What Piers said:
“Those who want to pay for “our” ABC should be able to do so, those who feel that it is no longer “ours” should not be obliged to.”
Did they sack him for that? Or did they sack him for telling the truth about JuLiar G-Lard?
Piers Akerman,Â one of Â the longest-serving political commentators on the Insiders program, has just been Â sacked from the panel. They claim it was becauseÂ of remarks made during the federal election about former prime minister Julia Gillard’s partner,
News Corp Australia commentator Piers Akerman was not informed of the review or given a right of reply.
Both are guilty of making reckless and unsubstantiated accusations and public attacks against individuals and institutions that hold views contrary to their own.
At least Senator McCarthy correctly identified the very real Communist infiltration of senior circles in the US State department. The ABC’s success rate is not as good.
It has been reduced to publishing secret documents – stolen by an American defector – that undermine the security of Western democracies.
Now the ABC has joined Fairfax Media in an attempt to undermine the Coalition’s all-too successful Operation Sovereign Borders exercise that has halted the flow of illegal people-smuggler vessels.
Stopping the boats also means stopping the deaths at sea that Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young dismissively refused to accept any responsibility for by saying: “Tragedies happen, Âaccidents happen.”
Both the ABC and Fairfax have done their best to justify the publication of uncorroborated claims of torture by RAN personnel made by disaffected illegal people-smuggler clients.
On Friday, finally gave them a deserved broadside, saying Customs and the RAN had saved “thousands of lives” between Christmas ÂIsland and Java over the past four years.
“My people have been spat on, abused, treated like servants, and have Âendured all of that to save more than a thousand lives, and yet they’ve also had to endure the horror of fishing out hundreds of people floating dead in the water,” he said.
“I am absolutely sick to the stomach that this Australian iconic news agency would attack the navy in the way that it has.”
Senator Johnston joined the growing chorus for an Âinvestigation into the ABC, saying naval personnel were heroes.
“If ever there was an event that justified a detailed inquiry, some reform, an investigation of the ABC, this event is it,” he said. “They themselves have cast a giant shadow over the veracity of their reporting and yet they’ve besmirched these hardworking people.”
ABC chief Mark Scott would not respond.
Showing far greater leadership, Senator Johnston stood up for the men and women who have to deal with illegal boat arrivals and told of the onerous service they provide.
“I have got people on nine-day turnarounds to Christmas Island, I’ve got post-traumatic stress to deal with … and I’ve got unsubstantiated allegations. Let’s get a bit real here and give somebody a bit of natural justice please,” he said.
“Let’s see the allegations first, let’s have more than just rumour, innuendo, and hearsay please.
“When you give me something to act upon that is more than just hearsay, innuendo and rumour we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
He said he had spent a week aboard an Armidale-class Âpatrol boat and had the greatest confidence in the service men and women. “I’m backing them at every turn of every corner. I have not said much because, I have to confess, I was extremely angry. I Ârequired some time to cool off.
“They are heroes. They have done a courageous – laden with integrity – difficult task thrust upon them by probably the greatest policy failure Australia has ever seen.”
Foreign Minister Julie ÂBishop agrees: “There most certainly should be an apology.
Our navy personnel are working in very difficult circumstances. In the recent past they’ve had to deal with over a thousand deaths at sea from asylum-seeker boats sinking at sea,” Ms Bishop said.
“The ABC claimed there was evidence to support claims our navy had deliberately mistreated asylum seekers by causing them bodily injuries, that they’d deliberately abused them. Well, those claims have not been substantiated.
“The ABC management admits it got it wrong, but it refuses to apologise. If these claims were made against individual navy personnel, it would be the basis for a defamation action.”
The relevance of the ABC is under question as it never has been before.
The emergence of the internet as a major international news source has Âundermined any relevance the disputed Australia Network may once have had.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull believes that live streaming of ABC News 24 would effectively and more cheaply satisfy the Australian Network audience.
Merging ABC and SBS has been mooted. The actual need for expansive taxpayer-funded communication networks operated by the government must be questioned.
Public broadcasting should be paid for by those it plays too, and receive a greatly reduced level of taxpayer support.
Those who want to pay for “our” ABC should be able to do so, those who feel that it is no longer “ours” should not be obliged to.