National broadcaster was just doing its job

CRITICISING AUNTIE: Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
CRITICISING AUNTIE: Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Vicki Wood

IF YOU gave a damn about this country then you'd certainly want to make sure your democratically elected Prime Minister was held to account, wouldn't you.

Tony Abbott may have been dismayed by those very questionable claims of asylum seeker abuse - but that is not a reason to completely ignore those claims and blindly accept everything our Uncle Tony says is gospel.

The ABC has copped flack for its coverage of all matters political in recent times but this claim that Abbott made about the national broadcaster being somehow unpatriotic, because it dared to report the asylum seekers' allegations, is a bit hard to swallow. It is especially hard to accept Abbott's rant when you consider it was Fairfax that first reported claims of boat people having their hands burned on the boat's muffler.

On January 9, Channel 7 also reported claims that asylum seekers were "handcuffed, thrown to the floor and beaten".

The ABC's mistake - according to Abbott - was to find footage showing asylum seekers being treated for burns.

This doesn't mean the Royal Australian Navy caused those burns but it does show those people were burned somehow.

All the ABC did was seek the government's response to the claims and then report it. I can't remember them taking one side over the other.

Gathering evidence to back up a story of international significance does not make the ABC biased or unpatriotic - it just provides us with more information on which to judge the veracity of the claims.

Only an unpatriotic media organisation - or one controlled by a dictatorship - would ignore such evidence, based on the fact that it might paint the country or its government in a negative light.

A quote from Abbott this week was telling.

"You can't leap to be critical of your own country and you certainly ought to be prepared to give the Australian navy and its hard-working personnel the benefit of the doubt," Mr Abbott said.

This is not a game of cricket - nobody should get the benefit of the doubt.

Abbott should not use the Defence Force, or his warped ideas of patriotism, as a shield or an excuse to withhold the truth.

What is most important to this country is not the government of the day being able to save face, thanks to some kind of sycophantic media.

Abbott's job - Morrison's job too - is to tell the truth and, if there is even a hint of either of them withholding the full story, then I would expect the media to do their level best to squeeze it out - regardless of how long it takes.

Certainly there should be no criticism levelled at the ABC for merely seeking to follow up the allegations.


AWARDS: Nile Rodgers poses with his trophies at the Grammy Awards.
AWARDS: Nile Rodgers poses with his trophies at the Grammy Awards. JOE KLAMARAFP

Rodgers hits right note

HOW good was it to see a legend like Nile Rodgers up on the stage with a handful of Grammy Awards this week, and how good of Daft Punk to let Rodgers, Paul Williams and other unmasked contributors to their record take the credit.

For once the predominant story in the news following the awards was not how revealing Beyonce's costume was, or how wasted some other rock 'n roller was, but how inspiring the actual music was.

Rodgers was a member of Chic during the 70s and 80s but is probably better known for coming up with some of the most infectious guitar riffs and hooks of the past 30 years - including David Bowie's China Girl and Let's Dance.

For this alone, he is a legend in my eyes, but when I first saw him sharing the stage with Pharrell Williams and the mysterious helmeted French rhythm section in the film clip to Get Lucky, I thought all my Christmases had come at once.

It is no wonder that Get Lucky is so infectious - Rodgers is the official king of the catchy, funky guitar riff and also one hell of a successful producer. I don't know how you could watch him play the guitar and not smile.

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