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Byron Shire
May 25, 2024

Thus Spake Mungo: there’s something about Guy

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I have nothing against pop singers, some of them are very nice people, generous, tolerant, kind to children and dogs. And they give pleasure to many Australians.

But for all his undoubted talents, the crooner Guy Sebastian can hardly be considered of the same calibre of, say, Anthony Warlow.  So for Scott Morrison to parade him proudly as an exemplar of the Australian arts was somewhat disconcerting.

Obviously he could not be expected to pose with a concert cellist, a futurist sculptor or an Indigenous ballet dancer – far too limp wristed, girly man, as his close friend and valuable colleague Matthias Corman might put it. And he would much rather have been carousing with a couple of footy mates in a Cronulla Sharks scarf and beanie. 

But, he might have thought that the arts entailed rather more than the top 40. And the belated handouts –  in many cases, clearly too little too late – show a basic misunderstanding about how the industry works. Offering $90 million to struggling companies might appear a useful gesture, but the money is not for grants, but for loans – precisely the kind of loans those in desperate need cannot possibly afford to take.

So much for the arts. But in a wider assault on Australian culture, the war on the hapless ABC continues unabated – revenue, which the national broadcaster needs to keep going in anything like its present form, has been slashed. And, rather than attempting to justify this vandalism as a necessary measure to help a dwindling economy, ScoMo shamelessly and deceitfully continues to pretend that it has just not happened. 

For Morrison and our brick-thick communications minister to insist that there have been no cuts to the ABC is more than mean and tricky – it is simply untrue. As the 2018 budget pointed out, in brutal detail, the money promised to the national broadcaster has been drastically reduced – by some $84 million over the next three years

For Morrison and our brick-thick communications minister to insist that there have been no cuts to the ABC is more than mean and tricky – it is simply untrue. As the 2018 budget pointed out, in brutal detail, the money promised to the national broadcaster has been drastically reduced – by some $84 million over the next three years. The ABC has been cut progressively over the years, leaving it with $10 million less in 2021-22 than in 2013.

And as a result some 250 staff members have been sacked and a number of programs axed or curtailed, among them Foreign Correspondent, Australian Story, Gruen, Mad as Hell and other much loved and watched offerings that are simply irreplaceable. The commercials, whether free to air or cable, have neither the resources nor the will to do anything remotely similar.

Then there is the 7.45 radio news, the most comprehensive and reliable of the daily bulletins. ABC Life, offering comprehensive online content, has also been killed off and what was the comedy channel will be bundled up to include arts, science and religion, all of which will be downgraded, along with just about everything else.

And of course the prospect of new creative offerings in drama and documentary is out of the question for the foreseeable future. The ABC will not have the capacity to make new programs itself, and there will be no money for independent producers to fill the gap.

ABC CEO, David Anderson, has unveiled what he calls a five-year plan, and remains determinedly optimistic – he can hardly do anything else. But Morrison’s carefully chosen chairman, Ita Buttrose, has finally broken her uneasy alliance with the prime minister to denounce the cuts and refute the mendacious rhetoric that sustains them

ABC CEO, David Anderson, has unveiled what he calls a five-year plan, and remains determinedly optimistic – he can hardly do anything else. But Morrison’s carefully chosen chairman, Ita Buttrose, has finally broken her uneasy alliance with the prime minister to denounce the cuts and refute the mendacious rhetoric that sustains them.

And more surprisingly, and perhaps more damaging politically, the New South Wales Nationals leader and deputy premier, John Barilaro, called the feds’ approach to the ABC devastating and incomprehensible. He revealed that the ABC had offered tens of millions of dollars to expand regional and rural services, in exchange for restoring the funds taken away.

But according to Barilaro, the government did not respond, and the Nationals were never informed. This was not smart politics – as scores of regional newspapers have been shut down, the ABC has become even more crucial in the bush, and has garnered much support for its exemplary coverage during the 2019-20 bushfires and other rural crises. The Nats used to complain about the ABC as ‘our enemies talking to our friends’, but in these troubled times they too need Aunty as never before.

