When the politicisation of “national security” morphs into a vicious attack on the independence of our Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), it’s another sign Australia is racing down the road towards a fascist state.
This confected outrage about #qanda reveals the depth of the totalitarian impulse in this government. It frightens me.
— Jane Caro (@JaneCaro) June 25, 2015
On Monday night our ABC’s QandA (@qanda) program allowed Zaky Mallah (@ZakyMallah) (a young man convicted of making threats against ASIO officers but found not guilty of terrorism charges), to ask a question of the panel.
Tony Jones correctly and immediately ruled a statement made by Mr Mallah as out of order.
The circumstances of Mr Mallah’s appearance will be reviewed by the ABC
Prime Minister Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR), has since ordered a government inquiry into our ABC, prompted by the re-airing of Monday’s episode.
Previously, Abbott has said a politician complaining about media was the same as “a footballer complaining about the umpire”.
A government inquiry into our ABC makes a mockery of its independence and should be deeply troubling to all Australians.
Zaky Mallah, is by no stretch of the imagination a model citizen, but his voice in the proposed citizenship-stripping law is an important one. He is in the relatively unique position of having been accused of terrorism and subsequently found not guilty.
His case illustrates what is wrong with the laws, as they’ve been put forward in the public arena by numerous members of the government: Zaky Mallah focuses attention on Abbott’s attempt to bin (apologies to @firstdogonmoon) the rule of law in Australia.
QandA producers were on the money in their judgement, Mallah is an important voice and point of focus in the debate.
For the Abbott government, a human face being attached to draconian “national security” laws is a dangerous thing, much in the same way the faces of people suffering on Nauru would undermine support for asylum seeker policies.
Steve Ciobo MP (@steveciobo) is not silly. He would’ve sensed danger, which is why he went on the attack. Ciobo said:
But I’m happy to look you straight in the eye and say that I would be pleased to be part of a government that would say that you’re out of the country as far as I’m concerned.
A member of the Australian government tells a young man, found not guilty of terrorism by a jury of his peers, that the rule of law shouldn’t count and he should be banished.
The idea of throwing away the rule of law upsets me, I can only imagine how my blood would boil if the comment was aimed directly at me. Ciobo also said:
My understanding is that the reason you got off terrorist offences was because they weren’t retrospective in application and that’s the only reason.
Phillip Boulten SC (@PhillipBoulten), Mallah’s lawyer tweeted:
Prefixing a statement with “my understanding”, is a tool politicians use when they have no idea what they’re talking about or know their statement is incorrect.
If a government MP is unaware of the circumstances surrounding Mallah’s extremely high profile case, when they’re involved in creating and/or advocating such draconian laws, it would be astounding.
Where is the outrage in the media about a member of parliament being so loose with the truth?
What did Mallah say that drew the ire of, Tony Jones?
Yeah. Yeah, sure. The Liberals now have just justified to many Australian Muslims in the community tonight to leave and go to Syria and join ISIL because of Ministers like him.
Many experts, leaders in our Muslim community and other Australians have argued that laws and government rhetoric, aimed squarely at the Muslim community, only feeds the alienation many young Muslims feel and increases the risk of radicalisation.
Although Mullah made a complete hatchet job at expressing his thoughts, he was saying exactly that.
“What he was saying is that the government’s approach is likely to cause more radicalisation, the government’s approach isn’t helping,” she said.
The actions and rhetoric of government may contribute to radicalisation in some cases, Dr Aly said, although they are only “part of the puzzle” alongside social and psychological factors, global trends and IS propaganda.
Jones was wrong when he ruled Mallah’s comment “out of order”. His comment is supported, in varying degrees, by experts. In any event, we should listen to someone who was in danger of radicalisation and has since joined the campaign against terrorism.
I can only assume Jones called Mallah’s comment out of order, because like me, initially he was confused about what Mallah was trying to say.
Much more controversial was Ciobo’s suggestion that we should dispense with the separation of powers: the legislature would still make laws, but the executive would put laws into practice and also interpret laws.
do we require… … …criminal conviction or do we say, no, a Minister can do that based on intelligence advice, based on the advice of others, subject to, as I said, the rule of parliamentary democracy?
In 1984, Thatcher described the National Union of Mineworkers as “the enemy within” and told Parliament giving in to the miners would surrender the rule of parliamentary democracy to the mob.
In Australia today, we’re told that we must surrender the rule of law to Abbott’s parliamentary mob because of an enemy within.
This week Zaky Mallah became that enemy.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR), follows Mallah, on Twitter. Consorting with the enemy?
Education Minister Christopher Pyne (@cpayne), referred to Mallah, as a convicted terrorist: it would be incredible if he was unaware the statement was utterly wrong.
Conservative commentators all week claimed, Mallah made a broadcast call to arms for Islamic State. Completely untrue. Lateline transcript.
GERARD HENDERSON: What he said on air was that young Muslim Sunnis should go to …
EMMA ALBERICI: No, he did not say that.
JONATHAN HOLMES: He did not say that.
GERARD HENDERSON: He said that Muslims should go …
EMMA ALBERICI: No, he did not say that.
