It was a big night for the ABC. Hopefully, a good sign that Auntie is recovering her courage in the lead up to a possible change of government. Two stories, one which began on Media Watch and was also covered on Lateline, and another Lateline exclusive, both expose serious issues of malfeasance in the everyday practice of the media and the government.
The Government Gazette’s “colour writer”, Caroline Overington, may have gone a step too far and exposed the cynical manipulation of coverage in that rag in order to influence election results through her amazingly dumb email to Wentworth independent anti pulp mill candidate Danielle Ecuyer. Overington offered a front page in exchange for Ecuyer directing her preferences to Turnbull. Ecuyer pointed out on Lateline that Overington had previously sought to manufacture stories about her, and she believed that she was being offered a serious inducement to direct her preferences the Minister’s way. Overington’s flip lack of subtlety may have exposed the true nature of the News Ltd flagship – a player in the political process rather than a reporter of events – and is now the subject of a complaint from Ecuyer to the AEC.
Lateline also broke the tragic and heartrending story of Tony Tran, victim of another immigration scandal whose life has been absolutely trashed with impunity by the administrative heartlessness of DIMIA. As Tony Jones observed, immigration and “border protection” have barely surfaced as issues in this campaign. With the legacy of Hicks, Haneef, Rau and Solon coming back to haunt them, it’s no wonder they’re topics the government barely wants to discuss. But let’s hope other parties highlight Mr Tran’s plight in an attempt to hold this government accountable for the routine horrors of which it’s consistently proved capable.