And now the Saturday paper informs us that just as the five point plan was set to be released, the government has finalised negotiations for yet another inquiry, this one a secret one to evaluate media around the world – specifically the impact and interaction between publicly-funded and commercial entities. This is precisely what the propagandists of the Murdoch monopoly wanted, a chance to gain advantage for their struggling FoxTel, over what they see as competition from the ABC. And naturally, the government will deny them nothing.   

The dumbing down of Australia is proceeding apace, and it is hard to believe that it is not deliberate – part of the ongoing culture wars that aim to repackage our society into an economy, and a fairly narrow one at that

The dumbing down of Australia is proceeding apace, and it is hard to believe that it is not deliberate – part of the ongoing culture wars that aim to repackage our society into an economy, and a fairly narrow one at that. If there was any doubt, the assault on the universities has confirmed it. The humanities, the bedrock upon which culture in its wider sense depends, are to be chipped away, to make room for a single-minded pursuit of boosting the economy, under the guise of jobs and growth at all costs.  And even if it works – and all the evidence is that it won’t – the cost will be that the inclusive, broad-minded and, dare we say it, intelligent aspects of our society will be sacrificed. The Australia many of us know and love will simply cease to exist.

The great god Mammon, the cult of the Philistines, will triumph – and no one will know who Mammon and the Philistines are anyway, so no one will even care.

The Morrison government is clearly on the path of what the great historian Manning Clarke called ‘the punishers and straighteners’, and has rejected the way of ‘the enlargers’, who once made Australia an international model, as superfluous to its political ends. But if our prime minister is determined to ignore history, along with the other humanities, he must surely be familiar with the gospel inculcated by his Pentacostalist mentors? And there, right in Matthew 16:26, or if he prefers it, Mark 8:36, he will find the words of his Messiah: ‘What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul?’

At least he has a ready-made reply: ‘Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.’

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  1. Guy Sebastian is a sort of crooner & crooners don’t,
    or can’t, change Government decisions. Yeah… the
    question’s “what’s up, Doc”? It implies -more votes
    come Election times aimed at the performer’s fan-
    followers. Boy George, naturally, would not have
    got a look-in I’d say. As for Australian Arts; Nah!!!!!!
    They missed by a mile & more. The ABC’s Drama
    & Documentation loss crashed out by a country’s
    mile. The ABC’s horrid short-fall since 2018’s
    budget ‘take’ says it all. Put simply, The ‘Gove’ is
    a mite fearful of the truth the ABC tells due to Fox
    Tel’s low ratings. All’s clear as a clean glass of
    water. So – as an old humanities person I agree
    with Mungo. Go ahead, ScoMo; re-read Mark 8:36.

  2. Guy Sebastian seems like a nice guy and he is a talented singer. But, he is, or was, a member of the SA Hillsong congregation. That doesn’t mean I am automatically tarring him with the twisted ideological brush that has already tarred King Morrison the Messiah, but it does, of course mean that he would be chosen by Scotty from Marketing for the “pose value and the cred”. It also highlights something far more sinister about this government and that is the creeping influence of the Pentecostal faith and the growing numbers of the proponents of that faith in the government. It points to one of King Morrison’s greatest failings – he simply can’t abide anyone having a different view of the world to his own. He is incapable of “agreeing to disagree” – those who hold to a different faith and morality and those who are outside of his narrow circle are to eschewed, cast out or simply punished. The use of Guy in the marketing of an atrocious policy that really offered crumbs, compared to the enticements offered to King Morrison’s special guard – Australia’s tradies, who are small in number but big in vehicles size (dual cabs are the preferred vehicle choice) and support for the regal wartime leader – King Morrison of Churchill; is comparable to using Jennifer Hawkins as the “face” of the Myer share listing – designed to create hyperbole and deflect from the underlying lack of substance of the “product”.

  3. We hear you Mungo when you write:
    “So for Scott Morrison to parade him proudly as an exemplar of the Australian arts was somewhat disconcerting.” They must have read you in Eden-Monaro.

