ANTHONY Albanese channelled Bernie Sanders this morning, declaring “democracy shouldn’t be for sale.” He means that wealthy individuals should be legislatively banned from supporting independent conservatives or the Coalition. Speaking to friends on ABC’s Insiders, the leader of the Opposition magnanimously allowed that Australian citizens should be allowed to “participate in our democracy” by making donations but … “But what they shouldn’t be able to do is to spend an obscene amount of money, which is what we saw in order to change a political [outcome in 2019],” he said. He was referring to the $4.1 million donated by Isaac Wakil to the Liberals and the $83 million donated to the UAP by Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy.
Leaving aside the insulting conspiracy inherent in claiming the last election’s outcome was ‘changed’ by cash rather than decided by voters (and blown by Bill Shorten), that Mr Albanese had the temerity to say this on the ABC is risible. The annual budget for the national broadcaster is $1 billion – or $3 billion over the course of a conventional parliamentary term. The entirety of the political commentary and promotion generated by that massive treasury – across all platforms – benefits the Labor Party and the Greens exclusively. Union affiliation fees are the major official source of ALP funding. So the LNP and the UAP were backed in 2019 voluntarily by private individuals or entities spending their own money (a dud investment, in my opinion). Meanwhile, Labor sneakily received – in effect – at least as much, but likely far more in free propaganda, from pickpocketed union members and taxpayers forced to bankroll the ABC. If the LNP is dumb enough to legislate one itself or keep in place a Labor-enacted donations cap, they don’t deserve to hold office again.