Crikey readers are expecting big things from Bill Shorten right now, including considerable support for the ABC in tonight’s budget reply. Will he stand up against the government’s open attacks? Meanwhile, what will his response be to the citizenship crisis that’s rearing its head once again? Readers are undecided where to place blame on that one.


On cuts to the ABC

Tracey Ellery writes: The fact that this surprises anyone is worrying. No one has put enough intellectual work into challenging the notion of competitive neutrality in the public broadcasting space, or any public space really. It might seem like a trivial sideshow to many people passionate about the survival of the ABC, but it’s the main game.

You have an ex-Murdoch CEO who obviously knows how to play that game on both sides of the fence, but clearly is somehow now losing the battle. Not such a surprise at all I would think. More concerning is that the only independent source of news that all Australians have free and equal access to will now be totally hamstrung in taking on the issue.

Would love to be a fly in the room when the ABC editorial edicts are being formed about how to cover the ABC budget cuts. Lots of handwringing going on probably, but it will also be testament to whether they have the courage to do so, and there we will find proof in the pudding.

Richard Slade writes: If there are any genuine “liberals” left in the Liberal Party, they need to understand that they have lost control of what is now an increasingly nasty, hard right, conservative party. If they are honest, they should be quitting the nasty party and finding a new place to stand and put their point of view.

After all, the ABC is a service that has long been crucial to the very people who were so long the heart of the Liberal and Country Parties, as they once operated — now, those parties have been gutted by right wing zealots, who mean to gut communities and society in favour of warped ideology that only serves corporate power.

Tom Yeats writes: Once again this budget highlights the economic ineptitude of the Turnbull government. All of the defunding of services remain intact. Traditionally Coalition governments use this mechanism as a smokescreen for privatisation: “Look, it doesn’t work because we defunded it, but the real reason is because it is run by government, so we have to sell it to our mates at fire-sale prices to make it work better”.

Long-term flattening of the progressive tax margins is an unfair, regressive move, setting society up for a future of extreme inequality — indeed Kafkaesque/Orwellian dystopia. 

Finally, the immediate low income tax cut of $10/week is such a laughable attempt to buy votes in the next federal election, I am rendered speechless. Reading between the lines, one could think it indicates triumphal braggadocio: “we have now reduced you to such a state of penury that a measly $10/ week gift will convince you of our largesse”.

Kenneth Piaggo writes: Interesting! I suppose it is understandable. If you systematically make it harder and harder for the voters to be factually informed it does make it easier for the ruling government party to treat them “like mushrooms”, especially in the lead-up to an election. Now, all they have to do is neuter Get Up!

Kohler writes: While I disagree with the cuts, to say [the ABC] is impartial is a lie. It leans further and further left ever year, speaking more for the idealists and less for the pragmatists. I say this as someone who thinks we must elect Labour at the next election. The ABC just doesn’t do a good enough job of being impartial.

Bref writes: I’ll be disappointed if I don’t see a significant pro-ABC package from Labor tonight. That coupled with the no-corporate-tax-cut, carbon aware policies and medicare dental will shoe them in at the next election.


On the endless drama over Section 44

Kenneth Piaggio writes: “Makes an utter mockery of Labor’s oft-repeated claim that its internal processes for ensuring its candidates were not constitutionally ineligible were watertight”. I guess even legal commentators have been “blindsided” by the High Court decisions. The man in the street’s definition of “reasonable efforts” keeps taking knocks from “authoritarian”/”black and white” decision makers such as Centrelink, other public service departments (state and federal), and higher level courts where the decisions have less to do with common sense than the interpretation of soulless edicts and rules.

Parts of my family go back five generations in Australia, but two grandfathers, who arrived over 100 years ago, would make me a dual citizen in spite of my having both parents born in Australia and my being born here nearly 70 years ago. This out-of-date, non-inclusive citizenship set of rules issue can only be resolved, it seems, by a referendum. What nonsense. I would not blame any organisation thinking they had the situation “covered” for their membership before the application of the “law” by the High Court in these recent times.

Metal Guru writes: I feel differently. I’ll be damned if I feel aggrieved for a politician who knowingly or otherwise, did not cross their “i”s and dot their “t’s (deliberate mistake). You know why this happened? It’s not because these poor unfortunate luvvies were caught unawares. No. They knew damn well there were question marks surrounding their nomination and their standing as parliamentarians in federal parliament, but they chose to game the system and lost.

Shorten can only come out of this a much diminished person, and the effected persons were simply arrogant. As arrogant ALP hacks they thought nothing but their own egos and the righteousness of their cause that they forgot to do the basics. They may even qualify for a pension in their “other” country. Bugger them.

Arky writes: Don’t understand how a party relying on legal advice and past decisions of the High Court “made a mockery [of Labor’s claims]” because the present High Court decided to change the test and effectively abolish the idea of “reasonable steps”.

Seriously, does everything have to be extreme? Can’t people be wrong without being “made a mockery” or be right without it being a “genius move”? This is one of the major contributors to shit journalism, this kind of extreme reaction to everything.

Undoubtedly the media are going to make a mockery of the ALP because that’s just what you guys do — mock without nuance or trying to help educate the public. Mostly proving your own ignorance. The law is a difficult place, there’s often conflicting opinions between QCs even when the High Court isn’t shifting the goalposts.


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