  4. I thought it was Blindingly obvious that Morrison’s soul was already ‘ bought and paid for’
    He has never been shown to possess a single decent bone in his body, and his every inclination is to kick vigously and heedlessly downwards. To be fair though, it does seem to be a prerequiste for the job and any church attendance is in order to deflect suspicion and no doubt plot greater attrocities ( such as the payment of “jobkeeper” payments to the parasitic, child abusing, priesthood )
    But what the hell ,is the leader of the Nationals doing talking sense ? Talk about ‘dicing with the Devil ‘
    I can only assume he is for the chop, and we can look forward to much less constructive nonsense from some one more ‘Barnaby’ in style.
    Anderson and Buttrose, for my money, would be excellent candidates for public flogging for their self-serving complicence in the demolition of one of the last bastions of our nationhood. This country was once a proud and defient example to the World, with so many great attributes and institutions, however the dearth of government integrity and vision, has reduced us all to this present poverty of petty, pecuniary paralysis.
    PLEASE prevent the destruction of the ABC as it is our last hope of warding off the iniquity of having that guy ,Sebastian being presented as an exemplary artist.
    Sincerely, G”)

  5. When The Adman-in-Chief, ScoNO, was thinking about a background prop for his presser to announce his Covid ‘ArtsKeeper’ thing he couldn’t believe his luck when the Guy said, yes. The Guy comes across as nice enough fellow but being used in political propaganda campaigns wasn’t his smartest ever move. ScoNO’s Covid ‘ArtsKeeper’ thing is more of the same smoke and mirrors that we got with the Covid ‘HomeBuilder’ and the Covid ‘JobKeeper’ – scratch the surface for the detail and it all comes up way, way short of the mark. Guy old son, don’t fall for it again.

  6. The greatest form of social control is to strip the human soul … make us ‘like the market’…just a unit 0f Capital ..non- functioning glazed eyes Zombies …sing louder Guy..Blot out the political zombies folks…SING FROM YOUR SOULS.

  7. The ABC have a Charter of Impartiality , the disrespect of anyone Conservative especially our Prime minister is appalling. The ABC are a news service do they not know that millions have lost there jobs ? The Taxpayer’s are not happy ABC
    Keep up with your Bias leftwing, the white gos first
    In a chessboard game is Racist, this PC madness
    And above is the reason why Taxpayer’s have had
    Enough !! Not the present Government.. heed the
    Advice ABC .

  8. https://www.theguardian.com/…/christian-soldiers-and…

    People need to read this article before voting and the media needs to share it far and wide, so people can get a grasp of the strangle hold these LNP religious RWNJ branch stacking has been going on throughout Australia for decades! We didn’t get a scamvangelical Morrison faction in control of Govt overnight by accident! Books are written about this. “God under Howard the rise of the religious right in Australian politics”. Marion Maddox 2005.

  9. The Anti- Christian, Christophobia that exists on this forum is not ideal !! The intolerance and hostility and discrimination against our Prime minister is un – Australian. If our Prime Minister was a Muslim would the intolerance exist regarding his religious beliefs on this Forum?
    The Double standards of the Left !! You cant defend the indefensible..

  10. We hate religion that has any effect on policy.
    Separation of church and state has been the progressive position for a century and it used to have bipartisan support.
    And there’s plenty of us who would slag off any religion happily.

    Weird how the free speech brigade want to shut you up when you start mocking authority and magical thinking.

  11. Barrow,

    You talk of impartiality, I’m not convinced that you know what it means. It seems you see anyone, not on the right of Ghengis Khan, as a rabid red greeny. I suppose that is born out by your support of this deranged pentacostal parasite that the whole country “have had Enough !! “of.
    Though I do trust I havent committed the unthinkable of , “disrespect of anyone Conservative” I happen to ‘believe’ that the P.M. is even less trustworthy than that traitorous war-criminal Howard. Yet, to my great dissapointment the ABC has not mentioned the “weapons of mass destruction” and the ” war against terrorism” in Afghanistan, while everybody knows the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia.
    I can only assume that is due to the fact that “The ABC have a Charter of Impartiality”
    I believe most are able to see that, and credit the ABC with doing a fabulous job ,inspite of Government censorship and bias against the TRUTH !
    Cheers, G”)

  12. Incidentally would like to congratulate Christy
    McBain for her win in the bi- election, labor
    Certainty needs more of this ladies passion .
    Clear the decks of the Far- left ideologies
    That exists within the labor Ranks ! Especially
    Burke , butler etc who would like to talk about
    The Science before any meaningful policies.
    Come back to the Centre labor ! Otherwise
    You will see yourselves in opposition for
    Some time ..

