Murdoch Australian news media news articles recently moved to be inaccessible – protected by paywall
Australian news media corruption – Fake archives of newspapers sold as genuine archives by British Libraries UK and Australian sate and national public libraries
Murdoch’s Australia news media news article’s ‘The best I could do was not good enough’ http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/the-best-i-could-do-was-not-good-enough/story-e6frebt3-
1111118975187 can no longer be accessed, having recently been moved to ‘protected by a paywall’ [accessible only by subscribing], appears below. The website is referred to in https://rjrbtsrupertsfirstnewspaper.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/timeline-of-australian-corruption-events-conceled-by-fake-archives-of-newspapers/
News articles headlined ‘Journalism giving up on the search for truth’ 2 Nov. 2013 & ‘Aunty stick to the facts’ 1 Feb 2014 written by journalists Nick Cater referred to in https://rjrbtsrupertsfirstnewspaper.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/nick-cater-bbc-career-and-intolerance-of-news-media-inaccuracies/ also appear below.
What is the purpose of a paywall requiring buying a subscription to allow access to previously Internet online & newspaper published news articles that have previously been more available and should still be available in public library newspaper archives at no cost? The historical record of what has been published should be true and accurate but it is not. Attempts to limit access to the archived historical records make corrupt alterations to the records more difficult to detect. The corruption of records claimed to be archives for the purpose of concealing impropriety [crimes & corruption] is of course a crime of deception. The sale as genuine archives that are false records is a crime. Newspaper publication of false and misleading information [concealing the facts of crimes& corruption] is a crime [conspiracy to pervert the course of justice] and contrary to all reasonable journalism ethics and codes of conduct. News media engaged in the deception of the public while claiming to champion the public’s ‘right to know’, is a despicable practice, detrimental to the common good, which should be exposed.
That false records of Australian newspapers published are sold as authentic ‘archives’ by Australian & UK public libraries & the fake newspaper ‘archives’ conceal crimes & corruption of news media, politicians, governments and law enforcement, is known to John Bannon, Nick Cater & those authorities in positions of public trust whose corruption is concealed. Australia’s news media consuming taxpaying public pay for our public libraries’ fake newspaper archives & are expected to pay by subscribing to news media journalism intended to further deceive us.
Crimes of deception are profitable for Murdoch’s Australian news media with its control of politicians, governments and law enforcement authorities that do not enforce Australian laws. For Rupert Murdoch’s Australian news media the development of Internet news media simplifies the process of altering history as published in newspapers and control of governments and the public. Lies published one day can at a future date be replaced with different lies that the records prove were published in the past.
Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past. Do modern day archivists need to be tortured [Winston Smith – archivist 1984] to ensure compliance with requirements?
Archivists & historians have a duty to the public for whom the profession should be dedicated to in their work.
The best I could do was not good enough
WORDS: PENELOPE DEBELLE
FEBRUARY 27, 2009 11:30PM
JOHN Bannon likes to talk about history – but has been loath to discuss his own. Now, for the first time, the former premier looks back.
AFTER 15 YEARS of silence, John Bannon looks a little wary. Not nervous exactly, but braced for unpleasantness as he prepares to manage the inevitable question of his political legacy.
We are here to talk about his new book, a biography of one of the founders of Federation who happens to be the grandfather of former Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer. Bannon, a Federation history expert, has not subjected himself to an interview since leaving politics in December 1993, two years after the near failure of the State Bank brought South Australia to the brink of bankruptcy. The man who was premier at the time is not here to talk about the past but accepts that at some point the elephant in the room will have to be acknowledged.
We are sitting in the old-fashioned comfort of St Mark’s College’s upstairs senior common room, a clubby chamber with leather chairs and college memorabilia lining the walls. Bannon was master of St Mark’s, in North Adelaide, for eight years and feels at home inside the protective embrace of academia.
At 65, Bannon is older and greyer but retains something of the young, blond marathon runner whose physical fitness was always the best in the room. He is dressed in college wear; grey trousers and a navy blazer, and takes me first on a quick tour of the landmark Pennington Terrace residence, a study in faded grandeur that was bought by the University of Adelaide almost a century ago. He is businesslike but with an air of trepidation and his manner indicates a man who would rather be elsewhere.
Bannon’s dilemma is wanting to talk about one thing, his book, but knowing that to do so he will also be asked about the bleak episode that saddled SA with a $3 billion debt and destroyed the Labor Party’s standing to the point where any association with the Bannon Government was a political liability.
Bannon knew back in 1991 that he was in too deep to dig his way out. His policy of prudent budgetary management offset by expansionary, large-scale projects collapsed like a house of cards when the folly of lending decisions made by the State Bank’s board and managing director Tim Marcus Clark was exposed. As the bank’s owner, the state was the guarantor of loans that became a $3 billion millstone that threatened its very existence. Bannon became the man who led the state into $3 billion debt.
Has South Australia forgiven John Bannon for the State Bank debacle? Vote in the poll at the right of this page.
As the cracks began to open up, Bannon gave private soundings to the media to confirm the devastating scale of the losses. “It was certainly a public matter and so it should have been,” Bannon says. “There was no point in hiding or minimising what was an acute situation.”
A former editor of The Advertiser, Peter Blunden, remembers getting a call early one Sunday morning in 1991 saying Bannon wanted to see him in his office. As Blunden walked in, he was astonished to be offered a beer. “I don’t usually have a beer that early on a Sunday but Bannon basically said ‘I think on this occasion we should have one’,” Blunden says. “I knew it was a very, very unusual day and it was a very stressful period for everyone involved.”
Bannon stayed for three inquiries, the last two of which cleared him of any deliberate wrongdoing. But in September 1992 – before the findings were released – he stepped down as premier and treasurer and personally apologised to SA for what had happened. “I made that very clear at the time I resigned,” Bannon says. “I was saying, ‘I take responsibility, I stuffed this up,’ and my apology is there on the record.”
Just over a year later he left politics forever. It was an ignominious close to what had been a brilliant career and it was not something Bannon has wanted to revisit. The various inquiries and court processes sheeted home the liability and Bannon felt nothing would be gained by looking back. Personal dignity demanded there will be no memoir and his legacy will remain a matter for others. He is hyper-sensitive to sounding like a man trying to defend the indefensible, or, even worse, coming across as an object of pity. Better to say nothing.
“I wasn’t interested in writing memoirs or tedious explanations or defences of my record,” he says. “I don’t think that’s the place of someone who has been in public life. Many see it as their duty but the end result is unfortunately often self-serving, defensive and not terribly enlightening. Better for others to comment and probe.”
Ironically, it took a conservative politician from one of Adelaide’s establishment families to flush Bannon out. His book, to be published by Wakefield Press, is about the history of the founding of the Australian constitution and reflects Bannon’s status as a serious Federation historian. It will be launched at St Mark’s College by Alexander Downer on March 5.
Supreme Federalist, which Bannon asks that I read before speaking to him, is a very readable account of the political life of a significant South Australian who helped shepherd the idea of a federal Australia through two decades of political and legal process. Sir John Downer, QC, the founder of a political dynasty in the age before political parties, was at various times a member of the Legislative Assembly, premier, and senator, as well as a passionate federalist who believed the separate colonies should come together and surrender certain powers – control of the Murray-Darling River system being one – but retain others.
Bannon argues that of all of the constitutional founding fathers, including Edmund Barton and Charles Kingston, Downer fought for federalism most consistently over almost two decades. “I am not saying he is the most important, or the only, I am saying that in terms of his position and his promotion of it, he has a consistency,” Bannon says.
