Please find below a letter from Dick Smith responding to ABC The Drum’s biased segment on Wednesday attacking the Dick Smith Fair Go campaign.
Dick has informed us that he went to the ABC headquarters in Sydney yesterday to state his case but was turned back at the door.
7 September 2017
Julia Baird Presenter The Drum ABC
RE: CONTINUING BIAS ON THE ABC
What an outrageous segment on The Drum last night misrepresenting my views on population growth and immigration. This segment did everything to confirm that Mark O’Connor’s chapter in his book Overloading Australia entitled ‘Media bias and ABC blues’ is correct.
Your researchers didn’t even make the most basic enquiries by lifting the phone and talking to me about the statements that were attributed to me.
I note you started the segment with a piece from another TV channel with the large text “Anti immigration ad.” In fact, I have never had an anti-immigration ad.
I spent $1 million on a “Grim Reaper” style advertising campaign explaining that when politicians say growth, they actually mean endless growth. This will either result in growing inequality, or possibly terrible consequences for our society.
Those views are not mine alone, but reflect the views of many educated people from around the world.
The reason I have never run and anti-immigration ad is that I am pro-immigration. I always have been. It is the reason Australia is such a fantastic country.
Yes, upon advice from experts, I believe we should return to the long-term average of about 70,000 per year – as I’m told this will mean there is a greater chance for a sustainable future, and proper full-time careers for our children and grandchildren.
70,000 per year is approximately the immigration number when Paul Keating was Prime Minister, and I’m told is high per capita by world standards.
I have consistently called for a substantial increase in the humanitarian intake. This would be clear if any of your researchers had even bothered to glance at the Fair Go manifesto, or if you had given the panelists the document to look at.
Your segment went downhill from there. The erroneous caption “anti-immigration ad” confirmed exactly what I had been told by politicians about the ABC. They have said to me:
“Dick, you are absolutely right. We need a population policy, but if I ever mentioned it I would be crucified by the ABC. They would immediately link my comment to being opposed to immigration…”
Not at any time during the whole segment did you actually discuss what I am on about. That is, it is not possible to have endless growth in a finite world.
Amazingly, your researchers or producers didn’t even bother to brief Alan Kirkland, the CEO of Choice, about my $1 million “Grim Reaper” television campaign. He actually said on your segment:
“I didn’t know about this campaign until the whole story broke about the ABC banning him.”
Once again, that proves exactly what Mark O’Connor is saying in Overloading Australia. That is, ABC television news and current affairs (and, I will add, The Drum), constantly show bias on the growth issue.
Every one of your panelists were clearly pro endless growth. I particularly loved the comment by Alan Kirkland:
“So we are getting a lot out of migration at the moment, geared predominantly towards delivering what employers need, and that is what fuels the economy, and it has been one of the most consistent forces driving economic growth in Australia, decade upon decade.”
Of course he doesn’t mention for an instant – nor do you, and I would have thought you would have as you are a mother of young children – that with automation and robotics there are real concerns that there will be enough jobs to give a decent full-time career to our young people in the future.
That is why, in my Fair Go manifesto, I have canvassed the idea of a living wage – not at all mentioned by any of your people.
Then of course there is the tired old point from Alan Kirkland:
“We absolutely need to have this debate because I guess the missing piece is saying that population has grown that that has fuelled economic growth but we have really dropped the ball on infrastructure and on housing in particular.”
Yes, that is the Harry Triguboff belief. You just need to spend more money on infrastructure and housing, and the endless growth will be solved.
Has Mr Kirkland forgotten that our high schools are now moving into high rise, and children are living like termites rather than free range with a back yard and a cubby house?
Georgina Downer from the Institute of Public Affairs, reckons, “It is quite rich for Dick Smith to say he is being ignored,” and then goes on saying that I pitched my whole argument about immigration “being incredibly damaging” when this is clearly not true.
Julia, why didn’t you bring up at any stage the issue that I am talking about? It is very simple. You can’t have endless growth in population and the use of resources and energy in a finite world. There is no discussion on this because the politicians have been totally intimidated because they may be branded “anti-immigration.”
It appears that the briefing note handed to panellists said that this was a “stunt.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Since producing my documentary on population, which was run on the ABC, I have worked constantly on this important issue that affects all Australians.
Of note, the documentary was commissioned not by television news and current affairs, but by a completely different ABC department, and the man who did the commissioning did not have his contract renewed.
Julia, you, like every mother, has a population plan – you didn’t have 20 kids. Australian families are sensible and have the number of children to whom they can give a good life. Why then shouldn’t we have a plan for the aggregate that says, “Let’s have the number of people in Australia that we can give a good life to.”
I would say that is pretty simple, but it is not discussed in any way – driven by the fear of politicians into being dishonestly distorted in their views, as your segment did to me last night.
Most importantly, I note the statement by marketing strategist Toby Ralph:
“I am very concerned that he is a guy who won’t vote for a Party that he is about to give $2 million to, and that seems to me a contradiction that you can’t fully move past. I think he needs a nice long lie down and a think about that.”
One simple phone call by your researchers to me would have informed them that I have never had any intention of making a donation to One Nation in relation to this issue. It is a complete fabrication.
I have attached a copy of the chapter in Overloading Australia entitled Media bias and ABC blues. I ask you to read it, and today at 4.30 pm I will be at the ABC Headquarters at Ultimo, waiting downstairs, and I expect to be given a chance to go on air to have the truth told.
I should point out that eight out of ten Australians agree with my views that we should have open discussion and a population plan – not endless growth, driven normally by endless greed.