Getting itself in knots. "Our" ABC.

Getting itself in knots. “Our” ABC.

It’s taken Radio Australia more than 60 hours to broadcast a landmark speech given on Monday night to the Australia Fiji Business Forum by the Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop. (see previous posting) In that speech, Ms Bishop signaled a radical overhaul of Australia’s policy towards Fiji if the Coalition wins the forthcoming Australian election. But the evidence shows that Radio Australia chose to willfully ignore it, broadcasting instead two pieces on its public affairs program, Pacific Beat, that were highly critical of Fiji.

This morning, Grubsheet blew the whistle on this blatant act of censorship with the previous piece. At 5.14 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time, we sent the link to one of Julie Bishop’s principal advisors, Sam Riordan. At 6.21 AM, we sent the link to senior ABC executive, Alan Sunderland, who handles formal complaints on behalf of the news division, which includes Radio Australia. At 7.59 AM, Alan Sunderland sent Grubsheet an email saying he would “follow up”on the story and pointing out an inaccuracy in our original account. Then at 9.12 AM, Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat finally posted a large slab of Ms Bishops address, more than 60 hours after she’d delivered it. It ran it without comment. After all, what on earth could the broadcaster’s journalists say?

As detailed in the previous posting, we know that the Australia Network’s Pacific Correspondent, Sean Dorney, sent the Bishop speech to Radio Australia on Monday night. What happened to it? We still haven’t had an answer from ABC management. But we have clear evidence that senior Radio Australia journalist, Bruce Hill, knew about it but chose not to report it. Instead of broadcasting what was a major change of policy signaled by the Deputy Opposition Leader  were the Coalition to win the forthcoming election, Hill chose instead to carry an interview with a former Fiji opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, lashing Fiji’s Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, for his own speech at the Business Forum. Where Julie Bishop had praised Ratu Inoke in her speech, Mick Beddoes lacerated him. Bruce Hill needs to explain himself, as does the entire Radio Australia news team. Because without a doubt, it is one of the most blatant instances of censorship and news manipulation Grubsheet has ever witnessed.

The timeline above speaks for itself. Julie Bishop is advised, the ABC management is advised. Within a couple of hours, Radio Australia finds the “missing” tape and puts it to air. It is not good enough and the whole episode demands an explanation. There should be an inquiry into why Radio Australia chose not to broadcast a tape that was in its possession for nearly three days. There should be a inquiry into why the rest of the ABC – domestic radio and television, including the ABC’s 24 hours news channel – also ignored the story. Only Sean Dorney emerges from this episode with any credibility at all. Having faithfully reported Ratu Inoke’s original speech, he faithfully reported Julie Bishop’s speech for Australia Network. The rest of the ABC – including its overseas radio service – should hang its head in shame.

No chance of that though, judging from Bruce Hill’s Facebook page, where he denies none of the above and revels in the adulation of his camp followers. These include fellow traveler and Facebook “friend” Barbara Dreaver, Television New Zealand’s equally biased Pacific correspondent. Bruce wants someone to send him the hard copy of the Fiji Sun, in which this article was reprinted, so that he can “laminate it and put it on his wall”. Dreaver suggests that his transgression might attract a ban by the Fijian Government or an enforced stay at the army barracks in Suva, evidently a badge of honour in these circles. It’s an idea that Hill “likes”, just as he “likes” the suggestion from another “friend” that Julie Bishop’s comments didn’t constitute a change of policy.

We didn’t say it was a change of policy. It was a change of attitude. And because Bishop may well be the Australian Foreign Minister after September the 7th, the fact remains that Bishop’s Brisbane speech was important and worth reporting. Instead, it  was evidently quashed by Hill, who thinks it’s all great fun and wants to peg his ethical lapse to his wall. Good work, Bruce.

Bruce Hill
Friday near Melbourne, Victoria
Could one of my Fiji friends kindly mail me the two pages of today’s edition of the Sun dedicated to having a go at me? I’m keen to laminate it and put it on my wall. Message me and I will send you my address.
19 people like this.

Gary McMurray Wow 2 pages! you must’ve hit the nail on the head…
Friday at 5:12pm · 1

Murray Hill Well we’ve always known you were a typical leftie drone.
Friday at 5:13pm · 1

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson yay! congrats… what an honor! I want to read the story asap
Friday at 5:28pm · 1

Lice Movono Rova Send me ur address!
Friday at 5:32pm via mobile · 1

Kate Schuetze Two pages! You must be doing a good job then
Friday at 6:00pm via mobile · 1

James Morrow You must post this when you get it. What the hell’d you do?
Friday at 6:01pm

Murray Hill Didn’t say what he was told to of course.
Friday at 6:02pm

Bethany Keats Awww what you do now?
Friday at 6:04pm via mobile

Kate Schuetze Mr Davis forgets one very important detail…. How can it be a major shift in Australian government policy if it was even a comment from the actual foreign minister??! Entertaining tho http://www.fijisun.com.fj/2013/08/02/the-abc-of-propaganda/
Friday at 6:05pm via mobile · 1

Barbara Dreaver Surely that’s worth a ban?
Friday at 6:15pm via mobile · 1

Bruce Hill You would have thought so, wouldn’t you? Maybe it’s in the mail.
Friday at 6:23pm

Murray Hill I suspect they may invite him for a free holiday.
Friday at 6:24pm

Barbara Dreaver Fabulous accommodation at Queen Elizabeth barracks
Friday at 8:51pm via mobile · 1

Allan Grant Oh, you’ll have to share it with us, Mr. Hill. Or the link at least.
Friday at 8:59pm

Bruce Hill See the link Kate posted above.
Friday at 9:04pm

Allan Grant As a low-information Yank, am I understanding this correctly? A woman who is in parliament but not in the governing party, not in power, has no authority to speak for the Australian government, has just signaled a change in Australian foreign policy that your Foreign Minister has not? Oh, and you didn’t report it? Is that what the rant’s about? Sheesh!
Friday at 9:49pm · Edited · 1

Kate Schuetze Yes apparently an ‘opposition MP’ can also be referred to an ‘alternative Foreign Minister’ but only in coup-coup land!
Friday at 9:42pm via mobile · 1