  13. A pity, Barrow….. I too have had a gut-full of loud
    mouthed wanna-bees. The sting is a lot like the
    sword. History is rewriting the loud disconnected
    lolly gobblers. Go out & play – hey.

  14. To call the Prime Minister of this country
    A deranged Pentecostal parasite that the country has had enough of ? Man you would be a great
    Fit on the Q&A panel , or Anchor for CNN
    Or maybe a activist reporter with the Guardian.
    Thats the problem with hard left views
    The pile – on, any discrimination , anti – Christian
    Bigoted comments all acceptable !!
    Cheers B

  15. Barrow old son, maybe you not getting the Christian thing criticism directed to your ScoNO. Whether you Atheist, Christian, Muslim or Purple isn’t really the issue. It is when you ( invite in TV cameras to your church during an election campaign ) to project an imagine for public consumption of being a church worshiping Christian to help you land the job of MP and then PM but when your record of actions is the opposite being Christian, then there should be zero complaining of the criticism. Your ScoNO, his time as a Federal Minister across a number of portfolios has been dotted with ‘devil-like’ acts and he rightly deserves all the condemnation that comes his way. ScottyfromChurchMarketing is not fooling anyone of his bible loving antics for TV.

  16. Barrow old son, you getting ahead of yourself congratulation the Kristy winning Eden-MonAIRo. There are a ton of postal votes still to come in ( when Aussie Post does the mail delivery!) and be counted in what is a very close contest. It best for all concerned to wait until the AEC calls the ‘official result’.

  17. Oh Come on ,
    Bigoted, Me ?!! ….’.anti-christian’ sure, I just don’t believe in superstitious nonsense.
    I hear your criticism though, “hard left” indeed ! You can dress it up with praise , compliments and recommendations to represent those most respected media positions, but I still suspect a touch of animousity.
    Cheers G”)

  18. Impartial, Barrow? You are not impartial… Like it
    or not the ABC is. That’s why they interview the
    idiots that rule us with yaps & dangerous tom
    foolery otherwise known as lies: Bloody &
    abusing lies, Barrow. Anyone stupid enough
    to believe in our ‘newly risen Christ P.M.’
    needs a head doctor. Silent Aussies… bull dust!
    As manipulating as the fool they follow.

  19. Aww, is poor little Barrow feeling triggered? Funny how those that spent years engaging in rampant Islamophobia are now moaning about how mean we are being towards evangelicals, just because they’re a bunch of hypocrites trying to undermine our cohesive society.

  20. An accident… come on .Our singing PM’s got
    something to sing & wave his arm about I’d
    say after inviting news cameras into his pent-
    ecostal church during the lead up to the last
    election. The P.C. currently turns over 100
    million a year. Not bad pocket money. The
    photo-take; gentile? Who’d know. Still, if
    there’d been a choice in music I would have
    chosen ‘Fiddler On The Roof.’ Indeed; “If
    I’d was a rich man… or woman… la la la”.
    No damn hope of that ever happening this
    sickening time around.

  21. Yes the trouble with the ‘ChristIan’ ideologues within the conservatives is that their policies don’t look very Christian and ‘by their fruits shall ye know them‘. Most recently, who were the architects of the shameless robo-debt policy and who continued to doggedly defend it despite the injustices and cruelty it was manifestly creating? Oh until it was legally challenged and now they have the gaul to apologise.

