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Byron Shire
June 20, 2021

Fraser accuses ALP of ‘media control’

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Nationals Richmond MP Matthew Fraser falsely accused sitting member Justine Elliot of controlling local media at last night’s Richmond candidates forum, to the disgust of many in the audience.

The comments came in an otherwise set-piece question time, where candidates trotted out well-rehearsed answers to a largely predictable series of questions for the forum, hosted by the Byron Shire Echo and MCd by Mungo MacCallum at the Byron Bay Community Centre..

But Mr Fraser went off-message while responding to a question from the floor about the Murdoch press’s campaign against the ALP, and Kevin Rudd in particular.

Despite his party having overwhelmingly benefited from the media magnate’s unrelenting campaign against his opponents, Mr Fraser painted himself as the underdog.

‘The local media are basically run by the Labor Party,’ he told an incredulous audience, including shareholders of The Echo, who loudly corrected him.

He went on to condemn his opponent’s use of advertising that attacked his position on CSG, among other things, describing the advertisements as ‘shameful’.

But Ms Elliot was not about to let the matter slide, describing his comments as ‘outrageous and bizarre’, and adding, ‘The Byron Echo ain’t controlled by anybody,’ to loud applause.

Ms Elliot said that she ‘put those information pages in papers, because they provide jobs for people in the papers, unlike the Nationals who have their election material printed out of the electorate’.

After the forum, Mr Fraser told Echonetdaily his comments were not referring to Echo Publications but the APN stable and its Daily News website in particular.

‘An acquaintance of mine works for the Daily News and she wrote an article that was not entirely flattering of Justine. Her people called up and threatened the paper with a lawsuit if it wasn’t taken down,’ he said.

Ms Elliot has a different memory of the event.

The Daily News at the time was not moderating comments on its articles. Some comments had been posted on an article about me that accused me of corruption, among other crimes too disgusting to repeat. Naturally I asked to have the comments taken down, and they agreed,’ she told Echonetdaily.

But Mr Fraser and Ms Elliot were not the only ones to take a swing at the media at last night’s meeting.

Palmer Uniting Party’s Phil Allen accused Fairfax of also supporting the ALP.

‘Our leader has been the only person to take on Murdoch. There’s a duopoly in the press and in politics. Murdoch has given us a hard time, lampooning us. Fairfax have also been bad, supporting Labor more than anyone else. It’s Coles and Woolworths. Major news outlets won’t tell you about what other options are available,’ he told the meeting.

And independent candidate Kevin Skinner went so far as to accuse the ABC of bias.

‘The ABC invited the ALP, Nats and Greens to an election forum – but no invitation was sent to the independents. The ABC didn’t do the right thing democratically. It later rang up and asked me if I wanted to make a comment but I declined as I said I should have been on the panel. The country shouldn’t be run by two parties but by a democratically elected group of people,’ he told the meeting.

Ms Elliot said she had been ‘quite offended by the Murdoch papers, how they’ve campaigned so directly. I think we should look at media laws as to how they could change. I’m also unhappy that the GetUp ad was refused screening on every TV station. I would like to see further action on this issue.’

It fell to the Greens’ Dawn Walker to make a lonely defence of at least one media outlet.

‘One institution we need to preserve is the ABC. And it is well supported by Greens policy, ensuring they are there and giving some sort of balance,’ she told the meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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5 COMMENTS

  1. At the first sign that a third party might be gaining the public’a favourable attention the two major parties unleash the hyenas of the press/media. Absolutely no third party must be allowed to exist.

    The only time both parties have ever joined forces and worked so well together was when Pauline Hanson received 24% of the vote and scared the bejesus outa them. She became Australia’s first and only ever political prisoner.

    Clive Palmer is next on the list. Clive Palmer is no novice to politics. He has spent the past couple of decades involved in politics and knows intimately how the racket works. He struck at the heart of the duopoly when he said that if elected he would get rid of the lobbyists ( the powers behind tweedledumb and tweedledumber).

    Should the Palmer’s United Party gain seats or a high vote count, just watch how the media will continue their bullying tactics at Palmer throughout the next government tenure to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    .

  2. I hope Justine Elliot is slammed in the votes. She has done nothing for the lower half of the electorate. I would vote for anyone who supports the ABC because they do offer a balanced view unlike the newspapers. The media has too much influence in this country and it is about time someone had the guts to stand up to them.

  3. We were at the forum which was not particularly well attended which was a pity as it was an excellent opportunity to hear what the candidates actually had to say for themselves without media interpretation. Fraser performed very badly, struggling between party blah blah and what he actually might have thought in response to a good range of questions from the floor. There has been too much rhetoric pre election and the audience was in no mood to let him get away with this. Dawn Walker was measured and intelligent and impressive as was the Independent and surprisingly (for me) the Palmer United candidate.
    Justine’s indignant response and her head shaking didn’t impress me and it seemed quite childish and undignified but it was such a worthwhile exercise, thanks to Mungo and The BSC Community Centre for making it happen. We are very fortunate to have had a chance to make up our own minds where our votes will go without the duopoly big media biased reporting.

  4. When even Matthew Fraser’s own people have no confidence in him- I overhead two of his pollsters at a pre-poll table mumbling to each other “I don’t know about this bloke (having any chance)”, it hardly inspires a bystander. It’s not his inexperience or youth that’s the been the problem, it’s his mouth.

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