Monday, July 24, 2023
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Dear Mr Hendrickx
Thank you for your email.
Your correspondence has been considered by Audience and Consumer Affairs, a unit which is separate to and independent of program making areas within the ABC. Our role is to review and, where appropriate, investigate complaints alleging that ABC content has breached the ABC’s editorial standards: https://edpols.abc.net.au/
Please note that Audience and Consumer Affairs did not, as you suggest, make a ‘determination’ or ‘finding’ with regard to your complaint C19899-20; we declined to investigate. We remain satisfied that the response to you on 1 May 2020 was reasonable and accurate. Once again, you seem to have the expectation that Audience and Consumer Affairs will make a determination on the accuracy of Bruce Pascoe’s book Dark Emu. That is not our role.
However, I have brought your email to the attention of ABC Education, who have provided the following:
“ABC Education is reviewing the contents of the new book (Farmers or Hunter Gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate) as we do regularly with all our resources to ensure they remain relevant and useful additions to the Australian Curriculum. We are aware that some people don’t agree with Bruce Pascoe’s interpretations of historical sources and encourage people to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of all historical sources.”
Please be assured that your comments are noted.
Audience and Consumer Affairs
Saturday, May 15, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
I made a press announcement about the release of documents obtained through FOI/GIPA from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service about the closure of the Mt Warning/Wollumbin National Park and its famous summit walk. The documents were posted to my Right to Climb blog. The post may be accessed via this link: http://righttoclimb.blogspot.com/2021/02/foi-bombshell-permanent-ban-on-mt.html
The main findings of the release included:
• A "Final Wollumbin Closure Event" planned for 25 November 2022 and show NPWS have NO intention of re-opening the park to the public before that time. It’s clear the permanent closure has been planned for many years.
• Public information released about the safety issues on the Mountain by National Parks has a critical mistake. The Service have claimed there are "extreme" and "catastrophic" risks on the mountain from landslides and other hazards but the FOI documents show these are in error and these hazards are assigned a "medium" risk in Parks own safety assessment. For the hazards listed the risk is similar to other Grade 4-5 bushwalks in the state that are currently open.
• The medium risk conflicts with a slope stability assessment completed by geotechnical experts in 2018 that found risks to visitors from possible landslides and rockfalls in the park are very low, effectively lower than traveling anywhere by train in Australia.
• Consultations NPWS have had with Aboriginal groups have not included or considered and paid respect to the diverse range of indigenous opinions, about Mt Warning some of which actually encourage climbing. NPWS have an obligation under the National Parks Act to take the views of owners into account. The area of Mt Warning is the traditional area of the Ngarakwal/Nganduwal peoples. - not the Bundjalung who are a merger or various other northern NSW tribal groups. In an interview in 2007 before she died Ngaraakwal elder and Mount Warning custodian Marlene Boyd. Stated "I do not oppose the public climbing of Mt Warning - how can the public experience the spiritual significance of this land if they do not climb the summit and witness creation!" What a wonderful inspirational message that is! It is such a joyous affirmation of the awe and wonder we all experience when we connect with nature and the natural world, and it is outrageous that her views have been ignored by NPWS.
These points were listed in press release sent to SBS news.
On 18 FEB 2021 - 10:50AM SBS posted the following story to its website: Wollumbin could permanently close to climbers, documents reveal, by Reporter Shaman Shad
SBS's report is heavily one sided, unbalanced, lacks a diversity of views, and fails to cover major parts of the story related to NPWS' erroneous safety message and most shamefully censors the views of a deceased Aboriginal woman.
The report fails to mention and effectively censors the views of the Late Marlene Boyd. Marlene was Marlene was a Ngaraakwal elder and Mount Warning custodian. In a 2007 interview quoted in the press release she stated: "I do not oppose the public climbing of Mt Warning - how can the public experience the spiritual significance of this land if they do not climb the summit and witness creation!" It is to ABC'S great shame that they censored her voice and only provided one viewpoint about Aboriginal perspectives about the Mt Warning summit walk. The reporter would have been well and truly aware of Marlene's views as they were included in the press release
The report also fails to cover the errors in NPWS' safety classification.
The report fails to correctly mention the source of the documents and fails to accurately acknowledge the "Right To Climb blog".
This is perhaps one of the worst pieces of journalism I have seen and I have been reading and contributing to the press for 40 years.
The absence of any mention of the views of Marlene Boyd is a total disgrace. I do not know why your reporter has decided to discriminate against the legitimate views of a dead Aboriginal woman. If there was a Walkley for poor reporting she has won it.
To rectify the issue:
- SBS to apologize to the family of Marlene Boyd
- Correct the news story by including Marlene's wonderful message "I do not oppose the public climbing of Mt Warning - how can the public experience the spiritual significance of this land if they do not climb the summit and witness creation!"
- Accurately report on the errors NPWS have made in classifying hazards in the park.
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Your recent complaint to SBS (ticket number: 136495) does not fulfil the requirements of a code complaint under the SBS Codes of Practice.
According to Code 9 (Comments and Complaints About SBS Content), code complaints must be received within 6 weeks of the date of broadcast/publication of the relevant SBS content. Your complaint was received more than 6 weeks after The Point report that concerned you was broadcast and published on 29 October 2020.
