The truth bomb that terrifies Turnbull

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There is mass outrage today at the news that Turnbull has pressured the ABC to take down and censor parts of an article by Emma Alberici which analysed how little tax some of Australia’s largest companies pay. This story reeks of a scandalous government intervention in a publicly owned free press. But this isn’t the only story. In fact, it’s not the biggest story. If you look closely at exactly what was removed from the article before it was reposted, you can see what Turnbull was so desperate to censor. And you immediately see where this desperation comes from: a fear that his house of cards is about to come crashing down, blown up by a truth bomb. Because the line that was taken out of this article smashes not just Turnbull’s entire political ideology, his political career and his government’s hold on power; it also smashes the right wing narrative the world over. The stakes are that high.

This is the key line which the public no longer have access to:

There is no compelling evidence that giving the country’s biggest companies a tax cut sees that money passed on to workers in the form of higher wages.

The Guardian reports that ABC director of news, Gaven Morris, gave in to Turnbull’s pressure to change the article because ‘he believed it sounded too much like opinion’. In other words, Turnbull told Morris that Alberici’s statement of fact – that there is no compelling evidence that tax cuts trickle-down to workers – is not a fact, and is instead an opinion.

At this point, we could waste hours of outrage, sending Gaven Morris every ABC news article ever printed, with segments highlighted to show how opinion is inherent in any news article – whether it be opinion about what is important to report, how the report is framed, which ‘facts’ make it in and which are excluded, who is used as a source, what order those sources are used, who doesn’t get a chance to speak, and what prominence the story is given on the ABC news agenda. But, again, this is not the big story.

The big story is Turnbull’s fear of workers finally understanding the truth. Finally understanding how they’ve been lied to for generations. Why else would Turnbull go to such extraordinary lengths to get this so called ‘opinion’ removed, if he didn’t know how damaging this truth is to his neoliberal worldview?

The truth is, Emma Alberici is spot on. The truth is, there is no evidence that tax cuts either increase wages or create jobs. If there was such evidence, Turnbull would be able to point to it, instead of censoring an opposing view. The truth is, the lie that tax cuts increase wages and create jobs has been engineered as conventional wisdom by right wing governments and the compliant media for so long, that workers have fallen hook line and sinker for the lie and punched themselves in the face by turning against unions, the only ones giving them the power to stand up to the liars.

The truth is, Turnbull is terrified the lie is no longer believable. And it’s no longer believable because workers are waking up to the reality that their Point Piper millionaire PM, who uses tax havens to ensure wealth created through the labour of workers doesn’t come back to the community, who uses the power of government to make rules enabling other millionaires to steal wealth from workers, is actually lying to them. These lies benefit Turnbull individually – giving him political power and more money. These lies benefit all the Turnbull’s kind – the one-percenters whose wealth has grown exponentially as compared to the wealth of those whose productivity produces the wealth. Once these lies are exposed, once the game is up, there is no turning back.

I have long said that once workers realise wealth doesn’t trickle down, right wing governments will never be elected again. Turnbull knows this too. So, he can censor all he likes, but editing an ABC news article is akin to pissing in the ocean when the waves of change are building like a truth-tsunami. Bring it on.


  1. Thanks Vic been reading you articles most of the time. This one has really angered me to the degree I have posted the linked unedited article on Facebook. Cheers.

  2. Well put together article, thank you!

    May I recommend “Austerity: History of a dangerous idea” by Blythe?

    He shows that neoliberal economics has never worked anywhere ever and has actually inhibited economic recoveries.

  3. “workers have fallen hook line and sinker for the lie (that tax cuts increase wages and create jobs) and punched themselves in the face by turning against unions”

    I think this is a complete non sequitur. Sure the myth of tax cuts increasing wages is a complete lie, but this is completely unrelated to the reasons for a big decline in union membership, which is much more likely to be down to globalisation, and the casualisation of employment. I haven’t belonged to a union for 40 years, during which time I have worked on contract in IT because I make more money that way. The fact is that today workers grab work where they can find it, and often that work is casual. Finding full time work at award wages where there is even any point to belonging to a union is increasingly difficult. That’s a consequence of the nature of the modern global economy, not because some nasty right-wing ideologues are telling lies.

    These same right-wing idealogues push policies and actions that encourage inequality, and result in fewer benefits for the average worker. Left-wing ideologues push policies that support redistribution of wealth and tend to result in more benefits for the average worker, but the professionalisation of politics means that workers, who are just as smart as everyone else, can see that left-wing pollies tell almost as many lies as right-wing pollies. This happens for a reason. Almost all politicians know that short term apparent advantage keeps them in office longer, and the means of getting those short term advantages don’t really matter.

    In this environment, implying that the only thing stopping increasing union membership is the lies of right-wing politicians is just plain deluded at worst and disingenuous at best.

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