Bannon’s pursuit of an academic career has put a lot of distance between him and his political past. He gained a PhD in South Australian political history at Flinders University which immersed him in SA’s transition from a colony to a state, in particular the government of Charles Kingston and other founders of the constitution, including Sir John. In a purely serendipitous coincidence, in 1999 Bannon was appointed master of St Mark’s College, which was the very house in which Sir John and his family once lived. Bannon worked in Sir John’s old study writing the book, as close to history as he could get.
He leaves next month for a three-month sabbatical term at Edinburgh University, studying the devolution of the Scottish Parliament as a form of federation in reverse.
The emergence of Dr John Bannon, academic, historian and President of the History Council of Australia, flowed naturally from Bannon’s move away from the public life. This withdrawal was not quite an act of penance but something he felt was required of him. He did not feel it was right or proper to hold positions on government boards or agencies, or to comment on public affairs. No state appointments were ever offered, he says, but nor would he have accepted any.
“That was appropriate,” he says. “Because immediately you try and either pontificate on events of the day, or tell your successors what should be done, quite rightly people say – what right have you to do that? It’s just not appropriate and you end up becoming self-serving and defensive and you certainly don’t want to be in that position.”
The tracing of lines of blame and examination of what should or should not have been done is not up for discussion today, nor will it ever be. He will not analyse his own political legacy and feels genuinely unable to. Bannon says only that he gave his all and accepts that it fell short. “I just know I did the best I could as honestly and as competently as I could,” he says. “It wasn’t good enough and others can judge how and why that occurred.”
Chris Sumner, who was attorney-general in Bannon’s Cabinet and a friend of Bannon’s since their days at the University of Adelaide, says Bannon was obviously deeply affected by what happened. “I think that was a sensible decision,” Sumner says of Bannon’s public withdrawal. “There wasn’t great scope for looking back on the Bannon Government and what it did because of the State Bank.”
Bannon’s integrity was never at issue but his reputation as an economic manager was blasted into oblivion in a few terrible months. The problem was not directly of his making but he accepts that he believed what others wanted him to hear. “Obviously, when I take responsibility I am not saying I did nothing,” he says. “It is for others to say who should have done what but there is no question I should have done some things.”
It was painful, of course, he says, because it came towards the natural end of an otherwise successful political career that began 30 years earlier when Bannon, a young law student fresh out of St Peter’s College where his father, Charles Bannon, taught art, spent a year as full-time president of the Australian Union of Students.
He discovered Labor politics and in November, 1982, the Bannon decade began with a series of major projects that included the establishment of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine, the submarine project, the defence industry, conversion of part of the Adelaide Railway Station into the Convention Centre, Hyatt and Adelaide Casino complex, and the staging of the Formula One Grand Prix.
Bannon, who is still the longest-serving SA premier after Tom Playford, saw this careful record demolished and only those closest to him know how deeply those wounds ran. “Obviously all of those things were almost obliterated by the scale of what happened,” he says. “It came at the end, and ironically, even as late as 1990 when there were other financial failures occurring both here and internationally, we were feeling pretty good.”
Sumner, who says Bannon was let down during a recession by regulators, including the Reserve Bank, the State Bank Board and State Government officials, believes a time will come when Bannon’s legacy as head of a social democratic government will be reassessed. “From a personal perspective, we were all badly let down by a whole lot of mechanisms and people who should have been doing their jobs and weren’t,” Sumner says. “I think, personally, that John has carried an unreasonable personal burden for what happened.”
Instead of a sense of achievement, Bannon left politics knowing his legacy had been tarnished, if not destroyed. “It was a messy end to what had up until then been quite a successful and satisfying political career,” he says. “One of the difficult things was seeing rather than a heritage being left, a lot of things being dismembered.”
Bannon stayed long enough to manage the immediate aftermath before resigning from the seat of Ross Smith and declaring his public life was over. He moved from Prospect to the inner city with his second wife Angela, mother of musician and television personality Dylan Lewis, and refused advice from some quarters that he should move away and start afresh. Bannon may have failed as premier on a grand scale but he would not be run out of town.
“I at no time felt that I must or need abandon South Australia and what it stands for,” says Bannon, who has a daughter, Victoria, with his first wife, Supreme Court Justice Robyn Layton. “To the best of my ability post-politics, I have tried to be an active and engaged citizen, although obviously not a public figure because I don’t think that’s appropriate.” In 1994 Bannon accepted an appointment to the ABC Board which was his first foray into any form of office. It was criticised on partisan political grounds but not because it was John Bannon.
“It wasn’t high-profile, it was to do a job,” Bannon says of his five years on the board. His other official duties since 2000 have been to serve on the South Australian Cricket Association Board under former Howard minister Ian McLachlan. Last year he was elected to the Board of Cricket Australia and occasionally runs into John Howard, where they confine their discussions to play on the ground and a shared enthusiasm for the political process. He is still a friend of Mike Rann, once a junior member of the Bannon cabinet, but does not presume to give him advice.
Two years ago Bannon faced a more confronting personal challenge than even the State Bank debt. He was in training for a marathon when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had surgery and a taxing period of chemotherapy, from which he has emerged in full health.
“I was training and put down certain symptoms to perhaps overdoing it,” he says. “It was foolish to keep on running but I enjoy it, and it’s good for you. So yes, it masked the symptoms and it was probably picked up later and was a little more serious than it might have been.”
Even when his political career was at its nadir, Bannon had always relied on his personal strength and fitness. He ran for pleasure and had a proud record of completing at least one marathon a year for 29 years before dropping out mid-training in 2007 to fight for his life. It was the only time he had faced a serious health problem and it shook him to the core.
“It was a very confronting experience,” says Bannon, whose family suffered tragedy in 1959 when his brother was lost bushwalking in Wilpena Pound. “While I have had a number of personal and other traumas in my life, basically I have always had total confidence in my physical fitness so it was quite unnerving to find I had to attend to that as well.”
He has been cleared – touch wood, he says – and has begun some gentle marathon training. He has not abandoned hope of returning to the track but is not sure if he ever will. “Whether I can run a full marathon – I’m just letting myself work through that,” he says. “I haven’t officially retired yet.”
Rupert Murdoch’s control of Australian governments, law enforcement and politicians
Murdoch news media – fake archives of newspapers and corruption concealed – Australian politicians and law enforcement authorities living with the threat of being exposed now forced to continue as subordinates to Murdoch news media to participate in concealing crimes, corruption and maladministration of governments, law enforcement and news media.
Text from the news article ‘The best I could do was not good enough’ published 27 February 2009
“near failure of the State Bank brought South Australia to the brink of bankruptcy. The man who was premier at the time is not here to talk about the past but accepts that at some point the elephant in the room will have to be acknowledged.”
Near failure of the State Bank? The State Bank of SA was bankrupt! South Australia could never repay its debts and received hundreds of millions of dollars from Australian taxpayers through Australia’s federal Labor government.
Former SA Premier/Treasurer John Bannon “is not here to talk about the past but accepts that at some point the elephant in the room will have to be acknowledged.”
“Bannon’s dilemma is wanting to talk about one thing, his book, but knowing that to do so he will also be asked about the bleak episode that saddled SA with a $3 billion debt”
“As the bank’s owner, the state was the guarantor of loans that became a $3 billion millstone that threatened its very existence. Bannon became the man who led the state into $3 billion debt.”
