Sunday, November 18, 2007

10 reasons why I'm preferencing Labor at this election: Part 4

4. Iraq + US/International relations From the beginning Labor consistently opposed Australia's automatic kowtowing to the US' disastrous invasion of Iraq based on fraudulent premises. They argued, correctly, that there were still further diplomatic options to consider and that UN directives should not be pissed aside simply because what they did not suit the US warmongering agenda.

Mark Latham was/is a lot of things, but he hit the nail on the head when he identified George W Bush as 'the most dangerous and incompetent US president in living memory'. History has since shown this to be more than true. Unfortunately, due to our PM's sycophantic urge to be besties with the idiot, the rest of us had to suffer along, falsely tarred with the same brush that we were all eager to be the No. 1 ally of a government whose corruption, arrogance and utter contempt for democracy puts even our own in the shade.

Whatever happens, this time next year the world will finally be rid of the cancerous Bush, and hopefully the US citizens will come to their senses and elect a government committed to gradual withdrawal from Iraq. It is much more credible for Australia to have a government and PM that can similarly commit to this goal without having to first perform a massive about-face on its established foreign policy.

Howard would only be an uncomfortable, shadowy reminder of the Bush legacy and I imagine reluctant to work professionally and effectively with the likely Clinton Democrat administration. The Australian and US conservatives have had nearly eight years of combined government, and look where they've got us; it's time to give a more progressive combined alliance the opportunity to undo at least some of the damage.

3. ABC Conservatives have longed argued that public broadcasting is an anachronistic waste of public expenditure. No doubt, many in the Howard government think as much even if they're unable to say so publicly. But this government's relentless attack on the institution over the last 11 years is fueled not just by this ideology, but by the hatred it harbours for any outlet that dare seriously question, examine and/or expose its operation and agenda.

In an era where commercial television grows increasingly stupider, more crass and more offensive - hello, The Farmer Wants a Wife - the role of a television station providing quality Australian programming is now crucial. Think what Aunty has given us over the years: Four Corners, 7.30 Report, Play School, Mother and Son, GP, The Chaser/CNNNN, D-Generation, The Late Show, Kath and Kim, Enough Rope, We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High, Frontline, Seachange, Rainshadow, Good News Week (the early years, obviously), Spicks 'n' Specks, The Librarians ... Not to mention all the various mini-series too. It's not in the commercial interests of Seven, Nine or Ten to churn out locally made news, current affairs, comedy and drama - buying overseas products is so much cheaper - so this vital role falls on the shoulders of the ABC, and even parched for funds as they are, it does so admirably.

Even some conservatives themselves recognise the vital role of the ABC, particularly with regard to regional radio services. Other conservatives have confused the ABC's scrutiny of any government of the day and trying to hold it to account with a specific, biased attack against the Howard government. Not so.

Of course the ABC has a good friend in the Labor Party - the former's ex-journos running as candidates for the latter is testament to this. But the ABC needs a friend in government now more than ever before. It will still hold the Rudd administration accountable and no doubt piss off Labor and its senior members, just as it did under Hawke and Keating, but that is only an indication that it's doing its job properly.

More importantly, its board won't be further stacked with right-wing culture warriors intent on its gradual decimation. It will be provided with a budget (or close to) that it genuinely deserves and needs, and the pressure of 'editorial balance' - a brilliant euphemism for 'Howard government propaganda' - will be lessened. The ABC will continue to lead innovation in digital technology - anybody else excited by the thought of an ABC 3, 4, etc? And the ABC will have greater liberty to produce programming that deserves international attention and kudos, so that as commercial stations sink further into the gutter, Aunty can once again hold her head high, as she did before she was so shamelessly violated.

Almost there! I'm pooped. Woine toime now.

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At 21/11/07 4:45 pm, Anonymous Stu said...

Sam, perhaps unsurprisingly I'm with you all the way with your comments on the ABC. I saw a mock-up someone made of a logo for ABC3 today and it (again, perhaps unsurprisingly) gave me tingles.


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