Worst Labor PM ever

I’m prepared to call it.

Julia Gillard is the worst Labor Prime Minister Australia has ever had.

I’m sorry, but does she stand for anything? Anything positive? The only good things she’s managed to do have been those forced on her by the Greens and independents, or watered-down versions of her predecessor’s policies.

Every time she opens her mouth it’s to sell-out further. To smear another vulnerable group – from gays to refugees.


I’m really relying rather heavily on the “it’s me or Tony Abbott” argument

Yup. The only Prime Ministers who were worse than Julia Gillard were all the ones from the Liberal Party.

Christ, imagine if she was as bad as John Howard, or the media’s preferred next Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. At least we should be thankful she hasn’t sunk that low.

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79 responses to “Worst Labor PM ever

  1. Worse than Billy Hughes?

  2. Wat is the worse thing you tink she has done.

    I know she might be the most unpopular but does that mean the worse as well.

    Is the PM is the worse we have had, we are indeed a lucky country.

  3. It’s not just the PM though – the entire Labor Right is a disease within Labor, pulling us towards the Howard/Abbott abyss. Gillard is merely their creature. If this keeps it up, there may be another split like the DLP/ALP split last century.

    Interestingly, every time a Labor split has happened it was the mean and nasty anti-progress Liberals-in-disguise types that were expelled, not the progressives and union representatives:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Labor_Party#Labor_splits

    So keep being stupid Labor Right. All you are doing is hastening the day that the Labor Left and the Greens form a new progressive governing coalition without you.

  4. “Wat is the worse thing you tink she has done.”

    Refugee policy, obviously. Trying to be meaner and nastier than Howard is never going to get one additional bigot vote. It is however hollowing out the left vote. Why does she persist?

  5. Robert Merkel beat me to it, I also was thinking of Digger Hughes, who I would rate as far worse than Gillard. Holding a second referendum to conscript Australian men to go fight in WW1 Europe because he didn’t get the answer he wanted in the first one and still chucked a huge public sook that lasted months after the second No.

    Still, Jeremy raises a great point: what’s one positive thing that Gillard has driven HERSELF as her own policy? When you remove her government’s achievements things that have been forced by Greens/Indies or left over by Rudd, what remains? I can’t think of anything.

  6. Catching up – worst Labor PM. Not the worst overall. She’s still vastly better than all of the Liberal PMs.

    Hmmm…. don’t know much about Hughes. Suppose I should do more research before claiming a superlative. Maybe Gillard’s only the second-worst.

  7. I don’t think it matters, Jeremy – if the only thing Gillard’s got going for her is that she’s a better Labor PM than Billy Hughes, it’s not saying much :/

    To give her credit, she does appear to be an excellent negotiator – give her a roomful of people to negotiate with, she gets an outcome.

    But your point about the negatives of her leadership is well-made.

  8. Maybe we shouldn’t have an excellent negotiator as PM? Some things, like respect for human rights and equality, should be non-negotiable. A PM needs negotiators on their team, but is it really wise to put one in charge of making the final call on policy?

  9. jordanrastrick

    or watered-down versions of her predecessor’s policies.

    Yeah, versions which have actually been implemented, because unlike Rudd, who proposed a lot and got little actually in place, she understands politics requires negotiation, and is good at it.

    But yeah, that’s a totally irrelevant and trivial fact. Obviously.

  10. narcoticmusing

    Negotiation – ie moving on your position to accommodate others – is exactly what is causing the disfranchisement with Obama. Rather than pushing the Democrat position – that which those who voted for him desire – he starts with a compromised position based on what the Republicans wanted and then wonders why the deal gets worse and worse. A leader should lead. This doesn’t mean there is never a space for compromise, but there also should not always be a space to compromise.

  11. Oh FFS stop blaming the politicians!
    You’re the ones that gave them the job.

    Since arriving in this country in 1988, I can say that this is the most ignorant, self-obsessed, whinging and down-right Amercan electorate I’ve ever had the misfortune of knowing.

    You get the politicians you deserve.
    Both Liberal and Labor voters should shut the fuck up or change their demands.
    It’s called democracy.
    Using it won’t send you blind.