$3 billion debt? What is the source of this information? The debt is understated and unaccounted for with all details still concealed. Billions of dollars of SBSA debt, much of it “Off Balance Sheet”, became public debt never accounted for. Where did the money go?
“Bannon knew back in 1991 that he was in too deep to dig his way out.”
“As the cracks began to open up, Bannon gave private soundings to the media to confirm the devastating scale of the losses. “It was certainly a public matter and so it should have been,” Bannon says. “There was no point in hiding or minimising what was an acute situation.” ”
“The man who was premier at the time is not here to talk about the past but accepts that at some point the elephant in the room will have to be acknowledged.” – The “elephant in the room” has become a herd of elephants that has never been acknowledged and is a news media means to threaten politicians and governments that has existed for decades.
Adelaide South Australia news media of the time of the State Bank of SA bankruptcy ‘Billion Dollar Bailout’ [February 1991 newspaper headline erased from public records – the taxpayer bailout became billions of dollars] was Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd. newspaper publishing SA state monopoly that discouraged any consideration of the possible consequences of the 1984 altering of the Savings Bank of SA charter [SBSA 1848 to 1984 became the State Bank of SA in 1984] & claimed anyone who questioned the decisions [largely concealed by news media] was suffering from the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ wanting to see the bank, its Managing Director Tim Marcus Clark& the state fail to develop. [“develop or risk becoming an economic backwater” quote of Mng Dir. Clark erased from the now fake archives]
The fake records of Australian newspapers published, fraudulently sold by Australian state and national public libraries as authentic archives of newspapers published [also exported to British Libraries UK London], with newspaper articles published erased from the records (some merely altered), exist to conceal crimes, corruption and maladministration for the purpose of “hiding” and “minimizing” the “acute situation” that has become more acute with governments of both political parties dependent on Rupert Murdoch’s news media (in an alliance with the ABC) to perpetrate the deception of the public with Murdoch now in control of politicians and governments to the detriment of the Australian public.
John Bannon and Adelaide news media, largely Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper publishing SA state monopoly newspapers ‘The Advertiser’ and the ‘News’, must certainly have been aware of the impending financial disaster of the State Bank years before the February 1991 front page headline “Billion Dollar Bailout” that has been erased from the now fake ‘archives’ of newspapers published sold by Australian state & national public libraries and also exported to the UK & sold by British Libraries UK London.
Murdoch’s the ‘News’ newspaper [the first he ever owned] had already on 5 October 1989 published false and misleading information (William Turner bankruptcy – see below) that enabled the State Bank of SA to evade acknowledging its own bankruptcy. The debt was to continue to accumulate for more than a year.
The May 1989 front page headline “State Bank $200 Mill. Loan to Equiticorp NZ” of ‘The Advertiser’ has been erased from the records of newspapers published that are now fake archives of newspapers published. Tim Marcus Clark was Managing Director of the State Bank of South Australia and Equiticorp NZ. The $200 Million loan of 1986 is part of the unspecified billions of dollars that was never recovered. The State Bank of SA bankruptcy debt that became public debt has never been accounted for and details of where the money went have never been made public.
On the 2nd October 1990 Adelaide’s ‘The Advertiser’ published the news article headlined “State Bank silent on mystery firm” referring to ‘Kabani’ as [illegally deemed] “Off Balance Sheet” of the State Bank of South Australia. SBSA’s “Off Balance Sheet” company ‘Kabani’ was purportedly said to be worth $100 million according to SA Premier/Treasurer John Bannon’s speech to SA’s parliament. ‘The Advertiser’ newspaper was “unable to find anything about Kabani, why it was formed or what it does.” but SA parliamentary opposition members “reiterated” “that it would continue to seek full details of the origins of Kabani and its financial dealings”. Nothing more was ever heard of Kabani. I had in June 1989 provided information on the State Bank of SA’s ‘Kabani’ relationship/ownership of the Marino Rocks marina developers’ companies Mintern [Alan Burloch] and Creswtin [William Turner] to SA member of parliament for my electorate of ‘Waite’, Shadow Treasurer Stephen Baker MP. I did not know that it was deemed “Off Balance Sheet” of SBSA at that time in 1989. He advised me that he could not raise the issues of any impropriety [the dangerous multiple level involvement of SBSA Chairman, Kabani and BFC Director David Simmons and his law firm Thompson Simmons & Co. – described below] because he “would be accused of politicizing the bank”.
SA Shadow Treasurer Stephen Baker MP was able to reap the rewards & became SA state Treasurer by doing nothing to minimize the damage caused by the financial disaster created by mismanagement of SA state finances by his political opponents. The 1984 decision to alter the charter of the Savings Bank of SA [1848 to 1084] to create the State Bank of SA was endorsed by politicians of both political parties’ able to form governments in our two party system of parliament that is referred to as a democracy. The two political parties don’t keep each other honest but instead compete for the patronage of Rupert Murdoch who controls Australian news media and thereby governments and law enforcement.
In February 1991 the State Bank of SA announced its bankruptcy with ‘The Advertiser’ newspaper front page headline “Billion Dollar Bailout” [since erased from records of newspapers published – the fake archives] after news articles were published referring to the changing number & value of SBSA’s “Off Balance Sheet” companies with no reference to the original OBS Kabani. These news articles have since been erased from the fake archives of newspapers but a news article published 11 February 1991 with the headline “Warning signs were there for more than 14 months” referring to the previous news articles published [since erased], still exists within the fake archives. Evidence exists that they were published & the fact that they do not exist within the newspaper archives demonstrates that the archives are fake.
When publishing the ‘News’ 5 October 1989 front page headline “The man behind SA’s great marina fiasco” with its false and misleading information [Turner’s bankruptcy file 1085 of 1990 starts 6 July 1990] Rupert Murdoch & his Adelaide SA newspaper editors must surely have known about Turner’s debt to SBSA and the “Off Balance Sheet” company ‘Kabani’ [illegal but never prosecuted] arrangements of SBSA’s ownership of the marina developers’ companies Crestwin (of W. Turner) and Mintern (of Alan Burloch). From where did the false and misleading information published come from?
Never publicly disclosed information on SBSA’s “Off Balance Sheet” relationship, through ‘Kabani’, to the Marino Rocks marina developers Alan Burloch and William Turner [& Turner’s company Pro-Image Studios Ltd.] appears below beneath the 27 February 2009 published news article headlined “The best I could do was not good enough” that is now inaccessible having recently been subject to the Murdoch news media paywall. It had been accessible throughout 2015 without paying for a subscription to newspaper.
The fact that the extraordinary information published by ‘News’ on 5 October 1989 under the front page headline “The man behind SA’s great marina fiasco” –
Turner while purportedly bankrupt sells his assets to Burloch, while Premier/Treasurer Bannon claimed in a speech to SA’s parliament that there was no information that “in any way questions the financial viability of Crestwin” “As to the financial substance of the principals and owners, we have made our own investigations and we are quite satisfied”, Mr Bannon said. & through an unidentified spokesman said “there had been no financial loss to taxpayers so far, nor was there likely to be any.”
– was not pursued by Murdoch’s or any other news media despite SA parliament’s “Opposition legal affairs spokesman, Mr Griffin” quoted as questioning the SA government’s and Premier/Treasurer Bannon’s competence, does raise the question of the newspapers’ involvement in knowingly concealing financial impropriety that if pursued could have prevented SA’s eventual SBSA bankruptcy financial disaster costing unaccounted for billions of dollars.
