One Nation’s fury at a perceived bias by the ABC has ratcheted-up a gear with threats the party will block almost all of the governments bills in the Senate – including the new media reforms – if it does not slash the broadcaster’s annual budget by $600 million a year.
The party’s senator Brian Burston has said One Nation will reject “all bills associated with the budget”, including the new media changes too, if the ABC’s budget isn’t culled. He added the only measure the party would support was a Medicare levy to support the National Disability Scheme.
“It’s about time we took a stand against the ABC because if it’s us and they destroy us, what is it next, the government? They’re showing total bias against One Nation,” Burston said, his comments reported in News Corp websites.
Burston agreed that the party’s strong stance could be seen as “payback” to the ABC who he believes regularly gives its leader Pauline Hanson and other party members a tough time. Hanson has since refused to give any interviews to ABC journalists.
However, the party’s belligerent stance isn’t winning it any fans in Canberra.
Nationals senator John Williams said any cuts to the ABC would hurt regional areas most.
“Holding a gun at the nation’s head with our fiscal policies and programs because a government- owned body such as the ABC, which operates a long arm’s length from government, is giving them a carpeting over some issues? That is crazy,” Williams said.
While independent senator Derryn Hinch argued that just because One Nation didn’t like the ABC’s reporting to tie that to “Australia’s future then that is obscene.”