John Singleton with Bob HowardRip Van Australia (Stanmore: Cassell Australia, 1977), pp. 16-19, under the heading “Aunty A.B.C.
This is almost identical with what appeared earlier in: John Singleton, “Let the airwaves sing unfettered,” Nation Review, April 9-15, 1976, p. 632; and that was a rewritten version of: John Singleton, “The media mafia,” Advertising News, September 5, 1975, p. 8.

One of the few things that old Dougie McLelland did when he was Minister for the Media Mafia was drive home the real danger of media monopoly in Australia. Unfortunately for Dougie, however, the point he drove home was not the one he intended. He carried on about Packer and Murdoch and Fairfax. (Even before 11 November 1975.) He complained that they had two licenses each and owned newspapers as well. Tsk. Tsk. But all he really hammered home was the fact that there was indeed a media monopoly, but it belonged fairly and squarely to the government itself who operate seventy-two A.B.C. TV stations throughout Australia. Seventy-two! And it is the government who also licence and therefore control the commercial stations as well.

Every twelve months the good old government looks at the applications from the monster commercial stations and decides whether or not they should be renewed. Which is a pretty frightening way to go about trying to run a business, subject to unknown whims, when you’ve got tens of millions of dollars tied up that isn’t much good for anything else.

And because the stations are subject to “licence” the government (of either colour) can set down all sort of funny rules and regulations, for example:

  1. Only eleven minutes of advertising per hour and only nine minutes on Sunday, as some sort of token respect to our Maker or whatever.
  2. So many “points” for local content if it’s news, more if it’s drama, less if it’s variety, more if it’s poetry reading, and so on. “Do as we tell you or we’ll take your licence away from you and never let you speak to anyone again.”
  3. No cigarette advertising. “We’ll cop taxes for Canberra and taxes for the States. We’ll make as much cop as we can out of the old fag caper, but you only have a licence and we’ll take it away from you if you dare to advertise what we dare make millions out of.” Sort of like a mini-prohibition, which just means that fags get more evil and therefore kids want to smoke more than ever, which is just the opposite of the intended result, which is par for the course.
  4. “Equal time” during elections so that even if one political party (either) is determined to take away your livelihood you must give them time to state their case, even though it means history for you. A compulsory sort of suicide (murder?) because it’s only a licence and otherwise it will be taken away. A lovely position to be in.
  5. And we (the trusted government of unimpeachable manners and propriety) will set down rules about good taste and so on that will apply to all commercial channels because you work off one of our god-given licences; but the same rules won’t apply to our seventy-two stations because we are beyond reproach.

And so it is that Graham Kennedy gets to prerecorded, in case he does a dreadful crow call, while anything goes on the A.B.C., and stick it up your bum and go as far as you like on 2JJ. And no one, or too few, if any, see the real points.

  1. The danger of government control over media is not imaginary but real. Last year a station in Tasmania was suspended for two hours for running a minute over in commercial time. Two hours is only two hours but surely the principle is the same if it were two years.
  2. Doug McLelland and the present conservative government advisors seriously mooted getting rid of one of the licences in Sydney and Melbourne so there would be less competition, and therefore less need to give the public what they want, and therefore big advertising revenue would be automatic for poetry readings and all the other things that bureaucrats would have the public force fed while they get pissed on public money and do all the things that the public also wants to do. None of which include poetry readings. And the most important thing is that the situations and the dangers, be they real or not, are absolutely unnecessary in any event.

The alternative:

  1. Surely the licencing set-up should be abolished so that existing TV and radio stations own their licences. If they run too many ads, people won’t watch and advertisers won’t advertise. If they run smutty programmes, ditto. The best of the existing licence holders will improve their position. The worst will go broke and have to sell up. Great, they obviously shouldn’t have had the licence in the first place. The people are the ultimate judge. Certainly there is one glaring danger. There are insufficient radio stations and TV channels. The monopoly could move from government to individuals which is equally dangerous. So why cannot the government also sell the other airwaves to other competitive parties at regular intervals? As stations grow in number, there will be a natural segmentation of the market. One station will set out to appeal to the cultural end of the market and attract advertising accordingly at lower operating costs and profit accordingly. And instead of having six radio stations in Sydney and Melbourne we would gradually grow to a situation like San Francisco with 100 radio stations operating commercially. Not overnight, but starting overnight.
  2. The A.B.C. should sell its stations, giving first options to its own staff. It should and would then be forced to accept advertising to pay its own way.
  3. Other airwaves would then be sold, say on the basis of one every three years, until all known frequencies are being used for the benefit of all and to the detriment of none save those who use their opportunity unwisely.
  4. Naturally this would apply automatically and equally to all FM and ethnic radio stations, as it is patently ridiculous that these be given government monopoly.

