Wednesday, 15 March 2017
As West Australians vote on Saturday, keen attention will be on a woman who isn’t a candidate, knows little about local issues, and lives a continent away. She is Pauline Hanson and her week-long campaign on the ground in Western Australia has demonstrated why she has stood for election 10 times since 1998 — six federal polls, two in NSW, two in Queensland — with just one victory. It has been a chronicle of chaos. [News.com.au, 10 March 2017]
A minor political party riddled with conspiracy theorists, climate change deniers and other right-wing ratbags, cursed by bad candidate selection, suspect staffing decisions and erratic leadership, now makes yet another mistake – its leader alienates an entire national media platform by banning ABC journalists from its post-election event in Western Australia.
Apparently failing miserably as a de facto Liberal Party partner at the 11 March 2017 state general election was just not enough for Pauline Hanson and sidekick James Ashby. They decided to take a leaf out of Donald Trump’s crazy political playbook.
Response from the ABC has been restrained but firm.
Australian Broadcasting Commission, ABC media release, 14 March 2017:
Statement from ABC Editorial Director: exclusion of ABC journalists by One Nation officials
The ABC is deeply concerned at the decision by One Nation to single out and exclude ABC reporters from its official election night function in Perth on Saturday night.
I have been in communication with One Nation officials since early Sunday seeking an explanation.
Despite the fact that One Nation has claimed that all media were treated appropriately and obtained material from a pool camera on the night, the facts remain that:
*Other media representatives from a range of organisations attended on the night without any prior arrangements or permission being required.
*Those other media representatives, who included broadcasters, agencies and newspaper reporters from inside and outside Western Australia, were granted immediate access to the event.
*The ABC was denied access, and was treated differently to all other media.
Throughout the Western Australian election campaign, the ABC has provided accurate, impartial and independent political coverage and all political parties have been the subject of appropriate scrutiny and questioning.
If the ABC has been denied normal access to political events for simply doing its job, then that is an attack not just on the public broadcaster but on the fundamental role of the media in a democracy.
We will continue, as we always have, to report without fear or favour.
ABC Editorial Director
BACKGROUND - WA GENERAL ELECTION
On 14 March 2017 with 75.92% of Lower House ballot papers counted PHON only had 4.83% of the primary vote with no seat gained and with 67.66% of Upper House ballot papers counted PHON had only 7.95% of the primary vote with one seat gained to date.
Updates can be found at https://www.elections.wa.gov.au/elections/state/sgelection#/sg2017.