When Facts Are No Defence

The recent debacle – and that’s the only word that accurately describes it – surrounding the way in which the Australian Broadcasting Corporation kowtowed to various other media players and political pressure by pulling an analysis by their chief economics correspondent, Emma Alberici, on the supposed benefits of the proposed corporate tax cuts.

The analysis, which was very quickly reposted on the ABC’s website, takes a look at, among other things, of just how much tax various corporations have paid over the last few years (answer: very little!) and also examines some of the various reasons why the proposed cuts will probably not bring the benefits being spruiked by the current federal government.

The analysis, in the opinion of most informed commentators (i.e. those who have some background in economics – in the same way the Alberici herself does), is a very safe analysis, backed up by facts and figures pulled from public records.

The analysis has, however, been the subject of dismissal as mere opinion on the part of Alberici by some in the media and the political sphere, and Alberici herself has been dismissed as an uninformed writer who shouldn’t be venturing in to areas that she doesn’t understand. Not only is that blatantly wrong, but is the sort of ad hominem attack that some resort to when they can’t fault the facts.

The worst part of the whole furore in my opinion, however, is that the ABC, the nation’s public broadcaster, has failed to defend the work of one of their most respected journalists, someone who has a long record of work in this particular area of public policy, and someone who, as the ABC’s chief economics correspondent, should be supported by her employer. Instead, the ABC appears to have sided with those who prefer to criticise an excellent journalist going about her legitimate role, and who clearly don’t want the kind of facts contained in Alberici’s piece to be on the public record.

It is appalling, and the ABC must respond…in support of their staff.

The Fin demands the silencing of dissent on company tax