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June 2020

Islamic Council of Victoria upset about reports tracing Coronavirus outbreaks to their source

Reader Lachie of SA writes:

Hi Michael,

Always identity politics and Always the victim card.

Wait for the ultra vague story of a fake attack on a scarf.


Here's SBS:

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Recent media reporting is creating “division, hatred and fear” and has unfairly laid the blame for Melbourne’s coronavirus spike on Muslims, according to the Islamic Council of Victoria.

Herald Sun newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt and Sky News commentator Peta Credlin have been among those in the media over the past few days to lay blame for the rise in cases at the feet of multicultural communities.

ICV vice president Adel Salman said there was no evidence that Muslims were responsible for causing the surge in cases but that hasn’t stopped some media outlets from focusing on the community.

“It plays to a narrative and it’s picked up by those who believe that narrative, that ‘here we go again, Muslims are a threat, they are either trying to harm us with guns and bombs and cars, or now through the virus',” he told SBS News.“It’s completely unfair, there is no evidence for it and it doesn’t help. It doesn’t help make us safer, it doesn’t tackle the problem. It stigmatises the community and creates division, hatred and fear - and that ultimately hurts us all."

Several of Victoria’s recent coronavirus clusters have been based in the north and north-western suburbs, areas with high multicultural populations and with large Muslim communities.

These areas have been designated as community transmission hotspots by the state government, and testing has been ramped up there.

SBS extract ends

Here's the Islamic Council of Victoria's statement.

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The ICV is concerned and disappointed with recent media reporting which supports unfounded speculation that the spike and resurgence of COVID-19 in recent weeks can be traced back to Eid which was over a month ago.

Government and health authorities have not confirmed the source of the outbreak. So, any connection to Eid and by implication the Muslim community is grossly unfair and represents barely concealed Islamophobia at a time when it is more important than ever to remain united in our fight against this pandemic.

ICV President Mohamed Mohideen, stated: “Its  clear that this virus does not discriminate. It could be  members in some areas today and other suburbs tomorrow, and as such we all have a responsibility to heed the guidelines and advice provided by the State Health Authorities and make sure it does not spread”.

The ICV along with all multicultural and multifaith organisations in Victoria have played a key role in disseminating important public health messages to their respective communities and continue to do so today.  As Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews states, “we are all in this together” and we need to support each other and work towards keeping our community safe.

It is vital during these times of heightened emotions and stress that the media reports events accurately and responsibly. Sensationalist and inflammatory targeting of particular communities creates division and anger and undermines efforts to maintain community harmony. We all suffer as a result.

 – End –

And here are a couple of the factual and measured reports which have upset the perpetually upset ICV.

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Disappointing - NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro attacks Morrison Govt, sides with their ABC

John Barilaro has made a dreadful decision here.

Why attack his own side of politics?  And why do it siding with the greatest ally The Greens and Labor ever had - their ABC?

ABC budget cuts are  not being ‘imposed’ on the ABC, rather the rate of increase in their $1BN+ annual allocation won’t be as high as it has in the past.  That’s in line with the facts of life for the rest of the community.

Why not direct his criticisms to the ABC itself?  There's plenty of scope there!

How is regional Australia helped by an ABC that spends money on ‘news’ about “how to give blowjobs”, “helping nudists avoid skidmarks on the sofa” or “Sydney gay icon, toilet-trough-man”?

I am disappointed in him.

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John Barilaro open letter to Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister regarding the ABC

John Barilaro, Deputy Premier, and Minister for Regional New South Wales, Industry and Trade and Leader of The NSW Nationals has posted the following in support of ABC


My open letter to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister regarding the ABC.


I write to you both urgently requesting the budget cuts imposed on the ABC be reversed because of the devastating impact this will have on regional Australia.

It is undisputed that regional Australia has battled through unprecedented droughts, floods, bushfires and now COVID-19. It would be fair to say that while our communities are resilient, their ability to weather this compounding storm is becoming harder and harder.

Throughout these horrific events we have seen the best in our communities, coming together to keep safe and rebuild and ensure they continue to stand tall when the storm passes.

With more regional papers disappearing like the water in our dams, contractions from some of our regional networks like the populations of our small communities, the ABC has always withstood time and politics to be there for us.

With the summer from hell, it was the ABC that had our backs. They gave us the warnings, kept us up to date and told us about those we lost and the heroes that emerged from the ashes. During the drought, the plight of our farmers and communities, again the ABC showed us the images, showed the anguish of our communities and told these stories to our city cousins. Real stories. Human stories.

We all know the economic uncertainty and challenges that lay on the horizon and I know first- hand the importance of governments making tough decisions for the betterment of its people. But frankly, I cannot understand how a government can make decisions that ensures a certain part of our nation is worse off. To hear that there was an opportunity for regional Australia to see more jobs, more of our stories told and the platform for accessing information expanded in the wake of the worst fires in living memory was denied, is devastating.

If it is true, that the request to put our regional communities front and centre of the national broadcaster’s agenda went unanswered – that is incomprehensible.

