Home' Ausmarine : October 2014 Contents Almost all my friends with daughters
have convinced me that girls need never
study drama at school as it is already
deeply embedded in their DNA.
Thus it came as no surprise to see a
junior female reporter telling the millions
of television viewers, with a totally straight
face, that the ship aground behind her on a
Newcastle beach, the 'Pasha Bulker', was
indeed a tanker. Her implication was the
possibility of beach pollution for hundreds
"It's a bulk carrier you dizzy dope, look
at the ship's name!" I was yelling at my TV.
Of course, my TV, pardon the pun, flatly
refused to respond.
Wouldn't it be nice if Our ABC copied
the mission statement of the Scotsman
newspaper? Currently, the 'Scotsman's
only statement on editorial intention is:
"The conductors pledge for
impartiality, firmness and independence
... their first desire is to be honest, the
second is to be useful... the great
requisites for the task are only good sense,
courage and industry."
In 2009, when the Four Corners program
decided to focus on the 2005 drowning
tragedy of the 'Malu Sara' and the abysmal
state of transport in the Torres Strait, the
Queensland marine industry applauded the
initiative. After all, the drownings of locals,
including PNG-Torres traffic going
interisland in small tinnies, had been going
on for many years.
Tinnies are the last thing you would use
in crossing such wind- and wave-affected
waterways. Who in their right mind would
venture across Port Phillip or Moreton Bay
on a six-metre tinny on a blustery day?
These tiny vessels, no matter how well
constructed, are not designed for the steep,
short frequency waves in those bays on a
windy day. Wave height is the key criteria of
the size of vessel chosen for regular duties in
exposed water. The Torres Strait also has
much greater stretches of water and more
predominant winds of over 25 knots.
"Screaming for decades to get a
safe ferry system"
We had expected the ABC, with its
assumed unbiased investigative reporting,
to highlight the plight of the locals who
had been screaming for decades to get a
safe ferry system. I was involved in two of
the studies into passenger cargo vessels
through the Torres Strait in the 1980s. The
locals were fearful of planes, given the high
number of small plane incidents and
accidents, and they felt that the sea was a
safer option. But there was, and there still
is, no ferry service.
Debbie Whitmont led the ABC team and
I was the last interviewee after they
returned from the Strait. I was astounded
that the report, already in its final draft,
had devolved into a witch-hunt against the
Thursday Island immigration manager and
the Cairns-based boat builder. In soap
opera fashion, the blame game was aired
between the participants in just one
accident of many, the 'Malu Sara'.
"The boat builder went bust"
Like a doctor reporting that a leper has
an ingrown toenail, the Four Corners team
had focused on one symptom of an
appalling transport system in one of
Australia's biggest "suburbs" , instead of
focusing on the source. This journalism
team had no intention of accepting my
view of addressing the source transport
infrastructure that is needed by the Torres
Strait islanders. So the slickly produced
program went to air, the immigration
manager got the sack, the boat builder
went bust and the people of the Torres
Strait still have to commute by tinnies. Our
ABC was a disgrace.
July this year saw another biased
serving of ABC, this time under Sarah
Ferguson and Mark Willacy. The evening
report was a rant against proposed
transshipping by Mitchell Ports in the
Great Barrier Reef, which would alleviate
the need for dredging. While dredging
has been a demonised word in and of
itself, it is really coal that left-leaning
commentators, including the ABC, want
to stop at any costs.
One after the other, Willacy traipsed out
the malcontents belching out uninformed
opinion and distorted facts. He then added
a bit of insult to injury by showing footage
of a narrow strip of coal-stained beach in
Kalimantan in Indonesia -- a country that
already outpaces Australia in coal exports.
No doubt, the anti-coal NGOs, along with
the other assorted malcontents in our
country, were duly proud of the ABC.
"Australia already has
environmentally sound award-
winning transshipment designs"
Not one person that Willacy presented
had anything positive to say about
transshipping. His fact checking failed to
reveal that Australia already has
environmentally sound award-winning
transshipment designs working without
pollution off the gulf of the Northern
Territory and Queensland for more than 20
years (and carrying toxic cargoes, no less).
Does the ABC not have the resources
required to check its facts?
These days, modern transshipment
systems occur in negative-pressure
undercover operations out of the wind
and rain. There is no dust, no grab
spillage, and no transportable moisture
limit (TML). No, they don't use such good
designs in Indonesia, but we do have them
here in Australia.
While I note the blatant ABC bias
on politics, I do draw the line when
they misrepresent and denigrate the
Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull, I strongly
object to my tax dollars being given to a
bunch of treasonous bigots. Please consider
privatising this poor excuse of a
corporation, which consistently reports
against the interest of our great nation.
The ABC of Treason
With STUART BALLANTYNE
THE EDUCATION OF AN
10 October 2014 AUSMARINE
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