From the Crikey grapevine, it’s the latest tips and rumours…

ABC ventures to the wilds of Bankstown. The Sydney Morning Herald reported this week that the ABC’s new chairwoman Ita Buttrose and managing director David Anderson have organised an excursion to the southwestern suburb of Bankstown to better understand the average Australian. Dozens of staff will be attending the two day “boot camp”. Participants will “discuss local issues, eat at local restaurants and speak with community groups”.

Yep, Ita is venturing to Bankstown, which is an entire (*checks notes*) 30 minute drive from the ABC’s Ultimo headquarters. In the words of ABC’s head of news Gaven Morris, it’s because there were “some parts of the community that we don’t serve as well as we could be”. Head of Media Diversity Australia, 10Daily reporter and former ABC employee Antoinette Lattouf asked on Twitter if the trek out west “will it include more than just ‘woke’ photos of banh mi rolls & hijabs”.


Lattouf went on to say the vision of management was not enough: “It’s the content maker [executive producers] and day editors who need to be on board. From our research and speaking to CALD [culturally and linguistically diverse] journos across the country – middle management is often where they feel the most resistance — if not overt discrimination.”

More than 20% of Australians speak a language other than English at home, however according to ABC’s 2017-18 annual report only 9% of content makers are from a non-English speaking background. The report also states that 2.8% of its employees are Indigenous — but it does not detail how many are content makers.

ABCs of the far right. Maybe the good people of Bankstown could help Aunty deal appropriately with the far right. Q&A certainly didn’t do the diversity drive any favours last night — as a tipster pointed out to us, the show let through what appeared to be a reference to the neo-Nazi “fourteen words” slogan:

The original slogan, popular with, well, Nazis, is “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”. The user has already been deleted but “has won praise” from Australian Twitter’s alt-right community, our tipster tells us.

Along similar lines, the ABC yesterday published a piece about former senator Fraser “Oswald Mosley” Anning’s schadenfreude-sodden bankruptcy proceedings. The article opened with: “Fraser Anning’s short political career was built on a platform of patriotism and putting Australia first.”

If anybody needs a refresher on Anning, he has links to extremist far-right groups and gave a speech in the Senate calling for a “final solution” to immigration. He represented his own party, Fraser Anning’s National Conservative Party, and was famously egged earlier this year after blaming Muslim immigration for the Christchurch massacre.

The ABC’s description of his platform has since been revised from “patriotism and putting Australia first”, to the very slightly less euphemistic “nationalism and rhetoric about Australian values”.

AMMA let you finish… We have long catalogued the remarkable rhetoric of various employer groups — a heady cocktail of junk economics and intense self pity, despite everything. These groups will frequently warn that the scourge of high minimum wages or protection from unfair dismissal are just barriers to more employment. So the Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA is to be congratulated on their candor — they don’t have a noble reason, they’d just rather not pay that much. Per the Nine papers today, a report from AMMA detailing a possible upcoming shortage of mining workers in the next five years says that government and businesses need to act to avoid a “repeat of challenges faced during the mining boom, when employers were forced to offer high salaries and generous benefits as they struggled to lure workers”.

Gladys has a crackers morning. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has had a helluva morning. She has to deal with “deep rifts” in her party, having seen off the challenge of three disgruntled MPs over the party’s abortion decriminalisation bill. She can be forgiven, then, for a fairly sparse breakfast, pictured leaving her home with a fistful of crackers. But which kind? The initial designation from The Daily Telegraph said Saladas, but others weren’t so sure. The hero of the moment turned out to be AAP’s Angus Livingston, who sensed something was up:

He followed up with Berejiklian’s office, naturally, who confirmed they were Cheds — a far better choice if you have to eat unadorned crackers. The Tele, to their eternal credit, updated the story. We look forward to Mark Ruffalo’s Oscar-nominated turn as Livingston when they finally make a movie about Chedgate.

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Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey