The spectre of a cunning, disappearing Prime Minister

“Avoid loud and aggressive persons” – it’s the new Tony
Going placidly amidst the noise and haste – it’s the new Tony up there in the ether

 

4 November 2013

The intriguing case of the vanishing Prime Minister

Noise and haste was Tony Abbott’s trademark in opposition. Now as a faceless PM, he goes placidly as if a mere ghost of his former self. Why? To deaden the contrived fear, panic and crisis-driven rhetorical frenzy that cleverly got him into the top job. Now he has to deal with the reality of government and the truth could be politically dangerous. Breathtakingly cynical towards the Australian public, but he knows his God will bless them with a good dose of amnesia

This a man who hypocritically espouses Christian values. In contrast, the true universal values beautifully penned in Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, beg a take on what Abbott’s version might be in his new persona:

Desiderafter 7 September 2013

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what deception there may be in silence,
[after the clamour I created before the election]
As far as possible, without surrender,
Be as invisible as possible to all persons in the media.

Speak your message quietly and clearly, and pretend listen to others,
Especially the dull and the ignorant electorate; they believe my story.

Avoid loud and aggressive door-stops; they are vexatious
the spiritless. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter, for always
there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
[But in my case, there will rarely be greater persons than myself]

Enjoy your achievements as well as your scams.
Keep obsessed with your own power, whatever it takes;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of politics.

Exercise contempt in your political affairs, for the world is full of apathy.
But let this not blind you to what virtue is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of moral crusaders.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection to women.
Neither be cynical about ego, power and manipulation, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment;
it is as perennial as the grassy political landscape.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
surrendering the things of youth.
[Which I strongly deny]

Nurture withdrawal from public life to shield you in sudden misfortune of media scrutiny.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of being exposed as a backtracker.

Beyond a wholesome journalistic discipline, be gentle with yourself when you can’t find me or get answers.
You journos are children of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here, as long as you don’t challenge me.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe – my government – is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
[But I can assure you he is a Catholic Liberal Prime Minister in budgie smugglers]

And whatever your Labor aspirations
in the noisy confusion of defeat, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it – the ALP – is still a beautiful mess. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy in opposition.

FOR THE RECORD, HERE IS THE ORIGINAL POEM:

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious
to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter, for
always ?there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment;
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labours and aspirations
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

 

Bad news for babes in the wilderness … Rupert Murdoch

Robert Manne: “The Australian is astonishingly hostile to the Greens”

 

3 September 2013

Cuddlepie is orphaned by a freak gust of wind that sweeps him away from his mother’s arms, travelling across a great distance. He is rescued from a dreary fate by a kind Nut and taken in to live with his family. In this manner the two baby Nuts, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie become foster brothers. Growing up together in the bush the two become strong and fat. May Gibb’s illustrations depict them as little cherubs running along trees and through the grass, wearing a nut-shell for a hat. One day an old Kookaburra comes to the neighbourhood and tells a story about some mysterious creatures known as Humans. The two Nuts are entranced and Snugglepot decides to steal away in the dead night to find some, even though the Kookaburra has warned them how dangerous the large beings can be. Cuddlepie is more wary and insists on observing humans from a distance.

So went a story from May Gibbs‘ classic Australian children’s book series, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the gumnut babies. The Human in the case of this cartoon is Rupert Murdoch who has been widely reported as wanting to destroy The Greens.

“[Rupert Murdoch’s] The Australian is astonishingly hostile to the Greens. They think the Greens are going to destroy Australian well-being and the Australian economy and they think of the Greens as an evil party or a totalitarian party or as a mad party or whatever.” So says Robert Manne in the February 2013 edition of the Quarterly Essay, entitled ‘Bad News’, which examines the political influence of Murdoch in Australia.

A subsequent interview with LaTrobe University’s Professor Manne was posted on that university’s website. Here are some extracts:

Matt Smith:

This year has seen unprecedented scrutiny of Rupert Murdoch’s empire in Britain, but what about in Australia, where he owns 70% of the press. Today I’m joined by Professor Robert Manne of the Politics Program at La Trobe University and author of the new Quarterly Essay, Bad News, in which he investigates The Australian newspaper, Murdoch’s lead political voice here, and how it shapes debate. Professor Manne, thanks for your time today.

Robert Manne:

Thank you.

Matt Smith:

So, set the scene for us and tell us about The Australian.

Robert Manne:

Well, The Australian is probably the most influential newspaper in the country. It’s a combination of a broadsheet, not a tabloid, but it’s also part of the Murdoch empire and the paper that Rupert Murdoch has used since he established the paper in 1964 to influence the direction of Australian politics, Australian values, the Australian economy, and so it seems to me to be a highly influential paper, particularly because it’s the only general national newspaper and one that television and radio relies upon in a way on a daily basis for the way they interpret the world.

******

Matt Smith:

What role did The Australian play in the rise and fall of the Prime Ministership of Kevin Rudd?

Robert Manne

……. the caucus would have I think been influenced by this remorseless campaign that was in part personal and in part political, that was led by The Australian. So the essay gives a slightly revisionist version and says that The Australian should not be under-estimated as having played a role in undermining the Rudd Prime Ministership.

Matt Smith:

Has that trend continued to the Gillard Government at all?

Robert Manne:

Yes, very much so. Present politics is largely about this. The Australian never forgave Gillard for forming an alliance with the Greens. The Australian is astonishingly hostile to the Greens. They think the Greens are going to destroy Australian well-being and the Australian economy and they think of the Greens as an evil party or a totalitarian party or as a mad party or whatever. And once Gillard had signed an agreement with the Greens, in my view the paper became extremely hostile to the Gillard Government as well, or continued with the hostility that had built up under Rudd. And in the essay I analyse what I call a jihad against the Greens, and it’s interesting that finally a politician broke ranks and decided to take the risk of being overtly critical of The Australian, which was of course Senator Bob Brown, who finally had enough and has made his complaints about the bias of The Australian, both over climate change and over the Greens, has made it explicit and has taken on the paper. He’s probably the only politician apart from Stephen Conroy of Labor who’s done that. But the mood is now growing.

******

Transcript in full

April 2012 saw Bob Brown step down as Greens’ Leader, with the intention of quitting parliament in June. Senator Brown had said in May 2011 that he had no immediate plans to retire and cited News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch as a role model. At the time Mr Murdoch had turned 80. But Senator Brown has changed his mind. “Twelve or 18 months ago I did cite Rupert Murdoch as being a role model and say that I’d stay in it (parliament) to 2024 to catch up with his age. But I’ve watched his progress in the last 18 months and I’ve decided I changed my mind. So here I am.”

For Christine Milne, Brown’s successor, nothing has improved and Murdoch continues to influence public further towards the right with his papers’ anti-Green, anti-Labor, pro-Coalition propaganda. It is understood that Milne has no plans to resign … yet!

 

 

Rupert Murdoch to Kevin Rudd: buzz off!

"Our democracy could be hijacked by an octogenarian American intent on 'regime change'.  "
“Our democracy could be hijacked by an octogenarian American intent on ‘regime change’. “

 

16 August 2013

“It’s as though we don’t want to acknowledge the power of the most dominant newspaper group in the country, because to do so would be to confirm it, or it would be too uncomfortable to consider that our democracy could be hijacked by an octogenarian American intent on ‘regime change’.”

So writes Gay Alcorn in The Age today in her column Murdoch’s voice still reaches voters where she laments “the decision by the Murdoch press to replace news with propaganda during this election campaign”.

Murdoch’s News Corp Australia controls 65 per cent of newspaper circulation in the metropolitan and national daily market. Rupert Murdoch declared on Twitter that the public have had enough of Labor. Such intuition! His key newspapers have obliged by campaigning against the government from day one. One can only speculate on the career prospects of editors who did not oblige.

Expert at gutter journalism, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph can make a King’s Cross gutter at 2 am look like a surgical ward by comparison. Right at the forefront of Murdoch-induced anti-Labor vitriol, this paper, this shining light if of journalistic integrity decided to shine some light on the Kevin Rudd with an in-depth psychological assessment, not for the benefit of our prime minister, but in order to enlighten the electorate. How considerate!

The piece on 10 August 2013, headed Kevin Rudd – hero or psychopath? didn’t bother to address the ‘hero’ aspect, thus making it a rhetorical question with the subtlety of a meat cleaver. However, it magnanimously conceded: “Whether unfairly or resoundingly just, Kevin Rudd’s name has oft been etched beside those traits, by members of his own camp or from across enemy lines.” – those traits being impulsiveness, superficial charm, grandiosity, callousness, manipulative, lack of remorse or guilt, propensity to blame others, poor behavioural control and egocentricity.

An ancient invention, still used to this very day, appears to have escaped the attention of the Murdoch empire – the mirror.

Kevin Rudd – hero or psychopath?

A giant ego. A narcissist. A micro-manager. An impulsive control freak. A haphazard and secretive decision maker.

This is not what Kevin Rudd’s political enemies think of him. It’s what many of his colleagues do.

Whether openly or whispered in hushed tones to journalists, this is the picture once painted by his fellow ministers, MPs, public servants and diplomatic associates.

It’s a decent rap sheet – one that easily tops the usual bile directed at colleagues or opponents in the den of iniquity that is politics. But nothing that borders outlandish.

Then, one day, the dam broke. The outspoken and literally outgoing member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons took to Twitter and publicly declared his former leader a “psychopath”. Among other less than genteel terms.

Gibbons is a man who is routinely and rightly pilloried for making crude, stupid and nasty remarks in the name of cheap publicity.

But this time the term took off, which perhaps says more about Rudd than it does about Gibbons.

So is it true? Is the man running this country really a psychopath, given the aforementioned ferocious descriptions appear to tick plenty of the boxes that define such a diagnosis?

Firstly, one has to demystify the term.

Such a designate is no longer deemed by experts to be the exclusive domain of murderers, serial killers and rapists.

No, you could indeed be sitting next to one. Your boss could be one, or, perhaps more likely, your high-flying CEO in his spacious corner office suite.

In fact prominent Australian psychotherapist John Clarke claims that between one and three per cent of the Australian population could be certifiably deemed psychopathic, and he warns not just police to keep a look out but companies and political powerbrokers.

Anthropologist Stephen Juan suggests that one in 10 companies are headed by a corporate psychopath.

It seems psychopaths are everywhere, and they are more likely to wear a suit and tie, than carry a bloodied weapon or be pointing a sawn-off shotgun.

“One of the misconceptions about psychopathy itself is that people think a psychopath goes out and kills people. By definition, they are somebody that is recklessly indifferent to any physical, emotional harm they may cause,” criminal mind expert Steve van Aperen said.

“There are certainly many undiagnosed psychopaths in business and politics.”

Juan says often people get confused between the terms psychopath and psychotic, which makes people less inclined to label someone as the former and thus grouping them with such fiends as Ivan Milat, Charles Manson or Martin Bryant. The distinction is reality, he says. Those suffering from psychosis have lost grip on reality. Those deemed psychopathic are very much aware of it, and are attempting to control it.

They are often easy to spot, Juan says, and follow a defined set of traits that set them apart from normality.

“The corporate psychopath is the type of psychopath that gets into politics because they are usually exceedingly ego-oriented – it is all about them. So even when they get criticism, it is still all about them,” he says.

“They love the centre of attention. Good or bad they see themselves being the centre of the universe.

“They are the great users, the great manipulators, they often have aides and underlings do work for them, and expect blind loyalty but they don’t give loyalty in return. They use everyone for gain.

“Everything is about them. If you talk to them in a conversation about your issues, they will immediately turn it around to their issues. It’s as if no one exists other than them.”

They are always exploiting issues for their own gain, says Dr Juan.

They climb the corporate ladder very effectively, they are often very charming and articulate, often very good looking which they use to their advantage.

It is the only thing they exist for. Themselves. They can’t be trusted, they will lie to your face and deny they have when they are caught. They never own up to their own actions, they are always blaming others. They are polar opposites in public and private, with the former a place for their charm offensive to be exercised, and the latter a dark place of indifference and loathing.

It’s the psychopath’s modus operandi; a persona that they can’t escape from, a disguise that soon becomes arduous to hide.

In a bid to unmask those with psychopathic tendencies and prevent crime, Canadian criminal psychologist and FBI adviser Robert D Hare created the Psychopathy Checklist in the early 1990s that remains the gold standed for reference.