The claim that Turner was bankrupt in October 1989 when this news article was published is false. Turner’s bankruptcy file 1085 of 1990 [Victoria] did not start until 6 July 1990 during the following financial year [starting 1 July 1990] ending 30 June 1991. Turner’s bankruptcy was complete 6 July 1993 after which he was in September 1993* charged by the Australian Securities Commission [ASC] with financial crimes that were never prosecuted*. Australian bankruptcy law has since changed & been & extended from three to seven years.
*Newspaper articles on William Turner’s Australian Securities Commission financial crimes charges were published in Murdoch’s Adelaide newspaper ‘The Advertiser’ but have since been erased from the records of newspapers published. [See ASC media releases 27 September 1993 ASC 93/225 Turner Pro- Image Studios & 10 November 1995 ASC 95-177 Pro-Image Turner] – I requested the ASC media releases only because I was aware of the information having read it in newspaper articles that no longer exist within the fake archives of newspapers published.
Basic investigative journalism should have identified Turner’s Directorship of the company Pro-Image Studios Ltd. with its 1987/88 financial year misreporting of profits “of almost $20 million” “when in fact a loss of approximately $2 million was disclosed in the management accounts” (ASC Derek Parker 1995 http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/conferences/business/parker.pdf The Pro-Image Studios Ltd. 1987/88 fraud information while never published or broadcast in any news media was certainly known to SBSA management and SA Premier/Treasurer Bannon, and likely known to Adelaide’s ‘The Advertiser & the ‘News’ newspapers. While considered as not news worthy would possibly have been seen as useful for future manipulation of politicians.
Why Murdoch’s the ‘News’ newspaper [the first he ever owned] considered William Turner’s purported bankruptcy worthy of this front page news article, with its false information published, is deserving of an explanation. Was it a form of revenge on William Turner for using the $20 Million loan to Pro-Image Studios Ltd. from SBSA [never to be repaid] to falsely claim a Pro-Image Studios Ltd. 1987/88 financial year profit “of almost $20 million”? SBSA could not pursue recovery of the money through bankruptcy courts without public disclosure of the SBSA [illegal “Off Balance Sheet” ‘Kabain’] relationship to Crestwin, and the Pro-Image Studios Ltd. loan, both of which have been concealed.
From the news article “The best I could do was not good enough” appearing above –
John Bannon “I wasn’t interested in writing memoirs or tedious explanations or defences of my record,” he says. “I don’t think that’s the place of someone who has been in public life. Many see it as their duty but the end result is unfortunately often self-serving, defensive and not terribly enlightening. Better for others to comment and probe.”
Australian news media is involved in concealing crimes, corruption & maladministration [of law enforcement, governments, politicians & news media] and the deception of the Australian public and doesn’t see any need to ‘comment and probe’ on any State Bank of SA bankruptcy impropriety & crimes. Murdoch’s Australian news media and the ABC are aware of the evidence of the fake ‘archives’ of newspapers published that assist to conceal Australian corruption and that the fake ‘archives’ have been exported to foreign countries.
Murdoch’s News Corp. Australia and the ABC [virtually 100% of news media in South Australia] decline to comment, reply or acknowledge any correspondence on their corruption and the evidence of impropriety that they have been provided.
Former South Australian Premier/Treasurer Dr John Bannon, academic, historian and President of the History Council of Australia, appointed to the Board of Australia’s taxpayer funded national broadcaster the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Adjunct Professor of the University Adelaide Law School was appointed as Chairman of National Archives of Australia Advisory Council with fellow NAAC committee member Adelaide Law School Dean, Professor John Williams. Both Dr Bannon and Professor Williams both refuse to indicate if they can or cannot remember the newspaper articles [e.g.headline “Billion Dollar Bailout” etc.] that have been erased from the records of newspaper published and that are sold as ‘archives’ by Australian state and national public libraries. http://blogs.adelaide.edu.au/law/2011/05/31/the-hon-dr-john-bannon-newly-appointed-chair-of-the-national-archives-of-australia-advisory-council/
Below- Email 9 September 2011 from the National Archives Australia Advisory Council Director General (A/g) Stephen Ellis in reply to email sent to NAAAC Chairman John Bannon & committee member Adelaide University Professor John Williams
RE: False records of Australian newspapers published sold from Australian libraries. correction to previous email sent. [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
from Stephen Ellis firstname.lastname@example.org
to Roger Bates <email@example.com>,
Professor John Williams National Archives of Australia advisory council <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 7:23 AM
subject RE: False records of Australian newspapers published sold from Australian libraries. [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
Important mainly because of the words in the message.
hide details Sep 9 (1 day ago)
Dear Mr Bates – thank you for drawing my attention to the matters you have raised in the emails you have sent recently to me and to Dr John Bannon concerning newspaper reports relating to the Bank of South Australia. I must advise that the National Archives of Australia has no legal authority to take any action in relation to these matters nor to make any public declarations about such matters. The Commonwealth Archives Act only gives the National Archives authority in relation to records of the Commonwealth government and the newspaper articles to which you refer do not fall into that category of records. Consequently neither I as Director General nor DrBannon as Chairman of the National Archives Advisory Council can take action in this matter. If you are concerned to pursue the matters further I suggest that a more fruitful avenue might be to raise them with the State government authorities in South Australia or with the Press Council of Australia.
Director General (A/g)
Note ref. email above – 2016 Premier of South Australia [previously Premier/Treasurer] Jay Weatherill MP was a SA MP in Premier/Treasurer John Bannon’s government & refuses to indicate his recollection of events. SA and Australian federal Members of Parliaments & governments past and present of both political parties, including Attorneys general Brandis [LNP] & Dreyfus [ALP] and Prime Ministers Julia Gillard [ALP], Tony Abbott & Malcolm Turnbull, are aware of the facts of their own and each other’s’ corruption & refuse to respond to any correspondence. Indications [emails from the APC 2012] of the Australian Press Council knowledge of and involvement in Australian news media corruption can be viewed at https://rjrbtsrupertsfirstnewspaper.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/australian-newspapers-news-articles-published-erased-from-the-now-fake-records-of-newspapers-published-sold-as-archives-also-exported-to-the-uk-listed-incomplete/ Emails from the Australian Press Council’s Jack Herman indicate the APC’s knowledge & understanding of its APC news media membership corruption & state “The matters remain outside the Council’s remit. Apart from bringing your concerns o the newspaper’s attention, which I have done, there is no further action I can take.”
The Marino Rocks marina and the State Bank of South Australia connection in brief
The bankruptcy of the State Bank of South Australia – its illegal “Off Balance Sheet” companies’ debt details never publicly disclosed and SA public debt still concealed
In 1983 the Savings Bank of South Australia (SBSA established in 1848 – a SA state government guarantee of deposits was never used) celebrated achieving one billion dollars in customer deposits.
In 1984 the Savings Bank of SA was renamed the State Bank of SA & its charter changed to allow more risk in its business practices.
In 1985 the new State Bank of SA purchased Beneficial Finance Corporation for one billion dollars.
In 1986 SBSA’s Tim Marcus Clark, in several single pages on his SBSA Managing Director letterhead addressed to ‘Dear State Banker’ (not sent to all staff as implied), boasted of new Corporate loans & acquisitions that included;
Two $200 million loans to the National Safety Council of Australia [Victoria NSCA*], a $200 million loan to Equiticorp NZ, the purchase for $80 million of Oceanic Capital Corp., the purchase of part of companies named in news media as developers of a marina to be built at Marino Rocks (details summarized below) & other, all of which soon became ‘non-performing loans’ and bad debt that became public debt never recovered and concealed from taxpayers.
