oppose.

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