Its defined set of traits include impulsiveness, superficial charm, grandiosity, callousness, manipulative, lack of remorse or guilt, propensity to blame others, poor behavioural control, egocentric.

Whether unfairly or resoundingly just, Kevin Rudd’s name has oft been etched beside those traits, by members of his own camp or from across enemy lines.

His impulsiveness is well documented, from rushed decision making done without proper consultation with colleagues or stakeholders, to his “policies on the run” such as the changes to the Fringe Benefit Tax system that

crack down on salary-sacrificed cars, to the detriment of the struggling car industry.

On these rash methods, he is internationally renowned.

 

Julia Gillard – trial by gender. Verdict – exile!

It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1000 times more scrutinising of women.

It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1,000 times more scrutinising of women — indeed, less critical of men. If Julia Gillard had bat ears, it is unlikely she would have made it to the prime ministership in the first place.

A word of caution: If you happen to be a highly intelligent woman with deep philosophical convictions and passion for the future of Australia, and have aspirations to become prime minister, go for it. But only if you do not have any physical imperfections that make you lesser in appearance to Elle McPherson. But then again, if you are blond, the media will destroy you anyway.

As if looking back on the demise of Julia Gillard, Marilyn Lake wrote a piece for The Age, just one day before Australia’s first female prime minister was ousted by the Labor caucus, in favour of a … you guessed it … a male … who will, odds on, not be sexualised by Australia’s media and wider culture. By Bruce Keogh

An excerpt from Marilyn Lake’s article 25 June 2013:

How could we have foreseen what would befall her? The relentless persecution by senior male journalists, the vilification, the sexist mockery, the personal abuse and the contempt with which she would be treated. Between 2010 and 2013, the full force of Australia’s masculinist political culture would be brought to bear on this path-breaking woman.

It is now a truism that history will prove more sympathetic to Gillard’s prime ministership – and the policies she introduced – than contemporary commentators have been.

What will mostly attract historians’ attention, however, will be how she was treated, the rabid misogyny, the hysteria of men who could not abide the spectacle of a woman in power, who labelled her a bitch, a witch, a liar, a usurper, an illegitimate claimant who refused to bow down before her male rivals.

She has been sexualised in a way no previous prime minister has been sexualised.

In the past three years, obscenity has become a favourite mode of prime ministerial denigration.

Full column by Marilyn Lake who is Professor in History at the University of Melbourne researching the international history of Australian democracy.

Penny Wong’s Q&A gay marriage watershed moment

WongFamilyFixKEOGH1000x1000

In retrospect: Q&A 14 May 2012 – gay marriage watershed moment

Joe Hockey verbatim: I must confess my views have changed since I’ve had children. I think in this life we’ve got to aspire to give our children what I believe is the very best circumstances, and that’s to have a mother and a father.

Penny Wong acknowledged that comments like Hockey’s were hurtful, and concluded by calmy saying: ”I know what my family is worth.”

Sydney Morning Herald – source, video and full article

Rebekah Brooks: What, Me Worry?

Rebekah Brooks has pleaded “What, Me Worry” to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.
Rebekah Brooks has pleaded “What, Me Worry” to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.

6 June 2013

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has pleaded “What, Me Worry” to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.

Looking up from reading a copy of Mad Magazine, the former editor of the now defunct News of the World, indignant at being interrupted, blithely entered pleas of “What, Me Worry” to five charges relating to her time running two national tabloids.

Ms. Brooks then left the court with her spiritual advisor, Alfred E. Neuman, who spoke to the awaiting media throng saying, “What, She Worry? She is planning to move to Australia to take up a prestigious position at the Poowong Post.

 

The Editor
Poowong Post
Victoria
Australia

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to apply for the position of Journalist, as advertised in your esteemed newspaper.

I received a cutting of the advertisement in the mail, sent to me by a former colleague who fled to Australia seeking a better climate. You might know her; she works as a barmaid at your pub and goes by the alias of Sheila.

I am not sure where Poowong is located, but it sounds like a lovely place. According to Sheila, it is in a dairy farming district in Victoria, but I have been unable to ascertain the exact whereabouts because I donated my laptop to the police as a contribution to the Scotland Yard Christmas Raffle. Those police do such a wonderful job protecting we Brits from the low-lives who attempt to undermine the very fabric of our society, so I was more than happy to have it confiscated.