[Victoria NSCA* later exposed as a Ponzi scheme – Pyramid scam]
Marino Rocks marina State Bank of South Australia connection – Taxpayer debt concealed. How taxpayers have concealed from them, the fact that they have paid tens of millions of dollars for a marina development that does not exist.
ERASED**in the following information, denotes that the information was published in “The Advertiser” newspaper and has been erased from newspaper archives. (discovered as erased in 2004)
1986 – 1987 and later events #DS – denotes David Simmons as Director. (TS 2%) – denotes 2% held in trust by solicitors Thompson Simmons & Co.
#DS State Bank of South Australia (SBSA) (D.Simmons Chairman of the Board of Directors.)
#DS Beneficial Finance Corporation (BFC wholly owned by SBSA)
#DS KABANI – acknowledged as “Off Balance Sheet” of BFC – SBSA Oct.1990 Australian law enforcement financial regulation authorities’ (& then ASC) reporting, not required.
(TS 2%) MINTERN. 1986 Alan Burloch paid (via KABANI) $20Mill. for 49% of MINTERN (info. 1986)
(TS 2%)CRESTWIN. 1986 William Turner paid (via KABANI) $10Mill. for 49% of CRESTWIN (info. 1986)
(TS 2%) MINTERN <“some cross ownership”>CRESTWIN (TS 2%) (info. 1986)
MARINO ROCKS MARINA (Developers Turner and Burloch) SBSA – BFC connection to Turner, Burloch, the Marino Rocks marina & associated debt has never been publicly disclosed.
1986 – 1987 Environment Minister Lenehan (Bannon govt.) exempts marina development from Environmental Impact Statement (ABC TV 7-30 Report only)
1986 William Turner as Director of Pro Image Studios borrows $20Mill. from SBSA (info. 1986)
1987/88 “Pro-Image Studios Ltd. records a profit of almost $20 million for the financial year 1987/1988” “a loss of approximately $2 million was disclosed in the management accounts” (ASC Derek Parker 1995 information was never reported by news media) http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/conferences/business/parker.pdf (info. found 2014)
ERASED**1989 May News Ltd.’s ‘The Advertiser’ newspaper publishes a front page news article headlined “State Bank $200 Mill Loan to Equitcorp NZ” (Mng. Director Tim Marcus Clark common to both SBSA &Equitcorp NZ – the debt eventually became public debt never recovered.
29 May 1989 My employment with SBSA was terminated
1989 Oct. 5th. front page (afternoon daily News) “William Turner announces he is Bankrupt” News Ltd.’s the ‘News’ newspaper published false & misleading information in a news article headlined “The man behind SA’s great marina fiasco” (see file ‘Turner 5 Oct 1989 Adelaide PM News Ltd.’)” Alan Burloch buys Turners assets “for some Millions of Dollars” (news article appears below)
1989 Oct. 6 – SBSA paid my Mortgage Loan in full by SBSA (an interest rate of 30% p.a. had been applied for the previous 4 months)
1990 Oct. State Bank of SA announces that it has “Off Balance Sheet Entities” – ‘Kabani’ (file ‘Kabani 2.10.1990’ appears below)
1990 Dec. Burloch withdraws from Marino Rocks marina Development (tax problem – file ‘Burloch 18.12.90’)
ERASED** 1991 Feb. SBSA announces that its “Off Balance Sheet Entities” through BFC** have Assets greater than Liabilities. THEN a few days later
ERASED** announces that its “Off Balance Sheet Entities” have an overall debt of $31 Million with Assets Less than Liabilities (Located UK. July 2011 unable to obtain a copy – copy machine broken but still referred to in file ’11 Feb 1991 pg 6 SBSA’ below – a news article referring to previous news articles published)
ERASED** 1991 Feb. SBSA published announcement need for “Billion Dollar Bailout” (The front page newspaper headline that has been erased from publicly accessible records refers to the first Billion $s)
Turner Bankruptcy File (Victoria) No. 1085 of 1990 indicates Turner NOT Bankrupt Oct. 1989. File No. 1085 of 1990 indicates bankrupt 6th. July 1990 to 6th. July 1993. File also indicates Turner has a debt of $30 Million but has no indication of his creditors.
Question ? – Is the Turner bankruptcy debt the same “Off Balance Sheet’ debt Announced by SBSA in Feb. 1991 ? (Now removed from archives) Yes it is!
Turner Bankruptcy debt from 6th. July 1990 would need to be “On Balance Sheet” for SBSA – BFC to be written off for financial year ending 30th. June 1991.
March – April 1991 Supreme Court of Victoria Judgment CTB BNZ v Pro-Image Studios debt http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?DocID=JUD%2F4ACSR586%2F00002 “The company is insolvent.” but permitted to continue to operate. The original court file has been “lost” – CTB & BNZ retrieve $46 million – see Summary of this website below [Unsecured creditors would likely include the State Bank of South Australia] (This ato.gov.au website information was found 2014)
ERASED** 1993 Sept. William Turner – discharged Bankrupt 6th. July 1993 charged by the Australian Securities Commission (ASC) with multiple breaches of the companies’ code. (see ASC Media Release ref. ASC 93/225 that News Ltd. Published word for word in a news article that is now erased from records of newspapers published – file ‘ASC.Turner Pro- Image 27.9.1993’
ERASED** 1995 Nov. All Australian Securities Commission (ASC) charges against William Turner dropped. No explanation provided. See ASC Press Release file ‘ASC 95-177 Pro-Image Turner 10 Nov 1995’ appearing below (The ASC has lost my correspondence of 2005 but provided the ASC Press Release ASC 95-177 (appearing below) in 2015
ERASED** 1995 Nov. SA State Treasurer (Stephen Baker. Liberal party MP for my SA electorate of ‘Waite’) announced an unexpected improvement to the State’s finances of $20 Million, no details of origin were given – Treasurer Baker promised to announce origin “in a couple of months’ time” but failed to do so. SA Treasurer Baker & all others since (& SA MPs of both political parties) refuse to indicate their recollection of events & newspaper articles published reporting them. SA MPs in 1980s & 1990s when news articles (now erased) were published are MPs in government & opposition now in 2015.
2015 The Australian Securities & Investment Commission ASIC has evaded acknowledging specific issues raised of crimes, corruption & maladministration of Australian law enforcement including impropriety of ASIC Chief Legal officer Michael Kingston* – then refused to allow my further communication with ASIC – An ASIC letterhead letter dated 4 March 2015 from an unidentified author, referred to as “our finalisation letter”, states “Our records confirm that Pro-Image Studios was deregistered on 19 December 2014.” “Further, ASIC does not intend to comment on the actions of our predecessor, the ASC’s conduct of enforcement proceedings.” see ASIC letter 4 March 2015 ASIC ref. 4345/15 file ‘ASIC 4 March 2015 ref. 4345-15’ (below) the author unidentified. ASIC Chief Legal officer Michael Kingston* does not acknowledge delivery of my correspondence.
Inter-company loans of BFC (& illegal “Off Balance Sheet” companies of changing value) were considered assets for accounting purposes. No provision was made for any bad debt losses. Inflated values of assets concealed bad debts known to be unrecoverable.
The Marino Rocks marina developers have never been reported in the media as linked to or in debt to SBSA. Their debts (to taxpayers) have been secretly written off. Information appearing above concerning SBSA’s relationship to the Marino Rocks marina developers has twice (July 1991 & August 1994) been edited from my sworn testimony of the forum in which I had given it.
