The Forgotten People

By Margo Kingston May 9, 2013 The day after Howard, Abbott and Brandis, among other Liberals, pulverised our freedoms for George Bush, they did it again for Chinese President Hu. This chapter of my book is Part 5 in our series of memory joggers for shadow Attorney General George Brandis, in the hope that he revises his recent speech this week proclaiming his Party a champion of free speech. Senator Brandis has rather oddly chosen not to publish the speech online so it can be freely read by voters, so for now check out the transcript of the @alberichi interview after he delivered it. In our time, we must decide our own belief. Either […]

MSM outrage-shaming: What’s it all about?

By Alison Parkes May 8, 2013 This piece is written in response to these three articles which have appeared within the past couple of weeks 1)  Hooked on outrage in the Twitter wars  by Jacqueline Maley, 20 April Fairfax 2)  The left takes a turn for the ugly as power slips through Labor’s grasp by Chris Johnson, 28 April Fairfax 3)  Feminist backs Abbott on ‘calibre’ comment  by  Heath Aston and Jonathan Swan, 7 May Fairfax What these three articles share in common is a criticism of how people, particularly those on the Left, use Twitter to express outrage at comments made by Tony Abbott, Alan Jones, and the politician Dennis Jensen. […]

A day in the life of Our House under siege

By Margo Kingston May 8, 2013 Margo: In this chapter from my book, I detail the unprecedented mauling of press, parliamentary and citizen’s freedom in Parliament by Howard when George Bush came to Canberra in 2003. Brandis was in the thick of it, and made no protest. My contemporaneous report of the events is Parliament meets Bush: A day in the life of our faltering democracy Political systems have much more frequently been overthrown by their own corruption and decay than by external forces Robert Menzies, ‘The Sickness of Democracy’, from The Forgotten People radio broadcasts, 1942 The anti-democratic hustle On 8 October 2003 John Howard’s government lied to the Australian people to obtain their Parliament’s consent […]

Community Cabinet: Policy sounding without the press gallery fury, froth and bubble

By Kevin Rennie April 20, 2013 Source:  Labor View from Bayside There were quite a few surprises at Julia Gillard’s Community Cabinet on 17 April 2013, hosted by Norwood Secondary College in Melbourne’s eastern suburb of Ringwood. Cabinet members held one-on-one interviews before a public forum that lasted over an hour. The government school is in the Federal seat of Deakin held by Labor’s Mike Symons. Deakin only needs a swing of 2.41% to change hands but Mike certainly is not conceding anything. First surprise was that the protesters outside came from only one interest group: the Animal Justice party had mustered over 100 supporters. There were no climate sceptics, no […]

@Barnaby_Joyce states the case for Labor’s media merger ‘public interest test’: How will the Nats vote?

By Margo Kingston March 17, 2013 The National Party has long opposed further media domination by Rupert Murdoch, as detailed in the two media policy chapters in my book. It fought against John Howard’s weakening of media concentration laws to facilitate Murdoch expansion, and Barnaby Joyce actually crossed the floor in 2006 to vote for his amendment to limit the damage of Howard’s legislation. Guess what he wanted – a public interest test for big media mergers! And that is what the ALP has proposed. So, now that Labor wants to pass a modest roll-back of Howard’s laws to allow the Media Advocate to stop very, very big media – ie […]

Last chance to rein in Murdoch

By Margo Kingston March 16, 2013 Here’s a history lesson on the long road to media dominance by Rupert Murdoch, aided by both big parties, via two chapters in my book. The Liberals said yes to Murdoch under Howard, and will keep saying yes. They are partners, or rather, Abbott is Murdoch’s puppet. I also tell the story of how I lobbied minor parties to stop Murdoch’s law in the Senate in 2003, and describe Fairfax journalists’ long struggle to preserve our values of fearless independent journalism. Murdoch papers’ incendiary reaction to Conroy’s reforms – led by Murdoch’s top executive in Australia Kim Williams – means Murdoch’s empire has something to lose. […]

Media reform laws address abuses of long-fought for freedoms

By Matt da Silva (@mattdasilva) March 15th, 2013 Source:Happy Antipodean In a useful run-down on his blog, journalism law academic Mark Pearson outlines some objections to the government’s proposed media reform legislation. It is a little brief and although it starts out promisingly, political concerns quickly rush to the fore. Here’s his first objection, near the top: Here we have a piece of legislation proposing a statutory mechanism for the supervision of industry-based self-regulation of print and online news media. That, dear readers, is ‘regulation’. Fair enough, and we’ll get to my reaction to this point later. But for people interested in understanding the implications of the proposed laws in terms of the Privacy Act, […]

Media despots, tsars and henchmen bury media reform

By Noely Nate March 13, 2013 OMG! Australian Media Reform means the sky falling in, freedom of the press under attack, the Government trying to gag the media.  Growing anger at ‘Soviet’ media reforms, Gillard’s Henchman Attacks Our Freedom (great Mao photoshop on that one). My personal favourite is Press tsar to check standards from The Australian, our supposedly pre-eminent National paper.  Hell, even Blind Freddy can see the theme here. I thought the hyperventilation on Sky News and ABC24 yesterday afternoon was bad enough, but no, the News Limited papers seriously out-did themselves this morning.  I have spent the last few hours toiling away reading all the opinions on the ‘Threat to our Democracy’ that media reform is and so far, […]

Democracy, ethics, tolerance and public civility

By Tony Fitzgerald December 08, 2012 Margo: Tony has kindly given me permission to publish a piece he wrote for the Oz late last year. There are about 800 politicians in Australia’s parliaments. According to their assessments of each other, that quite small group includes role models for lying, cheating, deceiving, ‘rorting’, bullying, rumour-mongering, back-stabbing, slander, ‘leaking’, ‘dog-whistling’, nepotism and corruption. A recent editorial valiantly suggested that ‘toxic debates test ideas, policy and character’, but a more orthodox view is that ethics, tolerance and civility are intrinsic elements of democratic society and that the politicians’ mutual contempt and aggressive, ‘end justifies the means’ amorality erodes respect for authority and public institutions and compromises social […]

To perform our democratic function we need and are entitled to the truth: Tony Fitzgerald

By Margo Kingston March 6, 2013 News of the accidental publication of secret documents from the Fitzgerald Royal Commission got me thinking about my hero in the context of recent examples of our corrupt and dishonest politics. Tony Fitzgerald exposed the corruption at the heart of the Bjelke-Petersen government and laid out a blueprint for ethical government. Southerners were smug, but it’s since been shown that their governments were much more corrupt than ours. In 2004 Tony launched my book Not Happy, John! Defending out democracy and made some harsh judgments about the state our democracy. It’s got worse, and last year he noted with dismay the cronyism in the Queensland LNP government After awful news out of the NSW corruption inquiry, this week the Victorian Liberal […]