I urge you to put ideology aside and geography first.

Give our small communities their voice, give them hope and the safety the ABC provides in times of emergencies, because sometimes you need to invest in free and accessible media, for all Australians, no matter where they live.

Hunter Biden's 411 flights with Secret Service - Judicial Watch doing the heavy lifting again

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(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it received records from the U.S. Secret Service showing that, for the first five and a half years of the Obama administration, Hunter Biden traveled extensively while receiving a Secret Service protective detail. During the time period of the records provided, Hunter Biden, son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, took 411 separate domestic and international flights, including to 29 different foreign countries. He visited China five times.

Judicial Watch’s February 7, 2020, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request sought:

Records reflecting the dates and locations of travel, international and domestic, for Hunter Biden while he received a U.S. Secret Service protective detail; please note whether his travel was on Air Force One or Two, or other government aircraft, as applicable and whether additional family members were present for each trip; time frame is 2001 to present.

The Secret Service did not indicate, as was requested, whether Biden’s travel was on Air Force One, Air Force Two or other government aircraft, or whether additional family members were present.

The Secret Service records show that countries and territories visited by Hunter Biden, between June 2009 and May 2014, included:

  • Ethiopia and India on June 14-22, 2009
  • Argentina on September 14-17, 2009
  • France and Spain on November 9-13, 2009
  • Canada on February 12-15, 2010
  • Dominican Republic on February 18-22, 2010
  • Puerto Rico on March 20-27, 2010
  • China on April 6-9, 2010
  • Belgium, Spain, and the United Kingdom on May 5-8, 2010
  • UK, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Ascension Island, U.S. Virgin Islands on June 6-13, 2010
  • Denmark and South Africa on August 9-24, 2010
  • Hong Kong, Taiwan and China on April 16-22, 2011
  • Mexico on May 15-17, 2011
  • Colombia, France, United Arab Emirates and France again on November 1-11, 2011
  • UK and Russia on February 15-18, 2012
  • Germany, France and UK on February 1-5, 2013
  • UK and Ireland on March 20-22, 2013
  • China on June 13-15, 2013
  • Switzerland and Italy on July 26-August 7, 2013
  • Japan, China, South Korea and the Philippines on December 2-9, 2013
  • China and Qatar on May 7-14, 2014

The records were also provided, but were not made public, to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson in a request the senators sent to Secret Service Director James Murray on February 5, 2020.

In its cover letter to Grassley and Johnson, which was included in the records produced to Judicial Watch, the Secret Service said that the senators’ request was time and labor intensive, and they could only provide a limited amount of information by the senators’ imposed turnaround time of February 19.

“Given the Burisma-Ukraine-China influence peddling scandals, Hunter Biden’s extensive international travel during the Obama-Biden presidency, including at least 5 trips to China, will raise additional questions.” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

According to reports, Vice President Joe Biden and  Hunter Biden flew on Air Force Two for the official trip to Beijing in December 2013. The records obtained by Judicial Watch from the Secret Service show Hunter Biden arrived in Tokyo on December 2, 2013 and departed for Beijing two days later. While it is typical for the families of the president and vice president to travel with them, questions have been raised about whether Hunter Biden used the government trip to further his business interests.

NBC reporter Josh Lederman, who was one of four reporters on the December 2013 trip, noted in an October 2, 2019 report that, “What wasn’t known then was that as he accompanied his father to China, Hunter Biden was forming a Chinese private equity fund that associates said at the time was planning to raise big money, including from China.”

During the last year and a half of the Obama administration, Hunter Biden served on the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings while his father was heading up Ukraine policy. Judicial Watch is seeking records through six lawsuits and dozens of FOIA requests related to Hunter Biden’s dealings with the Ukrainian Burisma Holdings and the Chinese BHR Partners.

Their ABC cries poor - can't pay for news, but last month found $5M for mates in production companies

Broke, underfunded ABC launches "urgent" $5M fund to pay Australian "creatives"

Here's a direct quote from the ABC statement:

The Innovation Fund backs Australian talent with bold and innovative content ideas across multiple genres aimed at audiences under 55.

What's wrong with the over 55s?  Aren't we covered in the ABC's charter?  That's an awful lot of Aussies in whom the ABC is showing no interest.

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ABC launches $5m fund to provide urgent support for Australian creatives during COVID-19 crisis

The ABC has launched a $5 million development fund to provide urgent and critical support to independent Australian producers and safeguard local content and creativity during these unprecedented times.

The ABC’s Fresh Start Fund will support the sustainability and growth of Australia’s production industry during the COVID-19 shutdown and supercharge the development of new Australian content for audiences across multiple genres, including drama, comedy, children’s, factual, music and the arts.

The ABC is already working closely with production companies on current projects that have been delayed or suspended due to COVID-19, to find supportive solutions where possible. The ABC is being flexible around delivery and has varied cash flows as appropriate on a title-by-title basis to help protect jobs in the independent sector.