The savings would be enormous and immediate. The cost of the A.B.C. (in excess of $130 million per annum) would go overnight and in fact the government would gain from the sale of its stations. The cost of the Control Boards and most of the Department of the Media (whatever name it now does operate under) would also be saved, which would almost double the saving. Around quarter of a billion dollars saved.

The threat of re-introduction of TV licence fees for the general public would be removed forever. And instead of advertisers having to go down on their hands and knees to beg time from booked out stations, supply may against equate at least roughly with demand. More companies could advertise more economically to more selective markets (cultural, teenage, geriatric, educational, ethnic, literary, family, kids) with the consequent automatic benefit upon retail sales, productivity and thus real wages.

But while all this logic sits there, staring out at the world like a giant neon-lit sore thumb, all we do is discuss the need to maintain the A.B.C.’s independence. Well right now the A.B.C. has no independence, save that granted by its government paid commissioners. And if governments don’t have a greater axe to grind with media, and a greater temptation to manipulate the media than makers of Mortein, then we are rather bad judges of the power lust that pervades politics in Australia, in the world, now, in the past and forever in the future.

And those who wish to see their TV without interruption from advertisements should take up collection of $250,000,000 per annum and for that amount they could buy their own TV airwaves throughout Australia and do whatever they like with them. But at the moment, none of us has the choice.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
  2. Singo and Howard Propose Privatising Bondi Beach
  3. Singo and Howard Speak Out Against the Crackpot Realism of the CIS and IPA
  4. Singo and Howard on Compromise
  5. Singo and Howard on Monopolies
  6. Singo and Howard Support Sydney Harbour Bridge Restructure
  7. Singo and Howard on Striking at the Root, and the Failure of Howard, the CIS and the IPA
  8. Singo and Howard Explain Why Australia is Not a Capitalist Country
  9. Singo and Howard Call Democracy Tyrannical
  10. Singo and Howard on Drugs!
  11. Simpleton sells his poll philosophy
  12. Singo and Howard Decry Australia Day
  13. Singo and Howard Endorse the Workers Party
  14. Singo and Howard Oppose the Liberal Party
  15. Singo and Howard Admit that Liberals Advocate and Commit Crime
  16. Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
  17. John Whiting's Inaugural Workers Party Presidential Address
  18. John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
  19. Singo and Howard on Aborigines
  20. Singo and Howard on Conservatism
  21. Singo and Howard on the Labor Party
  22. Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
  23. John Singleton changes his name
  24. Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
  25. New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
  26. Singo and Howard introduce Rip Van Australia
  27. Singo and Howard on Knee-Jerks
  28. Singo and Howard on Tax Hunts (Lobbying)
  29. Singo and Howard on Rights
  30. Singo and Howard on Crime
  31. Singo and Howard on Justice
  32. Singo and Howard on Unemployment
  33. John Singleton on 1972 cigarette legislation
  34. Singo and Howard: Gambling Should Neither Be Illegal Nor Taxed
  35. Holed up, hold-up and holdout
  36. The libertarian alternative vs the socialist status quo
  37. Workers Party Platform
  38. Singo and Howard Join Forces to Dismantle Welfare State
  39. Singo and Howard on Business
  40. Singo and Howard on Discrimination
  41. Singo and Howard on the Greens
  42. Singo and Howard on Xenophobia
  43. Singo and Howard on Murdoch, Packer and Monopolistic Media
  44. Singo and Howard Explain that Pure Capitalism Solves Pollution
  45. Singo and Howard Defend Miners Against Government
  46. Singo and Howard on Bureaucracy
  47. Singo and Howard on Corporate Capitalism
  48. The last words of Charles Russell
  49. Ted Noffs' Preface to Rip Van Australia
  50. Right-wing anarchists revamping libertarian ideology
  51. Giving a chukka to the Workers Party
  52. Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
  53. "A beautiful time to be starting a new party": Rand fans believe in every man for himself
  54. Introducing the new Workers' Party
  55. Paul Rackemann 1980 Progress Party Election Speech
  56. Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
  57. Voices of frustration
  58. Policies of Workers Party
  59. Party Promises to Abolish Tax
  60. AAA Tow Truck Co.
  61. Singo and Howard on Context
  62. Singo and Howard Blame Roosevelt for Pearl Harbour
  63. Singo and Howard on Apathy
  64. Workers Party is "not just a funny flash in the pan"
  65. Singo and Howard on Decency