    Cheers.

  12. Hughes was expelled from the Labor Party with a number of his followers before his worst excesses. Nevertheless I don’t think Ms Gillard is as bad as he was. But you do clearly have to go back a long way to find a Labor Prime Minister who is worse.

  13. And the media speculation continues. Kevin would romp it in apparently:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-12/labor-would-win-with-rudd-as-leader-poll/2880852

    Except … and this is the big except … if they put Kevin in now, the media will spend the next two years tearing him apart just like they did last time. He’s popular now because he’s off the front page. Sigh.

  14. Marek, while I understand your sentiments, given the extreme bias of the papers and that there is not representation of much of the electorate in our system, there is good reason to feel irritated. That and expressing our opinion is one of those wonderful freedoms we enjoy.

  15. Gillard’s negotiating skills are only a positive if you assume she has an agenda for Australia that she believes in and wants to prosecute.

    Negotiating in a vacuum, where your only priority is maintaining Labor power, delivers a worthless result that is utterly devoid of any consistency, principle or progress. Gillard’s sorry carbon tax performance has been the single worst piece of politics I’ve ever seen.

    To be fair she shares the same insipid agenda as all her career politician colleagues, but Gillard’s shameless pursuit of careerist rather than ideological goals has laid bare the dead heart of modern Labor.

    Politics should be a battle between ideas, not a battle between politicians. It’s time for Labor die and to be replaced by a real Centre-Left party – one that actually believes in something.

  16. You’d definitely have to go back to Hughes to find a worse Labor PM. MInd you I don’t think Scullin was up to much either, but he did have the Great Depression to deal with. But Gillard has just been so disappointing. How well I remember that bright morning last year when everyone was talking about her taking over. And the feeling among Labor-leaning people was that at last something was being done about the government’s terrible malaise and Gillard would set things right.

    Her great problem as others have pointed out is that she doesn’t know what she stands for. Like most people who’ve reached her rank in the Labor party she has spent all her adult life getting there and almost no time thinking about what she would do if she made it.

    I went to the same political school as she did – the Victorian Socialist Left via the Council of ALP Students (CALPS.) We were a hard-nosed bunch of operators who prided ourselves on our pragmatism. Yes we were “Left” (whatever that might mean) but we knew theory without power was useless. So we put all our effort into securing power. And the result is…the Gillard government.

    Disappointing times indeed.

    Brendan O’Reilly

  17. jordanrastrick

    Gillard’s sorry carbon tax performance has been the single worst piece of politics I’ve ever seen.

    Hyperbole, much?

    And its interesting Mondo (and typical of the anti-Gillard consensus) that you seem to agree with Jeremy that Gillard is a complete failure, while criticising her most heavily on one of the few issues where he’s probably pretty happy with her efforts.

    “She’s the worst PM ever – she’s going ahead with a mining tax!”
    “She’s the worst PM ever – she’s watered down the mining tax!”
    “Well, at least we can agree she’s the worst PM ever, right?”
    “Right!”

    etc.

  18. Splatterbottom

    Gillard is less arrogant than Whitlam although she gives him a run as an economic wastrel. They both fucked-over refugees. The difference is that he had a vision of sorts whereas she has no discernible principles at all. Things were simpler when there were fewer opinion polls as pollies were less tempted to play to the whim of the fickle crowd.

  19. LOL Jordan – you think my criticism of Gillard is about the substance of her policies?

    You’ve rather spectacularly missed the point.

  20. jordanrastrick

    LOL Jordan – you think my criticism of Gillard is about the substance of her policies?

    You’ve rather spectacularly missed the point.

    If you’re trying to say she’s done a poor job selling Labor’s agenda in certain areas (such as the Carbon Tax), I agree. Of course I’d also be inclined to criticise the ‘substance’ in some policy areas.

    When you said:

    To be fair she shares the same insipid agenda as all her career politician colleagues, but Gillard’s shameless pursuit of careerist rather than ideological goals

    I assumed it was because you think she has bad, populist polices aimed at winning votes, which you want replaced with better, ideological goal driven polices, even if they are potentially unpopular over the shorter term. Which seems to be an objection about substance.

