I wrote an article about how John Laws is a lumbering misogynist from the Jurassic … and how I’d like to kick his bum up the street and then, I thought, I couldn’t be arsed.
I just could not supply the required outrage to prosecute the case against him.
Not because of a lack of empathy for Carol, the caller who rang Laws on radio 2SM and related her harrowing personal tale of how she had been sexually abused since age six and was asked: “You weren’t provocative?” No woman should ever be asked that. And readers of The Hoopla agreed.
It was just that I already knew that John Laws was a disgrace to broadcasting. “Laws does not deserve kindness,” says industry insider, Dan Bradley on Radio Today. He found Laws’ interview “insensitive, inappropriate, indefensible and deplorable”.
Why Laws remains on air is a mystery.
Going after him, I decided, would be like shooting fish in a barrel.
We’ve known Laws is a sexist from way back when he required his “handmaidens” to wear skirts.
Our suspicions about Laws’ lack of moral compass were confirmed when he and his then stablemate on 2UE, Alan Jones, were caught up in the 1999 “cash for comment” inquiry and it was found they had accepted millions of dollars in hidden sponsorships to spruik their clients – telcos, banks etc. – all in the guise of considered editorial. Thus betraying the trust of every single one of their listeners.
Laws took to ringing a “faggy little cowbell” on air whenever he was about to read an advertisement – misleading his listeners yet again. His appalling behaviour forced the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to change the rules on disclosure on “integrated advertising”.
None of his bullshit surprises me.
If the simple advice is “don’t listen” to Laws and Jones? I’ve been taking it for years.
We all have bigger fish to fry.
Instead, we can turn our energy and scrutiny to the shadowy forces at work in the guise of public “think tanks” who seek to influence public life, by foul means or fair.
Does the odious “cash for comment” culture persist in the national public discourse? Do you know where “opinion” is coming from and who is paying for it?
Perhaps these ideas will provoke outrage too…
- Privatise the ABC, SBS and the CSIRO.
- End all public subsidies to the sports and arts.
- Repeal the mining tax and Fair Work Act.
- Abolish the Clean Energy Fund, the Department of Climate Change, Foreign Investment Review Board, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Australian Human Rights Commission and, yes, ACMA.
These are just a few policies from the right-wing Institute of Public Affairs and can be read, in their eye-opening entirety, below.
Who and what is the IPA? “Free people. Free Society” is their motto. You can read the manifesto here, which also contains the words “liberating”, “exciting”, “independent” and also, oddly, “the rule of law”.
The IPA and its backers are keen for change of government and say of Tony Abbott: “We hope he grasps the opportunity to fundamentally reshape the political culture and stem the assault on individual liberty”.
Clive Hamilton, climate change activist, recently pinged the IPA in an article on the ABC site, the Drum, and says it is “notoriously secretive about its funding.”
He mentions Exxon, Shell, Caltex and BHP Billiton among climate change deniers believed to have stumped up sponsorship. The 480 comments on his article also cite Big Mining, Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Arms Manufacturing and Big Packaging as also seeking to lobby and influence public policy in Australia.
“Despite its refusal to divulge, we can make a good guess at where a large part of its (the IPA’s) recent funding has come from – right-wing mining billionaire Gina Rinehart,” wrote Hamilton.
And if you want to read more about Rinehart’s obsessions, this is the best (long) article I’ve ever read. It comes from the William Finnegan at New Yorker.
Former Canberra lobbyist, Paula Matthewson writes : “Think tanks have too long hidden behind the cloak of independence and should be subject to more scrutiny. They should be recognised as active players in political debate, and not the dispassionate observers that they pretend to be.”
Right now – when we are about to dump millions of tonnes of toxic dredge spoil on the Barrief Reef and then transport uranium through our precious World Heritage area, all for the benefit of mining companies – Laws, Jones, Hadley and Sandilands are merely a fishing net full of toxic tiddlers.
Watch out instead for the IPA and their like – the white pointers in the shallows. Their bite can be fatal.
Here is the full wish list of the IPA’s policies (next page)… and possibly the meanest and most pointless of all?
No.73: Defund Harmony Day. It’s like pulling the wings off orange butterflies.
