Senate debates

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Statements by Senators

Media Influence

1:38 pm

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

This parliament's descent into a one-party state could not have happened without the media's complicity. The cancelling of Jessica Rowe's interview with Senator Pauline Hanson is the latest manifestation of a power structure that George Orwell gave these words to in 1941 following a failed attempt to publish his seminal work Animal Farm: 'The British press is extremely centralised, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics by employing veiled censorship. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness.'

In 80 years, nothing has changed. Media and multinationals have the same wealthy owners who use their power to corral thought and enrich themselves. Orwell's Animal Farm is a metaphor: animals overthrew their farmer to create a fairer society—only for that power to corrupt, leading to less freedom, with the pigs assuming the role of dictators. Ironically, not only are the media acting like the pigs in Animal Farm; the book has been wiped from our curriculum for the crime of making children think about the power paradigm. Our media are not some noble fifth estate; the media are a fourth column, advancing their billionaire owners' interests at the expense of truth and integrity.

The only solution to the problem of media propaganda is introducing competition, removing federal support for commercial media and expanding the market through a ballot of spare spectrum open to only new media organisations. Instead of the media being protected under the power of their oligopolies, let the media earn their survival on the worth of their coverage. Instead of conflicted journalists promoting the orthodoxy, our community and our nation must have honest, independent journalists who challenge the orthodoxy. We have one flag, we are one community, we are one nation and we want our human rights and freedom restored.