As a result, your complaint will not be formally investigated on this occasion.
A copy of your concerns has been passed on to the relevant SBS division as feedback for their information.
Thank you for making your concerns known to us.
Researcher for the SBS Ombudsman
Six weeks prior to this story being published we were informed by climbers at Thompson’s Point that SBS NITV had been filming a story there. These climbers were alarmed at the ambush style interviews and the questions being asked of them without context. We approached SBS NITV immediately as we felt it likely from the nature of questioning that climbers were being unwillingly co-opted into a trope of ignorant climbers damaging Aboriginal culture and the environment. We were concerned that SBS NITV would not provide fair and balanced reporting. We provided information to counteract this image. This information has been totally ignored. We shall be making a formal complaint to the SBS ombudsman, and to the media regulatory body, ACMA.
Read the rest via this LINK and please send a complaint to ACMA and your local member if in NSW.
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Stuffed emu: how ABC education fails to educate
ABC have a statutory responsibility under their charter and editorial policies to ensure their output is impartial and reflects a diversity of views. The aim being to "equip audiences to make up their own minds".
On a number of topics ABC has demonstrably failed to live up to this principle and the message is less about providing the public with a range of views so they are able to judge for themselves and more about the ABC preaching their own views and their own opinions regardless of the facts and evidence. The tale of the stuffed emu outlined below is another example of that failure. This time it involves a site developed by ABC education that promotes one man's point of view about Australian history while ignoring errors in that view and failing to provide an alternate perspective supported by the historical evidence.
ABC picks and chooses where it follows its editorial guidelines. One area where the public must insist the principles are followed is on its education site.
Audience and Consumer Affairs
- This ABC Education resource has been available online since May 2019; as you would be aware, Audience and Consumer Affairs do not generally accept complaints for investigation which are received more than six weeks after broadcast or publication of the content in question. You have not provided any reasons for the delay in submitting your complaint. Nonetheless, we accept that since this resource was published, there has been some criticism of Dark Emu, and in light of this and in good faith we have broadly considered the matters you raise.
- This resource is based on the acclaimed, award-winning book Dark Emu by author Bruce Pascoe. Since its initial publication in 2014, the book has been generally well-received, as evidenced by the number of awards it won or was shortlisted for, as well as numerous positive reviews in the media and in academic journals. It was selected as the inaugural book for the Parliamentary Book Club and has been praised by politicians and other public figures. We are advised by ABC Education that Bruce Pascoe: Aboriginal agriculture, technology and ingenuity was produced for a number of reasons: the unit received a number of requests for a resource to be developed based on the book; the children’s version Young Dark Emu is being used in some classrooms; and more broadly there is a high demand from their audience for Indigenous history resources. Given these facts, Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied that Dark Emu is a credible and appropriate subject for an ABC Education resource.
- Audience and Consumer Affairs is aware that since 2019, Dark Emu has been the subject of some sustained criticism from a range of mostly non-expert sources, much of it relating to the accuracy of Dark Emu and Bruce Pascoe’s interpretation of sources. Given this somewhat persistent criticism, we have viewed the fact checking documentation undertaken by ABC Education for this resource, which demonstrates that reasonable efforts were made to ensure accuracy. We have also considered the context in which this resource is presented. Following receipt of your complaint, we note that ABC Education have updated the prologue to Bruce Pascoe: Aboriginal agriculture, technology and ingenuity to appropriately include this information: Note also that since 2019, Pascoe's work has been evaluated differently by some people, who don't agree with his interpretations of historical sources. This resource contains excerpts from the original texts and scientific evidence that Bruce draws on. We encourage you to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of all historical sources. The presentation of this module, as the name suggests, prominently features Bruce Pascoe and it is clear that he is presenting an alternative viewpoint, underpinned by research, which challenges the belief that Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers. The ABC’s Editorial Policies allow for this point-of-view style of presentation.
How the history wars avoid debate and reason
Friday, May 1, 2020
The rationale behind the government's "flatten the curve" strategy was to enforce strict physical distancing measures to ensure enough ICU beds were available to handle the caseload.
Under the government's model peak ICU demand with strict Level 3-4 Quarantine + isolation + social distancing measures in place was predicted to occur in week 43 (see graph below) which would be well into November with nearly 5000 ICU beds required, about double our capacity.
It seems reality played out quite differently.
The first case of Covid19 was reported in Australia on 25 January and around 14 weeks later it seems the "curve" has been well and truly flattened with only a handful of cases now reported daily. We never reached more than 5% of ICU bed capacity with maximum daily use being around 100 beds way back in week 10 prior to the effect of level 3-4 measures being felt and the release of the Government's epidemiological modelling. The pandemic for us is well and truly over and we now face the social and economic consequences of a completely disproportionate response. Handling of the Covid19 pandemic by Australian Governments at all levels has been perhaps the worst example of Risk Management in history.
The ABC costs us well over $1 billion annually, we could fund 15000 nurses for that figure, yet somehow it lacks the integrity to take the government to task over models that were effectively disproven on the day they were released.
ICU bed use from April 5 via Dep Health infographic series https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-at-a-glance-infographic-collectioninfographic_3.pdf
Total number of ICU beds: https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2020/surge-capacity-australian-intensive-care-units-associated-covid-19-admissions
More model fails: