Leading article Australia

Loving the luvvies too much

26 October 2019

9:00 AM

26 October 2019

9:00 AM

When it comes to Coalition governments, Michael Corleone of The Godfather doesn’t normally come to mind. Yet they seem to follow the mafia Don’s advice to ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’. Well, at least the latter part of it.

Take the communications portfolio’s Regional Grant Opportunity Programme. It’s part of a $60 million fund launched by the Turnbull government in 2017 to help regional and smaller publishers improve their business viability and infrastructure. The aim is to ensure there continues to be a local media presence in the tradition of the small-town newspapers of Australia’s frontier days, and much of the money is going to projects like improving websites and online presence, and similar small-time stuff that makes good press releases for local MPs.

The scheme is administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, but its first round of grants was signed off by Communications minister, Paul Fletcher.

But as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, among the successful grant applicants was Private Media Group, publishers of the strongly left-leaning online newsletter Crikey and the largely unreadable Saturday Paper (published, as Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog reminds us constantly, every Friday). Another grant is to an outfit called Croakey Health Media Ltd, which was originally part of the Crikey group but now does its own thing.

Pity the poor taxpayer already forking out a lazy billion a year on the ABC.

Good on them all for winning their grants. But from its glory days when its intrepid political columnist Hilary Bray was feared by both sides of politics, Private Media’s Crikey nowadays is unrelentingly anti-Coalition – and anti-Labor too when the party of the workers frequently disappoints Crikey’s staff and Green Left target audience. Similarly, the Saturday Paper. As for Croakey, it is the online house journal for left-leaning public health activists and policy wonks with editorial positions that seemingly assume the Coalition is responsible for all the health and social problems that can’t be directly attributed to climate change.

ACMA advisers living in Manuka, Balmain and Fitzroy wouldn’t have cared about such things, but Mr Fletcher should have. Perhaps he simply didn’t notice or didn’t want it leaked that he made a fuss. But Mr Fletcher’s funding these leftist outfits adds insult to the great injury to diverse intelligent conversation done by his predecessor, Mitch Fifield, who chose to stay silent when the Australia Council’s resident luvvies defunded the right-leaning Quadrant while continuing to support more ideologically-congenial outlets.

This magazine has never applied for public money and never will. Our circulation continues to grow consistently year on year without handouts. It seems, however, that those on the Left generally do not have the same scruples, or talents, requiring government handouts wherever they can. What gobsmacks is a recently re-elected Coalition government letting them do it.

We expect Labor ministers to sign away your money to benefit their cause and Labor mates, but Coalition governments shouldn’t hesitate to use their powers of patronage to support people and entities compatible with mainstream centre-right values, rather than continually tickle the tummies of luvvies who see the Coalition as the devil, voice contempt for Coalition values, will use grant money so gormlessly given them by the Coalition to promote their left activist agendas to defeat the Coalition and what it stands for, and who perpetually patronise and denigrate the mainstream values and interests of the millions of quiet Australians who actually fund those grants.

Gutless vegans

Heard on ABC Classic FM this week: an earnest discussion between presenters about the morality of musical instruments. Some vegans refuse to listen to string instruments that use catgut strings, said one presenter. The other was horrified because that means vegan musicians shouldn’t play gut-stringed instruments. It was a deadly serious exchange, as everything about vegans and veganism is treated in these woke days.

Presumably musical vegans think animals are slaughtered simply to make violin strings for their discomfiture. But that bizarre on-air exchange highlights the disconnect between the ABC Ultimo bubble and the mainstream world outside. Their listeners, the vast majority of whom enjoy steak and sausages without feeling guilt for being at the top of the food chain, simply got more proof that Your ABC is, indeed, Their ABC.

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