(Thanks to reader John for this link re: concerns that the IPA and conservative think tanks like them are dominating the public airwaves and opinion on the ABC.)
“1 Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.
2 Abolish the Department of Climate Change
3 Abolish the Clean Energy Fund
4 Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act
5 Abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council
6 Repeal the renewable energy target
7 Return income taxing powers to the states
8 Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission
9 Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
10 Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol
11 Introduce fee competition to Australian universities
12 Repeal the National Curriculum
13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums
14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’
16 Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law
17 End local content requirements for Australian television stations
18 Eliminate family tax benefits
19 Abandon the paid parental leave scheme
20 Means-test Medicare
21 End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
22 Introduce voluntary voting
23 End mandatory disclosures on political donations
24 End media blackout in final days of election campaigns
25 End public funding to political parties
26 Remove anti-dumping laws
27 Eliminate media ownership restrictions
28 Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
29 Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency
30 Cease subsidising the car industry
31 Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction
32 Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games
33 Deregulate the parallel importation of books
34 End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws
35 Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP
36 Legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit
37 Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a searchable database
38 Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food
39 Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities
40 Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools
41 Repeal the alcopops tax
42 Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including:
a) Lower personal income tax for residents
b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers
c) Encourage the construction of dams
43 Repeal the mining tax
44 Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states
45 Introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax-free threshold
46 Cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25 per cent
47 Cease funding the Australia Network
48 Privatise Australia Post
49 Privatise Medibank
50 Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function
51 Privatise SBS
52 Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784
53 Repeal the Fair Work Act
54 Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them
55 Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors
56 Abolish the Baby Bonus
57 Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant
58 Allow the Northern Territory to become a state
59 Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16
60 Remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade
61 Slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the United States
62 End all public subsidies to sport and the arts
63 Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport
64 End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local manufacturers in government tendering
65 Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification
66 Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship
67 Means test tertiary student loans
68 Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement
69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built
70 End all government funded Nanny State advertising
71 Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling
72 Privatise the CSIRO
73 Defund Harmony Day
74 Close the Office for Youth
75 Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme
and folks… there’s more…
25 more ideas for Tony Abbott
IPA REVIEW ARTICLE
Following on from our 75 ideas in the last edition, John Roskam, James Paterson and Chris Berg offer 25 more ideas to reshape Australia.
76 Have State Premiers appoint High Court justices
77 Allow ministers to be appointed from outside parliament
78 Extend the GST to cover all goods and services but return all extra revenue to taxpayers through cutting other taxes
79 Abolish the federal department of health and return health policy to the states
80 Abolish the federal department of education and return education policy to the states
81 Repeal any new mandatory data retention laws
82 Abolish the Australian Human Rights Commission
83 Have trade unions regulated like public companies, with ASIC responsible for their oversight
84 End all public funding to unions and employer associations
85 Repeal laws which protect unions from competition, such as the ‘conveniently belong’ rules in the Fair Work Act
86 Extend unrestricted work visas currently granted to New Zealand citizens to citizens of the United States
87 Negotiate and sign free trade agreements with Australia’s largest trading partners, including China, India, Japan and South Korea
88 Restore fundamental legal rights to all existing commonwealth legislation such as the right to silence and the presumption of innocence
89 Adhere to section 51(xxxi) of the Constitution by not taking or diminishing anyone’s property without proper compensation
90 Repeal legislative restrictions on the use of nuclear power
91 Allow full competition on all foreign air routes
92 Abolish the Medicare levy surcharge
93 Abolish the luxury car tax
94 Halve the number of days parliament sits to reduce the amount of legislation passed
95 Abolish Tourism Australia and cease subsidising the tourism industry
96 Make all government payments to external parties publicly available including the terms and conditions of those payments
97 Abandon plans to restrict foreign investment in Australia’s agricultural industry
98 Cease the practice of setting up government-funded lobby groups, such as YouMeUnity, which uses taxpayer funds to campaign to change the Australian Constitution
99 Rule out the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment for electronic gaming machines
100 Abolish the four pillars policy which prevents Australia’s major banks from merging
PS: Many people have referred me to this Youtube of Stuart Littlemore in 2001, then host of Media Watch, talking of the IPA… so here it is, for your perusal. It is, quite simply, stunning.