  22. What really gets to me is that a guy who openly displays his religiosity blatantly lies so much and gets away with it. No journalists take Morrison to task-probably if ABC employed, scared to death of losing their jobs! He won’t be back but for sure the Looters will have a $450,000 a year job already picked out for him…No one can stay on message like Cormann aided by his non-stop James Joyce like ‘stream of consciousness’ delivery where no journalist could get a word in. Both he and Greg Hunt are masters.
    His ability with the truth, especially relating to debt and deficit, unemployment (6.2% under Hockey/Abbott)
    much worse under his govt always amused me but he rolled on regardless. Never give in! Journalists never seem to question him about his wrong ‘facts’. His ability to paint the past Labor govt as the worst ever when by every indicator (consumer confidence, investment, climate/renewable energy,
    debt, unemployment, truth in govt.,wages growth, cuts to essential services and pensions)
    the facts proved the opposite and always amazed me. For mine, he will remain the best ‘on message’
    politician on either side. In fact I cannot find anybody to come near him. Maybe Howard.
    Some of his gems are legendary. He was always criticising Labor for blocking bills in
    the Senate. When he did it and was questioned on Lateline by Emma Alberici, his answer? “We don’t control
    the Senate”….completely riding over the fact that he voted with others to block those bills, Brilliant stuff from the Arnie clone!

  23. Religiosity sounds more like ‘the measles’ – here
    a scratch, there a scratch. And here we are with
    191 new cases of what we’ve got now shutting
    down Melbourne. God will fix it. There’s money
    to be made out of pandemics; right ? After all,
    we are the largest exporter of fossil fuels in the
    world. Jeremy Moss……… Professor of Political
    Philosophy is aware – as much as the rest of us
    are – that ‘our emissions should be counted.’
    (Our plastic waste… uranium & sheep exports
    ought to be dealt with very carefully – we do
    agree they are ‘crook’ stuff – right?). Add fossil
    fuels as our D-day of looking after planet Earth
    & a for real non-lying improvement along with
    the crook stuff we shun. I agree with Professor
    Moss when he says that ‘Australia should NOT
    get a free pass to produce & export as much
    fossil fuels ‘as they [the miners] are able to.’
    Coal is the bedrock & gas will not “fire the
    recovery from COVID-19.” ScoMo must quit
    playing the numbers with our Paris Agreement.
    Cheats are not welcome here. The whole
    world is well aware that Australia now leads
    the world – N.B. as the biggest exporter of
    shifty fossil fuels. Disease = sickness = coal
    = gas. Nothing to be proud of.

  24. Much as I admire Mungo, the all too obvious snobbery inherent in this piece is that the trained singer (Anthony Warlow) must always be of more cultural value than the pop singer (Guy Sebastian). So he concludes that Guy Sebastian is exemplary of the ‘dumbing down’ of Australia. Stick to politics, Mungo; we fully agree about the value of Scott Morrison, but when it comes to the arts the prejudices of a limited cultural palette and advancing age are showing.

  25. Like it or not the ABC are Bias , well thats why they interview idiots from both sides of Governments
    Stefanie hold them to account ? .. well lets start with the Bias !! Thats exactly what the ABC think
    As well , we have an Agenda , we are Bias deal with it !! Well that would be okay if you worked for yourself or private enterprise , the funding Freeze
    Not cuts, is a decision the Government had to make due to the 100s of thousands of complaints to the Government by way of Mail from the Taxpayer’s the owners !!!!! Not to mention the thousands of complaints to the ABC , not that those would be taken seriously, in the Shredder!
    My point in case ! the ABCs agendas!!
    The ruby princess, the ABC were relentless in there pursuit of the NSW conservative government for
    Answers , news breakfast , Q&A , 730 report
    All scathing of of the PREMIER and The health Minister, now this latest outbreak makes the ruby
    Princess look very minor . The ABC interviewed a business owner in Melbourne about his thoughts
    Regarding this outbreak! the News Breakfast host said without the blame game what are your thoughts , so more or less dont blame the Dan Andrews government. Poor bloke could not speak his mind why ?? And then the ABC interviewed
    Dan Andrews, did they hold him to account Stefanie or ask him any pressing Questions?
    Not a chance .. !!

  26. Barrow, if the ABC didn’t seek answers concerning the Ruby Princess event – that sent infected travellers all around the country – they would be failing badly in their role. So yes they could interview businesses anywhere in any state and be relevant. Didn’t see News Breakfast but I do a lot of listening to ABC Melbourne radio and I can assure you that my hackles were well and truly raised at their brutal excoriation of Daniel Andrews. You also mustn’t have seen the Virginia Trioli interview on 7.30 which (rightly) pulled no punches.