GERARD HENDERSON: No, he did not.
GERARD HENDERSON: He said they should go and join IS.
EMMA ALBERICI: He said in his view …
JONATHAN HOLMES: He did not say that.
GERARD HENDERSON: OK, right.
EMMA ALBERICI: Let me tell you exactly what he said. He said in his view, many Australian Muslims would’ve been so upset by the Minister Steve Ciobo’s words that that would encourage them to join Islamic State, which is a leap to say that he told them to go and do it.
GERARD HENDERSON: That was said with a sense of approval.
When the lie is called out and disproved, make up a reason as to why the lie is still true, mind-boggling stuff, Gerard Henderson.
Mallah’s tweet above is deeply offensive, misogynistic and vile, no fair minded person would approve the sentiment or feel a need to embellish it. Yet The Australian reported:
Mr Turnbull noted that the young man had recently used social media to suggest the gang-rape of two female journalists.
When you seek to build outrage by degrees, every little lie helps.
Sporting culture in Australia has a dark underbelly, it’s not unheard of for football teams to engage in group sex or gang bangs. Indeed, it has been viewed by some as a normal part of team building.
As vile as Mallah’s tweet is, a gang bang is a consensual act.
But change gang bang to gang rape, and many, especially the racists, xenophobes and islamophobes, will see a crime only Muslims commit, or so they believe.
If Mallah’s vile tweet is reason to exclude him from public conversations, I say we apply that same rule to all vileness.
It’s unsurprising Rupert Murdoch’s media empire would lay the boot into our ABC, his Institute of Public Affairs (@TheIPA) makes no secret it wants to “break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function“.
Is anyone surprised by the hypocrisy of Murdoch’s media?
While we’re on the subject of murdocrisy.
What does Mallah say about terrorism?
Nothing justifies a suicide bomber to blow anything up. Let alone to blow innocent people. Period! — Zaky Mallah (@ZakyMallah) June 10, 2015
What does Mallah say about ISIS?
Murdoch’s current attack on our ABC has very little to do with Zaky Mallah and everything to do with his desire to own our ABC.
Like everything Murdoch does, self-interest rules. Murdoch should’ve learned from his MySpace debacle, you can’t buy into trust after trashing any you had.
Tony Abbott asked whose side our ABC was on. ABC managing director, Mark Scott answered: ‘Australia, the A in ABC is for Australian, we’re a independent public broadcaster, we’re not a state broadcaster.’
By the end of the week, such was the ferocity of the attack by Murdoch’s media and the Abbott government on our ABC, it was put into lock-down because of threats.
Who is the terrorist now, Prime Minister Abbott?
There is no doubt many of the current Liberals would like to see our independent public broadcaster closed or sold off. Although I doubt that is the aim behind the latest attack on our ABC.
There is only one area of public policy Tony Abbott’s Liberals have any traction in the electorate: national security.
If you doubt the politicisation of our national security? Take a good hard look at all the lies and deceptions from the Abbott government and their flying squad of media goons, during the week.
For anyone who still doubts how low some will go to gain political advantage: remember this? You saw it on steroids this week.
Division in the community makes news, for Abbott, if that division is around issues of national security, it’s a winner.
Sources have told No Fibs ALP polling in marginal seats is fantastic, except on issues of national security. The belief is it’s an issue that needs to be neutralised. You’d have to assume the Liberal party has similar polling.
A government so devoid of principles it seeks community division to force its political strength can not be neutralised, it must be defeated.
Long live our ABC, long may they get up the noses of those who seek to rule Australia by dividing us.
What people are saying on Twitter
We are now witnessing a govt feeding frenzy on the ABC. Seriously this is appalling. — Paul Bongiorno (@PaulBongiorno) June 25, 2015
Gerard Henderson hectoring on Lateline….Jonathan Holmes doing civilised best..BTW Paul of Tarsus was a Christian hunter who redeemed self. — FatherBob (@FatherBob) June 25, 2015
Any chance Tony Abbott or Andrew Bolt would speak out against those now threatening staff at the ABC? #auspol
— Chris Johnson (@Dream_Brother_) June 26, 2015
— chris murphy (@chrismurphys) June 25, 2015
Calling for people’s heads to roll. Threatening to ‘shirt front’ people. The violence of this rhetoric is making me feel sick — Ben Quilty (@BenQuilty) June 25, 2015
— Phillip Boulten (@PhillipBoulten) June 23, 2015
And with this gem… I call Friday Happy Hour early. *pop* https://t.co/JgfNulKFVR
— Wendy Harmer (@wendy_harmer) June 26, 2015
— Father Ted (@oldjoeschmo) June 26, 2015
— Ben Saul (@profbensaul) June 24, 2015
This can all stop, Mr Jones, if you will just tell us who invited Zaky Mallah on your vile and treasonous program. pic.twitter.com/8QgJGla5Ug
— Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) June 26, 2015
So the threat to the ABC at the moment is not Zaky Mallah – it’s the right wing Crazies Abbott and NewsCorpse have sooled onto the place. — Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) June 26, 2015