I have had extensive journalistic experience and have even been editor/chief executive of two major British tabloids. In fact, I have become quite a celebrity, but have tired of the limelight. I want to migrate to Australia with my husband to live a simple rural life and slip into obscurity.

That is not to say that being appointed as a journalist with the Poowong Post is slipping into obscurity. I believe it to be a highly prestigious position. I would be delighted to be at the forefront of breaking news in your town.

In fact, Sheila has already given me a few leads. She says that the Easter Billy Cart Derby was fixed by the local s.p. bookie, that judges of the Country Women’s Association annual cake decorating competition were bribed with cases of whisky, and that the prying telephone exchange operator is having an affair with the Catholic priest, who is enjoying three other sexual liaisons.

This presents me with the opportunity to illustrate my extra-journalistic talents and pro-activity, which I am sure you will applaud. I could bribe the phone exchange lady for all the local gossip she eavesdrops on, in return for keeping mum. I could pay the local policeman for inside information; that would be easy because it was his wife who won the CWA cake decorating competition. And as for the local bookie; well, let’s just say I am very handy with secret tape devices and could get some inside running on your next picnic race meeting. And the Catholic priest might be surprised to read transcripts of his expressions of lust, by courtesy of a device hidden under his bed by yours truly. Yes, pressing the flesh is what it is all about.

I will be the biggest thing to happen to Poowong since electricity was connected. You do have electricity don’t you?

I can guarantee that I will quadruple your circulation within a month and even turn the national spotlight on your little backwater which I would turn into a tsunami. The media will swarm like flies to a Poowong cowpat.

However, that brings a minor point to mind. A shy, shrinking violet such as myself does not desire any adulation for stirring up media frenzies. I have had enough of that. I would prefer to go by the nom de plume of Verity Virago, and not be available for any interviews, especially television.

I must stress that you should not fear for your position of editor. I am known for my loyalty and integrity; just ask any of my former employees at the now defunct News of the World.

Do not bother to reply. I will simply assume I have been successful in this application, and will be there in three weeks time to commence duties. If there are any unforseen circumstances, such as bail complications or passport seizure, I will let you know with plenty of advance notice.

Yours sincerely,

Rebekah Brooks

PS: Does Poowong have mobile phone reception?

REFEREES

Rupert Murdoch

James Murdoch

David Cameron

 

Coverage by ABC Online: 

Rebekah Brooks pleads not guilty to phone hacking charges

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.

The former editor of the now defunct News of the World entered pleas of not guilty to five charges relating to her time running two national tabloids.

The 45-year-old is charged with offences including conspiracy to hack phones, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The scandal led to the closure of the tabloid, and eventually to the Leveson inquiry into press standards in the UK.

She is due to stand trial in September.

Her husband Charlie Brooks also pleaded not guilty to allegations of covering up evidence.

Other senior staff, including the tabloid’s former managing editor Stuart Kuttner and former assistant news editor James Weatherup, also pleaded not guilty to charges related to phone hacking, while her personal assistant pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Brooks was arrested in July 2011 along with other members of staff over charges related to the unlawful interception of mobile phone messages to generate front page news stories.

The scandal, which prompted the closure of the mass-selling News of the World and a year-long public inquiry, sent shockwaves through the British establishment as it revealed the close ties between the country’s media, police and politicians.

 

 

Stephen Conroy versus seething media convoy

Paying the price for daring to equate media freedom of speech with undue and irresponsible influence of public thinking?
Paying the price for daring to equate media freedom of speech with undue and irresponsible influence of public thinking

20 March 2013

As if re-living the dread of having school assignments returned by the teacher with red-pen-gone-haywire cross-outs, corrections and comments, journalists now fear  Stephen Conroy‘s plans to have a government appointed watchman, red pen in hand, overseeing every columnist, commentator, contributor, correspondent and reporter in the country, making sure that nothing disparaging of his government will reach the eyes and/or ears of the sensitive electorate which is so easily influenced by adverse press.

That’s what some sections of the media would have us believe as they rail against this so-called draconian threat to press freedom and freedom of speech.