  66. John Singleton in 1971 on the 2010 Federal Election
  67. Matthew, Mark, Luke & John Pty. Ltd. Advertising Agents
  68. Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
  69. The writing of the Workers Party platform and the differences between the 1975 Australian and American libertarian movements
  70. Who's Who in the Workers Party
  71. Bob Howard interviewed by Merilyn Giesekam on the Workers Party
  72. A Farewell to Armchair Critics
  73. Sukrit Sabhlok interviews Mark Tier
  74. David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
  75. David Russell Workers Party Policy Speech on Brisbane TV
  76. Bludgers need not apply
  77. New party formed "to slash controls"
  78. The Workers Party
  79. Malcolm Turnbull says "the Workers party is a force to be reckoned with"
  80. The great consumer protection trick
  81. The "Workers" speak out
  82. How the whores pretend to be nuns
  83. The Workers Party is a Political Party
  84. Shit State Subsidised Socialist Schooling Should Cease Says Singo
  85. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  86. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  87. Singo and Howard on Freedom from Government and Other Criminals
  88. Singo and Howard on Young People
  89. Singo and Howard Expose how Government Healthcare Controls Legislate Doctors into Slavery
  90. Singo and Howard Engage with Homosexuality
  91. Singo and Howard Demand Repeal of Libel and Slander Laws
  92. Singo and Howard on Consumer Protection
  93. Singo and Howard on Consistency
  94. Workers Party is born as foe of government
  95. Political branch formed
  96. Government seen by new party as evil
  97. Singo and Howard on Non-Interference
  98. Singo and Howard on Women's Lib
  99. Singo and Howard on Licences
  100. Singo and Howard on Gun Control
  101. Singo and Howard on Human Nature
  102. Singo and Howard on Voting
  103. Singo and Howard on
    Inherited Wealth
  104. Singo and Howard on Education
  105. Singo and Howard on Qualifications
  106. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  107. Singo and Howard Hate Politicians
  108. Undeserved handouts make Australia the lucky country
  109. A happy story about Aborigines
  110. John Singleton on Political Advertising
  111. Richard Hall, Mike Stanton and Judith James on the Workers Party
  112. Singo Incites Civil Disobedience
  113. How John Singleton Would Make Tony Abbott Prime Minister
  114. The Discipline of Necessity
  115. John Singleton on the first election the Workers Party contested
  116. Libertarians: Radicals on the right
  117. The Bulletin on Maxwell Newton as Workers Party national spokesman on economics and politics
  118. Singo and Howard: Australia Should Pull Out of the Olympics
  119. Singo and Howard Like Foreign Investment
  120. Mark Tier corrects Nation Review on the Workers Party
  121. The impossible dream
  122. Why can't I get away with it?
  123. The bold and boring Lib/Lab shuffle
  124. Time for progress
  125. The loonie right implodes
  126. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  127. John Singleton on refusing to do business with criminals and economic illiterates
  128. Censorship should be banned
  129. "Listen, mate, a socialist is a bum"
  130. John Singleton on Advertising
  131. John Singleton on why he did the Hawke re-election campaign
  132. Sinclair Hill calls for dropping a neutron bomb on Canberra
  133. Bob Howard in Reason 1974-77
  134. John Singleton defends ockerism
  135. Singo and Howard talk Civil Disobedience
  136. The Census Con
  137. Singo and Howard Oppose Australian Participation in the Vietnam War
  138. Did John Singleton oppose the mining industry and privatising healthcare in 1990?
  139. Bob Carr in 1981 on John Singleton's political bent
  140. John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
  141. John Singleton on elections: "a Massive One-Day Sale!"
  142. John Hyde's Progress Party praise
  143. King Leonard of Hutt River Declares Defensive Just War Against Australia the Aggressor
  144. Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
  145. Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
  146. John Singleton bites into Sinclair Hill's beef
  147. Save Parramatta Road
  148. 1979 news item on new TV show John Singleton With a Lot of Help From His Friends
  149. Smoking, Health and Freedom
  150. Singo and Howard on Unions
  151. Singo and Howard Smash the State
  152. Singo and Howard on the big issue of Daylight Saving
  153. Come back Bob - It was all in fun!
  154. A few "chukkas" in the Senate for polo ace?
  155. Country Rejuvenation - Towards a Better Future
  156. Singo and Howard on Profits, Super Profits and Natural Disasters
  157. John Singleton's 1977 pitch that he be on a committee of one to run the Sydney 1988 Olympics for profit
  158. Thoughts on Land Ownership
  159. 1975 Max Newton-Ash Long interview on the Workers Party
