North Queensland Senator and failed frontbencher Ian Macdonald — he’s the guy who wore a high-vis vest in the Senate to demonstrate his love of fossil fuels — found himself in hot water yesterday afternoon after he tried to exploit the cuts announced by the ABC. At 6pm yesterday he released a media statement getting stuck into the national broadcaster. Macdonald’s office wrote:

“The Government’s sensible and long-overdue reduction in funding for the ABC has attracted widespread support. Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald has welcomed the cuts but has attacked the vicious and selfish way that the ABC has diverted the fall-out onto regional communities. Jobs losses [sic] in Rockhampton and other regional centres are a disgrace.”

On first glance, nothing problematic there. Except that it was less than four hours since Macdonald’s Senate leader, Eric Abetz, in one of those remarkable reality-defying statements that this post-modern government appears to specialise in, told question time “nobody has lost their job” at the ABC.

So who was right — Abetz or Macdonald?

Twenty-three minutes later, Macdonald’s office issued a “correction” to the media release with a crucial change: “‘Cut backs in Gladstone and other regional centres are a disgrace’, said the Senator.”

Extraordinary act of bastardry by the ABC, isn’t it — to cut services when no one has lost their job …

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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