Senator Conroy, whose proposed media legislation to introduce regulatory powers over the media’s existing independent and self-regulating bodies, has at Julia Gillard’s apparent last-minute instigation, effectively pointed a toy pop gun at the cannon power of the media, News Limited in particular, as if in protest that they are using their heavy artillery to damage the government. Silly sausage Stephen!

One of most vociferous opponents of the legislation has been News Limited’s Sydney Telegraph papers, and if Conroy had his way, the vitriol in the following Sunday Telegraph article (17 March 2013) would have been duly moderated with the proverbial red pen – in the public interest of course!

FEDERAL Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is a (sook). sensitive new age guy.

(In fact, it is you people at the Telegraph who are the sooks because you are upset at the prospect of being forced to moderate your blatant bias against the Gillard government.)

His (attack) proposed legislation on media freedoms is an emotional reaction to what he perceives as a (section of the media out to get him and the Gillard government). valuable initiative in the public interest. Normally a (dummy spit) bill of this monumental proportion would be nothing more than (a minor amusement). due democratic process. But this is a case of a federal minister (manipulating) enhancing public policy to exact a personal (vendetta). moral and ethical stance.

And that makes him a (sook) nice bloke with a (dangerous) principled agenda.

The government’s drive to introduce regulatory control over our media began with events in the UK. According to Prime Minister Gillard, phone hacking conducted by British papers owned by News Corporation somehow implicated publications in Australia. Gillard said the British breaches caused people to “ask some questions here in our country, some questions about News Ltd here”.

The Prime Minister has never explained what those questions might be. (Isn’t it self evident?) Even this week, Mr Conroy’s office declined to cite examples of media behaviour that supported the move for greater control. because they were too numerous to detail before the deadline of this article going to print. We would submit, yet again, that phone hacking is a British media phenomenon without local parallel. (I’ll let that one go through to the keeper.)

Following a (pointless) valuable and albeit expensive media inquiry, which Fairfax Media boss Greg Hywood (correctly) incorrectly noted had no reason to exist, the government now (proposes) provides more than 200 pages of legislation to (rule) assist your newspapers and the wider press. Citizens in totalitarian states are familiar with the results of government control over media. (Just as trees are green and the sky is blue.)

Conroy was (upset) amused over last Wednesday’s Daily Telegraph front page humourously linking him to historically oppressive government figures, but he cannot deny the essential truth behind the (potent) tongue-in-cheek image: any level of government control over media represents a diminished level of media freedom. to rightly maintain fairness, accuracy and privacy in reporting, and to preserve the imperatives of balanced and objective journalism. After all, Conroy could see the ironic parallel between historically oppressive government figures and manipulative modern-day media barons.

(As) If media freedoms are diminished, so too are the freedoms of readers and consumers. who deserve to be informed in an honest and objective manner. That is why this issue is so very critical, and why Australia’s collective media organisations are aligned in (opposition) support of Conroy’s proposed legislation. This is not a News Ltd issue, as much as Mr Conroy tried to make it thus. All the media recognises the huge social and democratic importance of its onerous responsibilities. Those few commentators who dismiss the (concerns) support of media organisations over the government’s plans should ask themselves how they might enjoy life under a regulatory-free framework that (interfered) gave them free rein with their own misguided rights to free expression. Such commentators tend to be unfriendly towards the present government, but the true (menace) beauty of media regulation is that it may well not change depending on the government of the day. What is considered acceptable by one government may not be considered so by another.but the regulator will be impartial.

According to Conroy’s proposed legislation, a Public Interest Media Advocate would be appointed by the government to consider, among other things, the connection between media coverage and as yet undefined “community standards”. The Minister has argued the advocate would be “benign”, which of course immediately begs the question why one (is needed). has not already been appointed. We believe community standards are better judged by the community, who are already able to voice concerns via any number of channels, including media outlets themselves. , however we accept that “community standards” require clarification. Adding a (needless) valuable layer of government (intrusion) involvement would (damage) enhance the relationship between media and the public. Forget Mr Conroy’s tears. of joy. If this legislation is passed, Australians will really have a reason to weep. for those less fortunate countries where the media is more powerful than democratically elected governments, able to bring down governments it disapproves of by indoctrinating its audiences.

HOMEWORK

Write a piece on the following proposition:

Media freedom of speech is tantamount to freedom to unduly and irresponsibly influence public thinking.