  160. The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
  161. The great Labor Party platform: first or last, everybody wins a prize
  162. The politics of marketing - laugh now, pay later
  163. Singo and Howard call Australia fascist and worse
  164. The mouse will roar
  165. Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
  166. Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
  167. Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
  168. Hancock's playing very hard to get
  169. Harry M. Miller and The Australian disgrace themselves
  170. Ocker ad genius takes punt on art
  171. John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
  172. John Singleton mocks university students on civil liberties and freedom of choice in 1971
  173. Murray Rothbard championed on Australian television in 1974 (pre-Workers Party!) by Maureen Nathan
  174. John Singleton profile in 1977 Australian MEN Vogue
  175. I think that I shall never see a telegraph pole as lovely as a tree
  176. Ralph Nader vs John Singleton on Consumer Protection
  177. John Singleton's first two "Think" columns in Newspaper News, 1969
  178. Singo and Howard on Ballet
  179. Product innovation comes first
  180. Protect who from a 'mindless' wife?
  181. A party is born
  182. Tiny Workers' Party gives us a hint
  183. John Singleton on the ad industry, consumerism and innovation
  184. Workers Party Economic Policy Statement, December 1975
  185. Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
  186. John Singleton and Howard on Government Largesse
  187. Counterculture must exclude government handouts
  188. John Singleton's 1974 Federal Liberal Election Campaign Ads
  189. John Singleton believes in the Workers Party
  190. Write-up of John Singleton's 1978 speech to the Australian Liberal Students Association
  191. Singo in 1987: "Joh doesn't go far enough ... I want absolute deregulation of the economy"
  192. Maxwell Newton chapter of Clyde Packer's No Return Ticket (1984)
  193. Singo and Howard on Totalitarian Socialism and Voluntary Socialism
  194. Rip Van Australia on Ripoff Vandals Taxing Australia
  195. Singo and Howard beg for tolerance
  196. John Singleton's 1985 advertising comeback
  197. Singo and Howard Demand End to Public Transport
  198. John Singleton and Howard on Fred Nile, Festival of Light, FamilyVoice Australia and the Christian Lobby
  199. Capitalism: Survival of the Fittest
  200. Return Australia Post to Sender
  201. Singo and Howard on Public Utilities
  202. John Singleton and Howard say monarchy should be funded by monarchists alone
  203. John Singleton on cigarette advertising
  204. Singo in 1972 on newspapers' demise
  205. John Singleton farewells Bryce Courtenay
  206. John Singleton on Australian political advertising in 1972
  207. Gortlam rides again
  208. Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
  209. John Singleton on trading stamps, idiot housewives and government
  210. 1975 John Singleton-Sir Robert Askin Quadrant Interview
  211. Singo asks two prickly questions
  212. VIOLENCE, TV BAN, DRINK - SINGO SPEAKS HIS MIND
  213. Why John Singleton can't keep a straight face
  214. Why John Singleton Defends Smokers Rights
  215. Tony Dear on Paul Krutulis, the Workers Party and murder
  216. An Ode to Busybodies
  217. Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
  218. How many tits in a tangle?
  219. Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
  220. John Singleton wants the Post Office sold and anti-discrimination legislation scrapped
  221. A speech from the Titanic
  222. A crime must have a victim
  223. John Singleton vs Australia Post
  224. Minimum wages the killer
  225. Has Fraser got his priorities all wrong?
  226. John Singleton says "the royal family should be flogged off to the U.S."
  227. John Singleton vs Don Chipp and the Australian Democrats
  228. John Singleton vs Don Lane
  229. John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
  230. John Singleton's 1986 reflection on the Workers Party
  231. Bob Howard in 1978 on libertarianism in Australia
  232. John Singleton on the stupidity of anti-discrimination laws
  233. Thou shalt know the facts ... before thou shoot off thou mouth
  234. Charity: An Aesop Fable
  235. Bob Howard announces the Workers Party in freeEnterprise
  236. New improved moon
  237. Announcing people ... YES, people!
  238. Creativity in advertising must be pointed dead on target
  239. John Singleton on barriers to, and opportunities for, effective communication
  240. Wayne Garland on John Singleton on Advertising
  241. John Singleton schools ad course
  242. John Singleton: advertising awards
  243. Mr Singleton Goes to Canberra for Australian Playboy
  244. John Singleton on his TV career for Australian Playboy
  245. John Singleton sacked for telling the truth about Medicare
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