End of summary of events State Bank of South Australia bankruptcy & news articles erased ……………..
The citizens of South Australia provided Rupert Murdoch with the start of his media empire with the first newspaper he ever owned the ‘News’ which has published false and misleading information enabling the State Bank of SA’s debt, that eventually become public debt, to accumulate to many billions of dollars. Rupert Murdoch’s news media has betrayed South Australians by enabling concealment of failures to enforce laws [Illegal SBSA “Off Balance Sheet” companies and debt] by the publishing of false information and further betrays us with fake archives of newspapers published intended to conceal the crimes, corruption and maladministration related to the unaccounted for debt created by the bankruptcy of the State Bank of SA that could & should have been avoided by honest, ethical journalism exposing the financial mismanagement before it became billions of dollars of debt that could never be repaid.
Governments and politicians of both political parties benefit from the deception of the public. Murdoch’s corrupt control of governments, politicians and law enforcement [now indebted to him] has priority over any imagined loyalty to Australian consumers of his news media who have become victims of his crimes of deception.
Rupert Murdoch’s Australian news media news articles written by journalist Nick Cater – Adelaide’s ‘The Advertiser’ newspaper during the years that news articles erased from the now fake archives were published – referred to in the WordPress website blog https://rjrbtsrupertsfirstnewspaper.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/nick-cater-bbc-career-and-intolerance-of-news-media-inaccuracies/ and that have also become inaccessible by News Corp. Australia’s paywall [subscribe to access] appear below. Nick Cater is now the Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre a Liberal Party of Australia “independent think tank” that claims to “undertake research into policy issues which will enhance the principles of liberty, free speech, competitive enterprise, limited government and democracy.”
Aunty, stick to the facts
February 01, 2014 12:00AM
THE art of good reporting is to let the facts speak for themselves. First, however, the facts must be discovered. It is the ABC’s inability to accomplish this most basic task that is compromising the integrity of its news service.
Recent reports that Australian naval officers tortured asylum-seekers demonstrate how far news reporting has strayed from the fundamental principle that, in the reporter’s reasonable judgment, the facts presented are true.
The only facts so far established beyond reasonable doubt are that some asylum-seekers returned to Indonesia with burns on their hands and that they have alleged rough treatment while their boat was being turned back. Beyond that there is nothing but conjecture and assertion, elements that previous generations of reporters would have instinctively spiked or buried towards the bottom of the story with heavy qualification.
The recent documentary One PM Central Standard Time, tracing CBS TV’s live coverage of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, is a reminder of standards that were once meticulously observed. When Walter Cronkite goes live to air on the morning of November 22, 1963, all he is prepared to state as fact is the eyewitness account of a news agency journalist: “In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at the president’s motorcade.”
Even when CBS’s own reporter Dan Rather tells the newsroom the president is dead, Cronkite attributes the report to Rather with the qualification that it had yet to be confirmed.
In the ABC’s coverage of border security, however, the distinction between facts and assertions is difficult to spot. Scepticism, an essential tool in the reporter’s kitbag, is absent altogether. The field test for truthfulness – the commonsense test – is rarely applied.
Peter Lloyd’s introduction to a report from Fiona Ogilvie on PM last October, for example, began with an unqualified statement: “An asylum-seeker being held in detention on Nauru is expecting twins.” Yet the assertions in the story were contested.
The Sydney Morning Herald had reported 10 days earlier that the woman was seven months pregnant and living “in tents in temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius and above”. Lloyd and Ogilvie claimed the asylum-seeker was six months pregnant and confined to a tent “where daytime temperatures can reach 50 degrees”.
Without empirical evidence, the temperature inside the tent can only be guessed at, but it is a matter of record that daytime temperatures on Nauru in October and never rose above 29C.
Towards the end of the story, Ogilvie casually throws into another alleged fact. “PM understands that there is another woman on Nauru who is pregnant, also with twins, and that she has diabetes.”
Eight days later, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison flatly denied the story, urging journalists to “more thoroughly interrogate the sorts of claims that are represented to you”.
Yet the ABC had invested too much in the multiple pregnancy to give up, and on AM on November 8 reported that an asylum-seeker flown from Nauru “gave birth via caesarean section in a hospital in Brisbane”. The mother was a “Rohingya woman from Myanmar”, AM reported. In previous reports she was identified as Iranian.
We also discover she gave birth to only one baby. Presenter Tony Eastley tells us the woman “was told after undergoing scans on Nauru that she was having twins, but it wasn’t until she was brought to Australia that she discovered that wasn’t the case”.
This incredible claim fails the believability test. A mother who had undergone scans in her final weeks of pregnancy and was misdiagnosed as carrying twins. Can anyone suggest a similar case of an obstetrician seeing double?
And what of the second woman on Nauru who “PM understands” is also pregnant with twins? That claim, as best as we can establish, has never been repeated, but neither has it been corrected. The story is left floating in a soup of “truthiness” – assertions one wishes to be true, as opposed to facts known to be true.
Like the multiple-birth mystery, the “facts” of the recent turn-back story are fluid.
On January 8, Lloyd reports the claims of a Sudanese man, speaking by phone, who claims in broken English to have been in a party that was transferred on to navy ships by force. “They take them aboard and then they beat them,” claims his interviewee.
Two weeks later, George Roberts reports that “some passengers were forced by the navy to hold on to hot metal” and that “the local police chief backs the asylum-seekers’ story”.
Yesterday AM reported that “new details have emerged” about the incident. However, they are merely new allegations by a 20-year-old Somali man. They are difficult to reconcile with earlier reports of asylum-seekers being beaten “in an un-human way”.
He describes “two arguments” and then says he was “sprayed in the eyes”. “I couldn’t see anything, I stumbled on the engine and my hand got burnt.”
At last an account is emerging that sounds essentially believable. The navy intercepts asylum-seekers who are reluctant to turn back. An argument occurs in the engine room; navy officers fear that it may get out of hand; capsicum spray is used (“I felt a pain like chillies went in my eyes,” the asylum-seeker claims); and an accident occurs.
Arriving at an approximation of the truth through an interminable series of assertions and counter-assertions is a destructive way for reporters to go about their tasks, particularly when the ABC refuses to acknowledge its mistakes along the way. Inattention to facts and absence of rigorous examination is a consequence of the descent into activist journalism. The details on asylum-seekers or the environment are unimportant; it is the message that counts.
What happened to the vast “Pacific garbage patch”, the “plastic stew” floating between Hawaii and San Francisco, covering an area larger than Australia?
The ABC reported prominently in 2007 that it contained 40 times more plastic than plankton. The ABC seems not to have broadcast the respected report from oceanographers at Oregon State University four years later who found the amount of plastic in the ocean had been wildly exaggerated.
“It is simply inaccurate to state that plastic outweighs plankton, or that we have observed an exponential increase in plastic,” said assistant professor Angelicque White.
“This kind of exaggeration undermines the credibility of scientists.”
Indeed. And that of broadcasters too.
……. Also by Mick Cater – Journalism giving up on the search for truth
The Australian November 02, 2013 12:00AM
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is keeping the media pack on a long leash, but it’s a laissez-faire approach rather than a bid to control. Picture: Kym Smith Source: TheAustralian
THE information austerity drive is hurting. The political press pack, deprived of the government’s attention, is crying out to be fed.
James Massola in The Australian Financial Review predicts the government eventually will be “mugged by reality”, declaring “the news business has changed and, with it, so has the business of governing”.
