Scroll to top

Ita Buttrose picks a side — and it isn’t the ABC’s

New ABC chair Ita Buttrose thinks the broadcaster's employees might have a bias problem. Plus other tips from the week.

Ita Buttrose tips
(Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours…

Ita picks a side. The ABC’s newly appointed chair Ita Buttrose raised eyebrows yesterday after telling ABC Radio that the organisation “might be biased” in its reporting, during a discussion about the election and the looming $84 million funding cut expected to hit the broadcaster. Buttrose said some staff could be unconsciously showing bias and that the broadcaster, which has survived every inquiry thrown its way, “could do with more diversity of views”.

Is Buttrose basing this on any recent evidence, or was she reaching out to the anti-ABC crowd? After every election, the ABC formally reviews its election coverage, and when reached by Crikey to determine whether an election coverage review had been completed a spokeswoman would only confirm that there were various reviews, “all still underway”.

Wilson loves retirees. Liberal MP Tim Wilson really has embraced the cause of looking after seniors, regardless of how it harms the national interest. With the Reserve Bank flagging that unemployment won’t go down without interest rate cuts, you’d think any MP would be all for higher employment growth that gets more Aussies into work and increases wages. Ah, but no: after his success with demonising Labor’s franking credits policy, Wilson thinks the interests of the unemployed and workers with stagnant wages come second to retirees, telling the AFR that an interest rate cut would be “specious” and that it would hurt retirees.

“It can actually reduce disposable income for those who can afford it least,” he warned.

Given the Coalition’s policy of deliberate wage stagnation, cuts to penalty rates and opposing minimum wage rises, Wilson probably knows what he’s talking about when he refers to reducing disposable income — which as the RBA recently pointed out has fallen away badly under the Coalition. Still, they can always put their money in shares and rip off taxpayers with the franking credits rort, can’t they Tim?

Minimum chips. The Fair Work Commission this morning bumped up minimum wages by 3%. That’s down from last year’s 3.5% decision, but still well ahead of inflation, currently running at an anaemic 1.3%.

In recent years, what “growth” there has been in wages has been driven by health and social care spending by governments, which has continued to expand our biggest industry — the health, aged, child and disability care sectors — and minimum wage increases mandated by the FWC. This is usually without any support from the government, which likes it minimum wages pretty minimal, thank you very much.

Meantime, look for business to warn even an increase of just 3% will cause mass unemployment — a traditional claim from the right that has now been utterly discredited.

The land of the freedom molecules. American journos have stumbled upon what has to be the most patriotic press release of all time. The US Department of Energy, which has long been subject to complaints of climate change censorship under the Trump administration, has announced an expansion of the Freedom LNG project in Texas as a means of spreading “freedom gas” and “molecules of U.S. freedom” to the world. 

Crikey cannot wait until the fad spreads Down Under for news of “freedom coal”, “freedom droughts” and “freedom coral graveyards” (ping Courier-Mail).

Freedom gas molecules press release
A section of the US Department of Energy’s press release

Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected]use our guaranteed anonymous form or other ways to leak to us securely.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW
43 comments

Leave a comment

Subscribe
Notify of
43 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Lovert
Lovert
1 year ago

Bias problem ? More diversity ? Bullshit.

Q&A regularly has Alan Jones on Q&A, a man who was convicted of inciting hatred of Muslims which lead to Australia’s worst race riot. Not to mention the rest of his biased right winged hatred that he constantly spews out. How much more diversity does Ita want ?

Leigh Sales now tip toes her way through interviews gingerly presumably in fear that she might be accused of bias. Patricia Karvelas on RN drive is about the only interviewer left who actually tries to take politicians to task.

Why is it ok for the Murdoch media to be so obviously biased that it influences an election ? Why is that ok ?

Looks like the downward spiral of the ABC is set to continue for another 3 years.

Margaret Marshall
Margaret Marshall
1 year ago
Reply to  Lovert

Of Course the ABC is on the same downward course as under the Turnbull government as Ita Buttrose has taken the same job as Michelle Guthrie and therefore the same salary. The ABC gets hacked and cut by $84 million but does the CEO’s salary get hacked down proportionately? No. So we have a dilemma, because the CEO as part of the fight against the cuts should also suffer part of those cuts that the staff suffer.
It has been reported that Michel Guthrie was on near a million dollars, pa. So Ita Buttrose would be on the same salary. That salary is not being cut as Michelle Guthrie’s salary was increased.

Lovert
Lovert
1 year ago

Oops I should have said “The ABC regularly has Alan Jones on Q&A”

I was somewhat suspicious of Morrison’s captains pick of Ita and it looks like those suspicions are being justified. This is an early indication that she is sympathetic to the coalition’s anti ABC agenda.

mark e smith
mark e smith
1 year ago

Ita is chair of ABC board Margaret not the manager as Michelle was.

I loved the “freedom”molecules. Natural gas and farts are mostly methane and …. ahhh, just doing my bit for freedom.

Margaret Marshall
Margaret Marshall
1 year ago
Reply to  mark e smith

Its Buttrose is in charge of the ABC if you heard her on the ABC RNDrive. Who cares what her name is?

Penny
Penny
1 year ago

Your argument was about the ABC CEO’s salary not being cut. You then said that Ita would be on the same one million dollar wage. Ita, as pointed out above, is not the CEO so will not be receiving a CEO’s wage. The difference between being CEO and head of the board is huge. Other than your mistaken idea that Ita is the CEO and getting the CEO’s salary, not sure what your point is.

Margaret Marshall
Margaret Marshall
1 year ago

I am not sure what your point is either. Why is the media interviewing Ita Buttrose if her status, responsibility and salary is below the Managing Director.

Rais
Rais
1 year ago
Reply to  Lovert

There is a pretence that while the ABC is paid for by the public, who have little choice in the matter, the commercial media are not. In fact the commercial media are paid for by the public too, just by a different process. Every time we buy something advertised on commercial media we pay for the media. Government advertising in the commercial media is paid for by taxpayers. Kind-hearted Government gifts to the Murdoch media are paid for by the taxpayers. All this means that just as we expect the ABC to be, on average, politically neutral we should require the publicly-subsidised commercial media to be the same.

Luckyduck
Luckyduck
1 year ago

Looks like Ita Buttrose is a Trojan horse. She has been given her riding instructions.

AR
AR
1 year ago
Reply to  Luckyduck

I always thought that old saying, “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes”, should have been “beware of gifts bearing Greeks”.
Anyone who thought that Ita, the Goanna’s girl, would be good for the ABC probably voted for Mr Smugsho(u)t thinking he was a fine xtian.

Bref
Bref
1 year ago

Could Ita be massaging the narrative, a la Bill Barr, ahead of the release of the reports and ahead of yet more budget cuts? Not quite a trojan horse because we already suspected what was inside.

Itsarort
Itsarort
1 year ago

A leopard’s spots moment from the Buttrhododendron.

And “specious” from Tim Wilson? That’d be the pot, kettle one.

Ruby
Ruby
1 year ago

Yes Ita , the ABC is biased ..it’s obvious the Wiggles were nothing but a front for Neo-liberal economics …but hey , get’em whilst they’re young…i also have my suspicions about those 2 uniformed pyjamed comrades B1 & B2…

Six Across
Six Across
1 year ago
Reply to  Ruby

Yes Ruby, B2 was always coming in from the left and I always suspected he/she/it held those tendencies.