At a national level, the coordinating body of the Liberal Party is the Federal Council. It comprises 14 delegates from each state and the Australian Capital Territory. These include the State/Territory president, the State/Territory parliamentary leader, the president of the Young Liberal Movement, the president/chairman of the Women’s Council and 10 other delegates. Other members of the Federal Council include federal Parliamentary leaders and federal office bearers of the organisation1.
It is this council which voted to privatise the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), something I suggested some months ago may be on the cards2. They also voted to move the Australian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Julie Bishop stated that while she understood the sentiment (?), the embassy would not be moving. Despite her intervention, the motion passed 43 to 37. The motion to privatise the ABC was put by the Young Liberals and was passed overwhelmingly by the council. This was stated by one Liberal source as being due to the ascendancy of the conservatives3. This was demonstrated by the dumping of one of four Liberal vice-presidents, the moderate Trish Worth, replacing her with conservative Tina McQueen.
While this motion to privatise the ABC has been on the agenda of the right wing, big business lobbying organisation, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) for many years, this is the first time it has passed by a vote in a Liberal Party organisational sector. Of course senior Liberal parliamentarians including the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg, Scott Morrison and Mitch Fifield (the latter two are associated with the IPA) came out furiously denying that the ABC would be privatised4. This is only because this vote has given the Labor Party an excellent cudgel with which to beat the Liberals over the head during the next federal election campaign. If they are re-elected, you can bet your bottom dollar they will continue to run the ABC down by cutting funding, so the populace will become dissatisfied with its service, so at some time in the future, there will be less outrage when the possibility of privatisation is raised again. This is standard conservative practice for aiding their aim of privatisation5.
There is footage of the vote at the Federal Council meeting and some of the people who voted to privatise the ABC include at least four of the party’s top federal officials, and at least one federal MP, and there was broad applause when the motion was passed by 39 votes to 10. All of the Tasmanian delegation voted in favour of it, much to Eric Abetz’s delight. One of the four federal Liberal vice-presidents, Karina Okotel, voted in favour of privatisation. She is one of the religious nutter right who have effectively taken control of the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party. Hilariously, she stated that the “private sector produces content, faster, cheaper and more efficiently”6. It is clear from this she has not seen much of the dross which passes for entertainment, current affairs, or ‘documentaries’ on commercial television. All they are designed to do is sell advertising; nothing else.