The ABC’s Barrie Cassidy writes that Tony Abbott’s approach “is working just fine now”, but adds a warning: “The political class will eventually claim back their relevance.”
Yet the grumbles about this exceptionally unforthcoming administration mask a problem closer to home. It is not the government that is in trouble but the news industry itself.
Journalism has succumbed to a culture of dependency and is losing that most basic of skills: the ability to nail the facts.
Criticism of the government’s so-called media-management strategy misses the point; Abbott’s approach is less a case of management and more of laissez faire.
The Rudd and Gillard administrations took a Keynesian approach, intervening heavily in the market and attempting to control the flow of news. It invested heavily in a state-owned media enterprise, the ABC, encouraging it to compete more aggressively with the private sector.
When all else failed, it tried to regulate the market through legislation to control the press.
Abbott, by contrast, is behaving like an ultra-dry economic conservative and is letting the news market rip.
The critical condition of modern journalism has been exposed.
The commercial pressures on the industry are well known. Newsrooms have been hollowed out. The disinvestment in journalism has accelerated as Fairfax has trashed its Sydney and Melbourne mastheads. In no other industry would executives respond to falling demand by making the product worse. Yet this is the story of the news business during the past two decades.
The degeneracy of modern journalism cannot be blamed entirely on falling revenue, however. The decline in standards has been at least as bad in public-sector journalism; indeed, some would say it is worse.
The guides to reporters issued by newspapers early last century illuminate the loss of discipline in a profession that once held facts to be sacred.
A recruit at The Detroit News would be told in writing that “the only mission of a reporter” was “supplying his editors with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.
Speculation was forbidden. “NEVER GUESS,” the instructions read. “When you turn in your story KNOW that everything in that story is true.”
Today, the news industry is content to outsource information-gathering to public relations professionals and advocacy groups, accepting the facts they provide on trust.
Last month, for example, the ABC’s Peter Lloyd introduced an item on PM with the assertion: “An asylum-seeker being held in detention on Nauru is expecting twins.”
His next sentence betrayed his gullibility: “Advocates say the Iranian woman is six months pregnant.”
An advocate, in the view of the Macquarie Dictionary, is “one who defends, vindicates or espouses a cause”. Evidence offered by advocates may or may not be correct, but there is a high risk that it may be tainted.
Yet the credibility of Felicity Ogilvie’s subsequent story rested entirely on the testimony of Ali Mountfield, a representative of the Australian Multiple Birth Association and Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Commission.
Ogilvie claimed: “PM has been unable to verify it with the minister’s office.” Yet the minister’s office had made a statement that Lloyd read on the program: “The government does not respond to unsubstantiated claims about persons claimed to be resident at offshore processing facilities.”
At a press conference five days later, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison was asked again about the claim.
Morrison: This suggestion that there’s a pregnant woman with twins on Nauru is simply not true.
Question: They’re not there?
Morrison: It’s actually not true.
Question: So there’s no …
Morrison: … there is not a pregnant woman with twins on Nauru.
Question: We were told this by …
Morrison: … well, they are wrong.
In the ABC’s story, the onus of proof that would apply in a court of law had been reversed: the government is guilty until it can prove otherwise.
Morrison continued, somewhat testily: “This is why I’m stressing to you, I strongly suggest that the media should more thoroughly interrogate the sorts of claims that are being represented to you. That is a classic example. This suggestion that there has been a pregnant woman with twins on Nauru is simply not true.”
Press gallery veteran Laurie Oakes criticised the minister for his response in a column last weekend, saying: “Scott Morrison’s arrogance can be little short of breathtaking.”
Oakes claims journalists are in a “catch-22”, unable to check the facts because the government has shut off the flow of information. Yet Ogilvie and Lloyd’s report, which seemed to require neither of them to leave the office, is a parody of journalism. Information-gathering was outsourced to a partisan lobby group and fact-checking was outsourced to a partisan government. To cap it all, the press gallery squeals when the minister refuses to answer the question: When did you stop beating your wife?
The truth has become secondary to what American comedian Stephen Colbert calls “truthiness”, the selection of facts one wishes to be true, rather than facts known to be true.
The apparent consensus at the ABC that offshore detention is cruel and inhuman, and that the activists are fighting a noble cause, leaves no room for scepticism.
Former ABC chairman Maurice Newman says the concept of truth has largely been abandoned. “What passes for journalism these days shows no respect for the facts,” he says.
“It is particularly apparent in the reporting of issues like climate change, where the evidence simply doesn’t matter any more.”
Newman is highly critical of journalism schools: “Students who are not taught to be curious or approach a topic with an open mind will struggle to bring rigour to journalism.”
Tim Wilson, of the Institute of Public Affairs, says it is a mistake to think advocates for environmental, public health and other causes are objective sources.
“When was the last time you heard a taxpayer-funded activist argue everything’s fine, or there’s a problem and the solution is for the government to get out of the way?” he says.
“Advocates for paternalism have a predisposition to government interference. It is only which taxes, regulations and laws they want to use, rather than an assessment about whether they should be used in the first place.”
Journalists complain they lack the resources or expertise to check complex information when in fact there is a failure of basic common sense. The assertion that “smoking costs the community $31 billion a year”, for example, is regularly recycled by governments and lobby groups, and is frequently reported as fact by experienced journalists.
The figure is self-evidently ridiculous; if true, it would account for more than half the total federal government health budget.
Eric Crampton, an economist at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury, says only $312m of that figure represents costs to the health system.
“The vast majority of the costs included are the intangible costs of premature mortality: costs smokers impose upon themselves,” he says. “All up, the government is in pocket because of smokers’ contributions.”
He says journalists commonly assume that “good” groups campaigning for better health will not mislead them: “Journalists under time pressure don’t seem to look very closely at the big scary numbers.”
The casual outsourcing of news-gathering to activists was on display again this week, with the broadcasting of images provided by the group Animals Australia, purporting to show sheep being improperly slaughtered in the Middle East.
The ABC was prepared to take it on trust that the footage was shot in September in Jordanian streets, as the activists claim. Yet the provenance of any footage supplied in this manner should be treated with scepticism and, at the very least, should be screened with the caveat that it cannot be independently verified.
The naivety and lack of worldliness so often on display in news coverage is seeping into editorials that once provided a newspaper’s intellectual grunt.
Witness the thought bubble in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald demanding an “ethical test for spying” to ensure “the minimum possible impact on individuals and organisations”.
In a democratic system that relies on the news industry to hold institutions to account, journalistic timidity at senior levels comes at a high cost. The pusillanimous coverage of Kevin Rudd’s first term in government in much of the media meant his party’s decision to replace him in 2010 caught many voters by surprise.
Editors and journalists who broke from the pack during the Rudd years paid a high price. From June 2008, when The Australian ran its now famous “Captain Chaos” story by John Lyons, the newspaper came under intense pressure to pull back.
Government ministers openly attacked it, and corporate and commercial pressures were applied. The Australian’s critical examination of Labor’s policy failures, including the school building program and the National Broadband Network, heavily criticised by its competitors at the time, has been vindicated.
“If you start pulling your punches in the hope that the government will put you on the drip it’s game over,” says The Australian’s editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell. “It takes spine for a reporter to resist a government that is prepared to go to war with a newspaper that does not toe the line. The machinery of government is a powerful force. Yet the strong growth in subscriptions to The Australian over the term of the last government shows readers expect a newspaper to hold governments to account.”