    It’s impossible to remove bias (even ever so subtle) from anything with human involvement but the ABC does a pretty good job at balance (which is mandated) while there is little evidence of it in the msm. What annoys me is the ever present pursuit of the ‘gotcha’ moment which so often prevents any candour from politicians or sensible exploration of an issue. Still I treasure the ABC for both information and entertainment and can’t imagine having only the trashy alternatives.

    Btw, it’s a bit simplistic telling Stefanie not to use fossil fuels. Do you suggest she go off-grid? Can I still drive around Byron Shire if I criticise the pot holes? Can I enrol in a university course if I criticise the new funding arrangements? Can I listen to the ABC if I think its biased? We all have to live with the implications of government policy and priorities and we have every right to question them!

  27. Some fair points indeed liz !!
    However lectured on the use of fossil fuels
    Is not something iam fond of . Renewables will never replace the efficiency of coal . The revenue
    Generated from coal exports currently is 7 billion
    A month , which is mitigating the cost of all welfare
    Per month .. and Liz Q&A is not balanced and the
    Treatment of conservatives in comparison to Labor
    Is noticeably and how .. Taxpayer’s are cranky Liz
    And the ABC need to take notice ..

  28. Barrow, we have indeed done very well as a country from our abundance of fossil fuels but it’s a dangerous game to predict the future of technological developments with statements like ‘ Renewables will never replace the efficiency of coal’.

    Are you perhaps a climate change sceptic? – if so you will not agree with me that we have no choice but to transition away from a range of destructive emissions intensive practices as quickly as possible.

    As for the ABC, I really think that bias, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. As for QnA, after an initial good start I have found it has become so bland without the politics that it has been moved from my ‘never miss’ list.

  29. So, Growing rainforests for millions of years ,in order to accumulate hundreds of meters of humus, then covering that in sediment for long enough to convert that humus into a fossil fuel ,coal,oil or gas.
    Digging up these buried deposits , transporting them all around the globe, burning them then in order to boil water ,converting it into steam to power a turbine and thus generate electricity,which then must be distributed via an incredibly wasteful wire network, to enable you to heat your hotwater,etc
    Every step of the way producing enough toxic waste to affect the temperature of the entire globe thus jeopardizing any future of our children.
    Can anybody explain why, solar on-site energy isn’t a million times greater than “the efficiency of coal”?
    No, the fossil fuel industry is championed by short-sighted,ignorant money-grubing vandals of the worst kind.
    Cheers G”)

  30. Thanks, Ken, for your well balanced piece. The
    front-on & common sense of it all. Our future &
    our children’s future are at stake here.

  31. Barrow old son, I love it how you always try to ‘minimise’ the failure that is Ruby Princess. 2700 passengers waved off the infection cruise ship and on their merry way to go around Australia and overseas – 22 deaths and over 900 infections traced back to Ruby Princess – nothing ‘minor’ at all about Ruby Princess. It is the single most catastrophic failure on the watch of your ScoNO and Not my Glad. But of course they don’t take any responsibility as they duck, weave and palm off it all off to someone else. Nothing was learned as we sawwith the fiasco that was JetStar just days ago, unloading a plane full of passengers at Sydney that arrived from the new Covid Capital, Melbourne. No one is in charge of affairs and worse still, no one in authority really cares, just play the blame game when it all turns to crap. How Good is Australia!

  32. Tax payers are very angry due to the inept
    politics of cheating numbers, Barrow. We
    have handed over our tax dollars to ‘the
    gas man’ & we are deeply unhappy with
    the fibs the libs throw around. Once a liar,
    always a liar: pathological. We won’t be
    taking any more of it. Believe it.

  33. Not good at all, hey. All of them are into
    letting the cat out of the bag after the
    rat’s run off. Sods – the lot of them.

  34. Still no news as to how to turn bauxite into aluminium using clean energy . My view is that a sane economic strategy does not include ultra high temperature smelting of metals . Greed is part of all human cultures .

  35. When aircraft become culturally unacceptable in first— world society. When OUR aluminium smelting industries shrink back to the size they were 90 years ago , then we can bequeath a world worth living in . The party is over ! ! “ Time to go home ; drinks will no longer be served “


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