Privatising ABC, National Space Agency hot topics at LNP conference

It was the ABC that created one of the more heated debates at the LNP state convention in Brisbane on Saturday.

Day two of the convention was jam packed, with Liberal National Party members from across Queensland voting on almost 50 resolutions, ranging from the abolition of stamp duty and CEO salaries to the sanctity of human life and whether Australia should establish a national space agency.

While many resolutions were passed – or failed – without much dissent, the debate over two ABC resolutions lasted 40 minutes.

Young LNP President Mitchell Collier introduced the first resolution calling for the privatisation of the ABC, saying it was a waste of taxpayer money and there was “no need for a public broadcaster”.

Other Young LNP members argued in support, saying the ABC was “only a mouthpiece for the Greens” and calling it “fake news”.

However, other LNP members stood up in support of the ABC, saying there was “so much more to the ABC than it’s left-wing bias”, particularly their regional radio and television services.

Despite the impassioned arguments of the young liberals, the resolution sank like a stone.

The second ABC resolution – calling on the government to financially penalise the broadcaster for any quantified bias – was also voted down.

Members in favour wanted a panel of experts to “quantitate” the ABC’s bias, and financially penalise that part of the broadcaster until the bias was reversed.

But party members against the resolution said it was a “ridiculous” idea and would be “electoral suicide”.

Ian Prentice said across the board political parties would be able to find news coverage they did not agree with.

“The concept of monetary penalties for news we don’t like … is a disgrace. We should never be associated with it,” he said.

A resolution on food labelling – specifically, labels showing the sugar content measured in teaspoons – also failed.

The couple that brought the resolution, Maurice and Dell Thompson from the Southern Downs, said they probably could have argued their case better, but it was worth fighting for.

Mr Thompson said their idea was no different to the plain packaging laws for cigarettes.

“The biggest thing is it’s fundamentally the same argument for smoking,” he said.

LNP members liked the sound of a National Space Agency more, with the resolution carrying despite the fact there was already a federal government feasibility study in the works.

Resolutions up for debate on Sunday are flood-proofing for Bundaberg, the use of money to change traffic light symbols for “ideological symbols” and whether state party members should call on the federal government to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.