The Australian’s motive, rather than the accuracy of its facts, was the principal avenue of attack for the Labor government and rival journalists as they sought to counter the extensive probe into the AWU slush fund matter and the involvement of former prime minister Julia Gillard.
The ABC’s Media Watch seized on comments from the SMH’s Peter Hartcher, who claimed The Australian was “dedicated to the destruction of the Labor government”. The program alleged The Australian’s reporters had been “aided by members of the Labor caucus”.
In a reply to then presenter Jonathan Holmes, The Australian’s Hedley Thomas demonstrated the absurdity of Hartcher’s premise by pointing out that story had been pursued by investigative journalists at other news organisations, including Fairfax’s Natalie O’Brien, who was “not a nut-job or a misogynist, or a feverish Gillard hater, or an employee of The Australian, or a tool of the Labor Party caucus”.
“There appears to be an abundance of Canberra-based commentators who express opinions about the reporting by others on important issues,” Thomas wrote. “These commentators do not appear to do investigations themselves. It is wrong and offensive to suggest that any of my reporting is motivated by The Australian’s so-called dedication, as Mr Hartcher described it, to ‘the destruction of the Labor government’.”
By abandoning the pursuit of truth, modern journalism appears to have fallen for the philosophical error that blights modern academe, the training ground for almost every recruit to the profession. The empirical route to knowledge through investigation, observation and reason is rarely respected. Instead, journalists have come to believe knowledge comes through revelation, a reversion to the pre-Enlightenment when the truth was revealed by the Almighty and mediated through his priesthood.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who uncovered the Watergate scandal, relied less on the benevolence of their famous “Deep Throat” than is commonly imagined. Deep Throat’s only role was to confirm what they had already established. The anarchist circus of WikiLeaks is not journalism as Woodward and Bernstein would understand it. The story that helped bring down president Richard Nixon was not magically “revealed”, as many assume. It took more than a year of forensic investigation to get to the truth.
Today’s journalists are content to let competing “truths” collide in he-said, she-said journalism that is as tedious as it is uninformative. It is pick-a-box journalism offering multiple “truths”, none of which is given any more weight than any other. When Tony Abbott announced before the 2010 election that he would expand the education tax rebate at a cost of $760m, for example, the response from Labor’s Simon Crean surprised no one: “Tony Abbott has created the first black hole for the Liberal Party in this campaign, and our conservative estimate is that the cost will be at least double.”
At that point most journalists left the story in the mistaken belief that by reporting claim and counterclaim their duties had been fully discharged. Yet The Australian, unfashionably, persisted in the pursuit of facts. Would Abbott’s policy cost $760m or more than $1.5bn? They could not both be right, but they could both be wrong, which turned out to be case.
The Coalition had assumed only half the eligible students would apply for the grant. Labor, on the other hand, had assumed it would be 80 per cent. The Coalition’s mistake was understandable. Eight days earlier, Gillard said 2.7 million students were eligible for the education tax refund, but only 1.4 million took it up. Her press release later gave different figures: 2.1 million and 1.7 million.
No one who has worked in a commercial newsroom in the past five years could underestimate the pressures of the business as it attempts to meet the challenges of fast-changing technology and shifting demand with fewer staff and resources.
The cuts have been brutal, yet this is, by nature, a labour-intensive business if it is to be properly executed. Undoubtedly, this is part of the explanation for the weakened state of the news business, but journalists are deluding themselves if they believe this is the full story. “This is a very interesting moment for journalism,” says Peter Fray, editor-in-chief of PolitiFact Australia and a former Fairfax editor. “It is a test not just of the business model, but of journalistic mettle. It offers the chance to restate what journalism is for and how it should be practised. We keep talking about the watchdog role of government – now let’s get out and do it.”
This week another example of the news industry’s inability to hold institutions to account came to light when The Australian broke the story of plans to remove the words “Known unto God” from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson had announced the change on September 18 at a lunch at the National Press Club to which every major news gatherer, including this one, had sent at least one reporter.
Yet none of the journalists present questioned Nelson about the plans afterwards and none of them reported the story. Michael Brissenden, ABC: “Why is it that the War Memorial continues to refuse to acknowledge the fierce battles between Australians and Australian Aborigines and pastoral settlers – the Frontier Wars?”
Mark Kenny, SMH: “I guess what I’m asking you is to reflect on whether we get the quality we expect out of our elected representatives, given that they’re, you know, earning $200,000 a year base salary?”
Kimberley Granger, the Canberra Weekly magazine: “How do you see the parking issue playing out for the Australian War Memorial?”
Granger, a local journalist, at least knew her audience. The rest of the pack had no excuse.
Nick Cater will address the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney on Thursday on the contribution of the Enlightenment to Australian settlement. Bookings at www.cis.org.au/events or by calling (02) 9438 4377.
If only US citizen, Australian “Hometown hero”, Rupert Murdoch could be informed of the fake archives of his Australian newspapers [Australia’s suppository of wisdom & knowledge] and the manner in which his subordinate employees, newspaper journalists, Editors & CEO’s have again deceived him, surely he would inform his news media consumers, demand that records of newspapers published be restored to genuine archival condition and fix the problem.
Rupert Murdoch is a threat to Australian and United Kingdom democracy that cannot exist in any real sense with his domination and control of politicians whom are dependent upon him to be elected & to conceal their maladministration of their governments of both political parties.
Rupert Murdoch’s South Australia newspaper publishing state monopoly newspapers the ‘News’ and ‘The Advertiser’
‘News 5 Oct 1989 false and misleading’ [pdf.]False and misleading information published 5 October 1989 – the front page headline ‘The man behind SA’s great marina fiasco” of the ‘News’ newspaper, the first newspaper Rupert Murdoch ever owned.
‘The Advertiser 11 Feb 1991 news articles erased – ref.s exist’ [pdf.] Page 6 11 Feb. 1991 The news article headlined “Warning signs were there for more than 14 months” refers to news articles previously published headlined “State Bank in loans setback” “Our companies in the red – State Bank” “58 firms in State Bank web” [ref. SBSA “Off Balance Sheet” companies – also the subject of news articles referred to in the text of “Warning signs were there for more than 14 months” news article as previously published – no longer existing in Australian & UK libraries’ fake ‘archives’ of newspapers published. SBSA illegal “Off Balance Sheet” companies were never mentioned again – the crimes never prosecuted and associated crimes concealed with published references erased from public records.
Also note the pathetic journalism [off subject shallow reporting – SBSA debt matters never pursued] of page 6 11 Feb. 1991 headline “A story full of mystery and failures” quote “The life and times of Timothy Marcus Clark reads like a book co-authored by Agatha Christie and Donald Trump”
BELOW – “State Bank silent on mystery firm” State Bank of South Australia’s “Off Balance Sheet” company ‘Kabani’ – news media, law enforcement authorities and politicians did nothing to pursue and inform the public on ‘the origins of Kabani and its financial dealings” despite the committment made by South Australian parliamentary Opposition party members of parliament. Shadow Treasurer Stephen Baker MP [for my electorate of ‘Waite’] was well aware of the State Bank of SA Kabani connection to the Marino Rocks development, the edevelopers SAlan Burlco and William Turner and the debts to SBSA of Turener’s Pro-Image Studio Ltd. More information on these news artciles and the crimes, corruption and maladministration concealed by the fake ‘archives’ of newspapers puiblished can be viewed at https://rjrbtsrupertsfirstnewspaper.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/timeline-of-australian-corruption-events-conceled-by-fake-archives-of-newspapers/