Australia Media Politics Sex and sexuality

Drummed in, Drummed out – AP

This weeks article in Australian Presbyterian…

A cornerstone of any democracy is a free press. In addition to private owners most Western governments also feel the need for a government broadcaster – which is paid for by taxpayer money. Such a broadcaster has a duty to maintain balance and impartiality. When the State broadcaster becomes the voice of only one political or ideological view, we have entered troubled waters. Which leads me to The Drum, one of ABC’s flagship shows, hosted by the author, historian, broadcaster and self-confessed Christian, Dr Julia Baird.

I was in my hotel room in Canberra, that cesspit of iniquity otherwise known as Sin City, which clearly needs some puritanical cleansing; and had an hour to spare, so I thought I would heed the recommendations (‘you should watch The Drum, it’s unbelievable’), and sat down to watch. It was a stunning revelation.

I had thought that the BBC was biased but this made the BBC look a model of balance and reason! ABC is, like the BBC, State funded and has a duty to be balanced and impartial. The Drum has either completely forgotten that, or just rewritten the dictionary to give a completely different meaning to the words. Outside of Russian and Chinese State media, I’m not sure I have ever since such blatant political propaganda from a state funded broadcaster!

For an organisation committed to ‘diversity and inclusion’ the ABC does not demonstrate a great deal of either. All the ‘diverse and inclusive’ members of the panel were of the same mind on every one of the subjects they discussed. That included Julia’s current bete noir – this article complaining about crusading journalists – The whole panel joined in Julia’s crusade against the article – thereby inadvertently offering support for its main point.

Then we moved on to the current issue of sexual abuse. To the panellists it was all quite simple – men are to blame and the only way to fix it is to deal with ‘toxic’ masculinity (is there any other kind?) and teach everyone ‘consent’ lessons. The ridiculous statement, that ‘this country was conceived on the back of colonial sexual assault’, was permitted to go completely unchallenged. Julia agreed that the issue ‘we are talking about is how to discern whether someone was enjoying sex or not’. We were told that perpetrators are not monsters; they are just everyday men, your friends, fathers, sons etc. Nobody, least of all the hostess, challenged any of this nonsense. Instead, I was left with the impression if only we voted in the right way and adopted the policies of the panel, there would be no more violence or misconduct in the Progressive Nirvana. There was little or no discussion of the wider issues. Indeed, the whole show was a bit of a pantomime – Scott Morrison (boo, hiss), more sex consent education (hooray!).

Then we moved on to the issue of ending of the job seeker payment. Surely on this controversial political and economic point we would have some ‘robust’ discussion? Not a chance. The Labor party must have been delighted at the free party-political broadcast it was getting. $1 billion of tax payers’ money well spent. “Government can help us and pull us out of poverty, but they choose not to do so.” There is a case to be made for retaining job seeker, and a case to be made for removing it; the problem is that neither case was made. The case for removal was not heard. Those arguing for jobseeker being retained (forever) seemed to be reading from the Ladybird Book of Fantasy Economics.

And there was more. Our united panel then went on to discuss the issue of a transgender minister being appointed to the Uniting Church in Sydney. The Rev Josephine Inkpen was presented as the nice, kind face of religion (hooray!), facing down the evil Sydney Anglicans (boo, hiss!). The Drum had already set us up for this with a story a couple of years ago about Inkpen. We were given a wee sermon in progressive fundamentals – ‘the Gospel is about transformation, not order and keeping people in boxes’. The irony of course is that the Gospel is about deep transformation for all (not just accepting who ‘we are’ inside); and those who want to put people into boxes are the transgender activists, with their gender stereotypes and their distancing of women from biology.

The Anglican diocese of Sydney (boo, hiss) had produced a report on transgender which, IMHO, is one of the best things I have read on this complex subject. It is compassionate, biblical, learned, informative, reasonable and not dismissive of those who suffer from Gender Identity Disorder at all. But that was dismissed with the phrase “its ideological and dismisses the lived experience of people like us”. Never mind that the Drum was serving us up with its continual ideology. Never mind reason. Never mind reality. It’s only ‘lived experience’ that counts. And not all lived experience. It will be a cold day in Darwin before The Drum ever has someone telling their story of detransitioning, or how the indoctrination they received at school and on social media, led them to mutilate their bodies in order to appease their confused minds and confirm their messed-up society.

