Senate debates

Thursday, 18 February 2021


Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Consideration

4:50 pm

Photo of Eric AbetzEric Abetz (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek to take note of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's annual report for 2019-20. There's been a lot of talk in this chamber in recent times about bonuses. Australia Post has been lambasted. Today we heard in question time that the NBN was worthy of lambasting because of bonuses being paid. Yet, surprisingly, the media and the left wing in this country have great difficulty in being consistent on these matters. If they were, they would be exposing just as loudly the bonuses that are being paid to officials in the ABC, our national broadcaster, who are being paid handsomely by anybody's definition of 'payment'. Indeed, we discover that those earning between $370,000 and $395,000 a year got a bonus, on average, of $18,333. That amounts to over three Cartier watches. We know what happened to Australia Post for one Cartier watch. Why is this not happening within the ABC? Those earning between $395,000 and $420,000—it makes your eyes water; this is taxpayers' money—each received bonuses averaging $8,750. That's clearly over one Cartier watch; it's nearly two of them. Staff earning at the pathetically low rate of $320,000 to $345,000 got an average of $5,333, or a Cartier watch.

This is taxpayers' money. On what basis do those opposite seek to claim that the bonuses to Australia Post and NBN are inappropriate but turn a blind eye to the ABC? I happen to believe, as someone on this side of the chamber, that any bonus has to be exceptionally well justified, and, as far as I can see, there's nothing in the ABC report which justifies these excessive and hefty bonuses.

Whilst I'm on the ABC, I happen to note that the ABC has quietly removed the words 'Invasion Day' from a headline on one of its articles and, with all the normal verbiage, they seek to justify it and somehow overcome it. I simply say to the ABC and those that seek to denigrate Australia Day, allegedly because they want to champion the cause of our Indigenous brothers and sisters: take note of the actual evidence. Yet again it seems that there is a fact deficit when it comes to the left wing and the woke within our nation. Roy Morgan polling through Michele Levine, has told us that when Indigenous people have been asked about Australia Day 73 per cent of them identified with Australia Day and only 27 per cent with Invasion Day. One wonders whom those opposite are seeking to champion? They are seeking to champion a minority of the minority, whom they are seeking to put up in lights. The majority of the minority that they are seeking to champion, in fact, reject their mantra, according to Roy Morgan polling, with 73 per cent of our Indigenous community accepting Australia Day. So one wonders where the ABC and others get their information from and what actually motivates them.

In the few seconds that are left, can I also express my very real disappointment at the ABC giving so much time to Dr Norman Swan, who continually contradicted the Chief Medical Officer at the very height of the pandemic, making claims that would make even Tim Flannery blush. Do you know Tim Flannery? He said the Brisbane River would never flood. It's flooded once; it's flooded twice. Yet he claims to have credibility. Dr Swan has made all sorts of claims, none of which have come true. In fact, if we were to believe him, he was predicting 70,000 to 80,000 cases by early April, and he was—

Photo of Mehreen FaruqiMehreen Faruqi (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Abetz, your time has expired.

Photo of Eric AbetzEric Abetz (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.