The public broadcaster is also acquiring additional Australian content for broadcast on ABC TV and iview to keep the nation informed, educated and entertained during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spanning five streams, detailed below, the ABC’s Fresh Start Fund recognises the essential role played by independent producers in helping the ABC deliver Australian stories for audiences, across all its platforms and services. The fund also supports emerging Australian talent and creatives for the Australian market, to ensure the viable future of the local production industry.

Michael Carrington, ABC Director of Entertainment & Specialist content, said the fund will develop original new content for potential broadcast on ABC channels and online platforms. “As Australia’s biggest backer of local content, the ABC will provide whatever help possible within our means to shore up the viability of independent producers, who are struggling during this incredibly disruptive time,” he said.

“The Fresh Start Fund will ramp up the development of original and outstanding Australian content to keep our production sector afloat during the COVID-19 restrictions. In times like this we all need to pull together and the ABC remains open for business in supporting Australian talent and stories.”

The funds to support this initiative have been identified by the ABC as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on normal business operations. These business restrictions have given the ABC the opportunity to reprioritise expenditure to support Australia’s production sector at a critical time.


1. Enhanced Development & Production Fund

Supports Australian production companies that have worked with the ABC or gained some industry recognition, across two areas:

a. Existing productions: Supercharging development assistance to kickstart productions impacted by COVID-19 after the lifting of restrictions.

b. New concepts: Supporting new stories in any genre about Australian culture and communities, particularly in new formats.

2. Innovation Fund

Supports individual Australian creatives who may not have worked with the ABC previously. The Innovation Fund backs Australian talent with bold and innovative content ideas across multiple genres aimed at audiences under 55.

3. Arts Digital Fund

Supports Australian creatives and production companies with innovative ideas for new arts content, particularly documentary storytelling.

4. Children’s Content Fund

Supports excellence in children’s content across two areas:

a. Scripted/Factual: Supporting production companies with current animation or live-action development or productions.

b. Music: Commissioning new pieces of children’s music from talented and prolific Australian musicians for ABC Kids listen.

5. Australian Music

Supports independent Australian artists and musicians across all ABC music networks, including:

a. New music: Commissioning new works for ABC Classic and ABC Jazz.

b. Music scholarships: Supporting diverse emerging artists across multiple genres and themes, driven by triple j and triple j Unearthed.

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Ita Buttrose has been captured by the ABC staff collective - here's her statement to prove it

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What would Australia look like without the ABC?

The ABC has not only helped shape Australia, we are the national voice that unites us.

It’s about democracy. Without the ABC we would have a balkanised and parochial bunch of broadcasters that are in danger of being compromised by profit and more intent on dividing than unifying.

Imagine what it would be like during the bushfire season if we had to rely only on state-based or even regionally based media outlets. When we are in the middle of bushfires, don’t we want to know that they are being covered by a knowledgeable and experienced network of journalists with all the supporting infrastructure of a large national network?

The ABC,  funded by all of us, regardless of our creed – race, age, political beliefs – is us. It’s the way we build cross-cultural understanding, the way we help each other in times of need. It’s who we are collectively. Why would anyone want to diminish that and make us less than who we are?

This has been a devastating week for the ABC.  With unemployment at an all-time high to have to inform up to 250 people they no longer had a job has been an incredibly difficult task.

Cuts to services caused by the ongoing reduction in our budget forced this action upon us and although we knew what had to be done, our hearts were with our employees.

Let me clarify the cuts because there seems to be some confusion in Government circles about them. The 2018 Budget papers clearly state that the Government’s savings measures reduce funding to the ABC by $14.623 million in 2019-20, $27.842 million in 2020-21, and $41.284 million in 2021-22. This reduction totals $83.75 million on our operational base.

It is true that over the three years the ABC budget does still increase but by a reduced amount, due to indexation on the fixed cost of transmission and distribution services.  Previously, it was rising by a further $83.75 million over the same three years for indexation on our operational base. This is the funding that has been cut and considered a saving by the government.

These funding cuts are unsustainable if we are to provide the  media services that Australians expect of us. Indexation must be renewed.

The strength of the ABC and its relationship with the nation comes from the very people who work for us. They are passionate about public broadcasting and are prepared to work for less than they would be paid by commercial media to deliver it. The creativity in the programs they produce, the dogged and independent journalism they pursue and the connection with communities everywhere they provide through conversations is at the very heart of what the ABC delivers to our audiences.

The ABC has a statutory requirement to operate as efficiently as possible. We have a strong track record in identifying savings and reinvesting them in services. This is how we created ABC News 24, ABC iview and a range of packages to boost services in rural and regional Australia.

There is no other authority better placed to manage the ABC than the ABC itself.  We know our business and we are determined to honour our commitment to independence. All Australians expect this of us just as they expect the Government to provide the appropriate funds to allow us to do so.

The ABC is essential in generating and preserving Australia’s democratic culture. An independent, well-funded national broadcaster allows Australians, wherever they live, to connect. It is how we share our identity, how we tell our stories, how we listen to each other, how we ask for help and how we give it.

Ita Buttrose AC OBE

ABC Chair