We were told that one in two Trans people attempt suicide. No one asked the obvious question – if that is the case then why encourage people to become Trans? We were also informed that it is what is inside that counts. Again no one asked the obvious question – why? Or indeed, what actually is inside? The assumption is that what you think (or feel) is what you are. So, if someone feels that they are too fat, we would encourage them in their bulimia or anorexia?

We were informed that the Uniting Church is the progressive strand of Christianity (which indicates why it is dying) whereas Sydney Anglicans (boo, hiss) are the regressive (who nonetheless are probably the most successful mainstream denomination in Australia). The hatred of Sydney Anglicans (boo, hiss) is not unconscious bias on behalf of The Drum, it is all too conscious. Julia is so obsessed with the Sydney Diocese (boo, hiss) that she even devotes a chapter in her best-selling book, Phosphorescence, to its darkness.

We were told that ‘the trans revolution is coming’. Indeed it is, and that is a cause for sorrow not rejoicing. It will be one of the most destructive ‘revolutions’ ever to hit Australian soil and will cause untold harm. But not according to Julia, who declared that this was ‘a positive note’ on which to end.

And so, we did. No questioning, no debate, no probing, no depth – just shallow, superficial, mocking, virtue signalling, progressive propaganda. In order to be ‘a decent human being’ we just had to agree, make sure we are on ‘the right side of history’ and get with the flow. It’s almost enough to make one turn to right wing alternative media. Almost. And therein lies a problem for Christians.

We must avoid the error of reacting to one political, social error by turning to another one. Yes, we can lament the lack of diversity and depth in our national state broadcaster (although of course there are honourable exceptions), but that should not cause us to seek simplistic (and unbiblical solutions). The answer to the Progressive Left is not the Regressive Right. The answer is the Gospel. Some Christians will work out their politics in what might be termed Left wing terms, others Right wing. I would hope all of us would hold our political opinions with humility and wisdom. They are not, after all, our religion.

Meanwhile we should be careful what we wish for. Some people say that if only we get more Christians into mainstream media, then things would improve. I’m not sure that’s’ true. Sadly, too many Christians pay a heavy price for having a seat at the table. Not least that they are not permitted any say in the menu. They just serve up what the world offers – with a smiling face. Whilst I would hope for and encourage more Christians to enter into the dark world of the media to be salt and light, I think more than that is required. We should pray that whoever our journalists and producers are – that they would be good at their job and allow a variety of views and opinions, so that the Gospel and the Word of God, could at least get a hearing. We are not asking for Christian propaganda – just justice and truth.

The End of Law in Australia? – AP

Dealing With Mainstream Media – AP

A Prophetic Letter from 1971 – The Church and the Media – Rev. James Philip


  1. -Subscribing to national or regional newspapers, which combine quality journalism with sensitivity or sympathy towards Christianity, may be one of the most positive things believers can do-

  2. Thank you for saying the things that need to be said with both stringent warning and great compassion.

  3. I too have noticed a number of more progressively minded Christians expressing concern about being found “on the right side of history”. What does that even mean? History as recorded or remembered by whom? And why should their opinion of us be so important?

    I have heard progressive Christianity described as “moral therapeutic deism” which to me makes perfect sense as in progressive thought I detect very little mention or concern of God as an actual person we can learn from or be accountable to. He seems to come across more as an impersonal (and entirely malleable) notion which can be made to fit whatever the secular humanist elites tell us to believe. I don’t think progressive Christians, at least the more extreme ones, actually believe in God.

  4. Yes. All very, very true. 🙁

    Baird is an activist for the ordination of women and has been at loggerheads with Sydney over that so there are some personal feelings/a conflict of interests there on her behalf.

    That aside, though, yes the ABC is very biased.

    Of course Inkpin is its new trendy poster child of what a priest should be. 🙁 For the uninformed he/she was a Brisbane Angpican (who give the Unitings a run for their money in the ultra-liberal stakes) until recently, so he/she has “transitioned” in more ways than one.

    On a much happier note, I hope you had a lovely Easter with the Australian part of your family , Pastor. God bless.

  5. Thank you for this article. You have addressed things that have concerned us for a long time. We rarely watch the ABC now, as we consider it too biased. We can not understand how the Government allows the situation to continue. As taxpayers we are very alarmed.

    Hope that the Government becomes more concerned with the situation, which in our view is out of hand!

    Thanks J & K

  6. But David, the panel on The Drum were talking about ‘Job Keeper’ not ‘Job Seeker’ so your “Ladybird Book of Fantasy Economics” might be cute but I don’t know that you would find anyone arguing for why Job Seeker should be stopped.

    And I’m actually not sure what you mean by ‘balance’ when there are people like John Hewson, Kerry Chikarovsky, Kate Carnell, Amanda Vanstone, Parnell McGuinness, Michael Jensen. Craig Chung, Adrian Picolli, Nyadol Nyuon as panelists quite regularly. Maybe you have missed the point of The Drum?

    1. Yes – I understand that you don’t understand what balance is. Having everyone on the panel agreeing about every subject may be your definition of balance…but its not mine.

  7. David, my apologies. In my previous comment I said that issue of The Drum that you are critiquing was looking at stopping Job Keeper not Job Seeker. I was wrong. The panel was discussing the small increase in Job Seeker on 1 April.
    It still was not a question of _removing_ job seeker however. I’m sure Niall Blair would also be intrigued that you thought he was giving a party political broadcast for Labor. And Nicky Hutley really does know something about economics — what she said about the level of Job Seeker does make economic and humanitarian sense.
    On what you termed Julia Baird’s bete noir (the article in AFR) I can’t check your characterisation of that because it’s behind a paywall. But I’m wondering if I would think the same of it as Niall Blair did?

  8. Can you explain what you mean by puritanical cleansing, as your use here conjured up images of the Salem witch trials.

    1. It was sarcasm and irony. The Salem witch trials is a pretty good way to describe the mob rule and media witch hunts going on here in Australia just now…

  9. ‘Diversity and inclusion’ – well, there is your red flag straight away.

    ‘The Gospel is about transformation, not order and keeping people in boxes’. It’s interesting that the most convincing deception has an element of truth in it. “”You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman” (Gen 3:4). And yes, that was true, not straight away but death entered the world be eating of the tree of knowledge.

    I get where this argument is coming from, the idea of release from oppression and in so doing transforming society. But how often did Jesus “put people in boxes”, calling them hypocrites, whitewashed tombs dead on the inside, making others twice as fir for hell as they are etc. Presumably, this “toxic masculinity” side to Jesus can be ignored in this light of transformation? No, it’s not a buffet where you pick and choose the nice things.

    And so for this “toxic masculinity” nonsense – yes it is true there is evil in every man. There is also evil in every woman. No-one is without sin and all have fallen short of the glory of God! But what happens with the pointing finger at men is there is a backlash. And we are starting to see this for example with demands in the light of police force used at the vigil for Sarah Everard. ” The police inspectorate has delivered a sweeping exoneration of officers’ manhandling of women mourning the killing of Sarah Everard, instead denouncing politicians who criticised the force”

    It seems that the tide may be turning on this David.

    1. Church authorities should have stood up to Marxist Feminism and the ‘toxic masculinity’ nonsense ( Ephesians 5 : 22 and 1 Peter 3 1 – 7 ) instead of cracking and crumbling ,

  10. David, you have made the mistake (which many others make) in categorising the ABC as the (sole) national publicly funded broadcaster.

    Although much smaller SBS is also publicly funded. To my mind is an exemplary service which consistently lives up to its charter and introduces Australians to the world outside its borders. It covers all the important things: world news, soccer and cycling.

    1. Bollocks
      The SBS is even more woke than the “gay BC” as it’s colloquially known.
      David is correct in that we should have little confidence in balanced journalism from our national broadcasters.
      Only gospel transformation can change that.
      Karl Barth reminded us 50 or 60 years ago (Time magazine) to read the news with our bibles open
      Sage advice really

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