  21. narcoticmusing

    Things were simpler when there were fewer opinion polls as pollies were less tempted to play to the whim of the fickle crowd.

    Well said SB. This is the crux of the problem.

  22. Splatterbottom

    It is nice to agree once in a while, Narcotic. Unfortunately we can’t eliminate the polling. Maybe by toughing it out Gillard will, if she manages by some miracle to win the next election, discredit the idea that a bad poll requires a reflex reaction.

  23. narcoticmusing

    I think you give our poll-iticians (sic) too much credit SB. These days, both sides just say and do things for headlines and polls. They care not for our nation, our freedoms, or anything that matters. The last Federal election the public tried to send a massive message of disenfranchisment with BOTH major party’s behaviour – and what did we get for it? More of it and worse examples of it.

    Why must Federal parliament aspire to be better than NSW State Parliament – and by better, I mean do more of whatever they do.

  24. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, we have more to worry about than polls, now Gillard has announced an inquiry into the media. It won’t do her any good. Australians value free speech and they hate gutless vindictive thin-skinned losers.

  25. “”It won’t do her any good. Australians value free speech and they hate gutless vindictive thin-skinned losers.””

    A weak, watered down inquiry. We need an inquiry into media ownership, anyone who thinks the disgraced News Ltd should own 70% of the newspapers in this country is either stupid or lying. Those of us who can read can remember the Australian saying they were out to get the Greens, ie they openly admit that they have no interest in reporting facts just an agenda.

    I notice Barnaby Joyce on Q&A last night ranting (I listened, didn’t watch) he protested a bit too much. 😉

    I’m quite confident that as more and more fall out is created in Britain over the scandalous behaviour of the Murdoch press there will be questions asked here. It’s becoming quite apparent why Coulson was employed by Cameron, look for a pod cast of yesterday’s PM or Lateline.

  26. Hey SB, how confident are you? You say ‘thin-skinned’ losers, are you prepared to state here and now that you believe that News Ltd in Australia has nothing to hide?

  27. narcoticmusing

    Inquries inquire, SB. The media are run by public companies and have a responsbility to the public such that they should be accountable to the public. Providing the inquiry is independent, what harm is there in ensuring are free speech is truly free and not just dicta from Murdoch or anyone else for that matter.

    I want to see an inquiry into the media because I value free speech.

    I want to see an inquiry into the media <em because I truly believe they are so fundamentally important to democracy (the so called 4th arm) but I have lost faith that they are performing that role adequately – far too busy are they with profit motivated fear mongering.

    So, providing the inquiry is independent, I am happy for it to inquire. I find it ironic that the media, of all organisations, would be worried about an inquriy considering public disclosure is exactly what they advocate. It would be like a union being annoyed about an inquiry into how they treat their employees.

  28. Splatterbottom

    BobbyBoy surely you are not criticising Osborne’s peccadilloes. It could have happened to anyone – he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    We do not need politicians getting all vindictive about their critics.

    Narcotic: “I want to see an inquiry into the media because I value free speech.”

    What is the logic behind that? The media doesn’t limit free speech. The more they rile the government the better. A better question would be whether the media feels sufficiently free of government interference to speak its mind.

    In fact the problem the Government has is that the media isn’t sufficiently docile. If anything the inquiry should be into the government abusing its power to intimidate the media. How is that the PM whines about an old story being dredged up then ABC sacks the journalist in question and a commercial radio talk-show host is stood down. Now that is a real scandal.

  29. jordanrastrick

    How is that the PM whines about an old story being dredged up then ABC sacks the journalist in question and a commercial radio talk-show host is stood down.

    Same way Tom Cruise or the Sultan of Brunei or you or anyone else whining about a story can have that outcome. Namely, when there’s a credible case that the story could be found defamatory in court, and the journalists are too silly to run it past their legal department first.

    Julia Gillard has received no treatment in this case privileged beyond tha of anyone with the means and will to retain a lawyer. While if it had been the ABC alone you might have had a point, the idea that The Australian cowered to the political influence of the Government on this issue is absolutely ridiculous.

    You can of course argue the merits of our defamation system, but that has nothing to do with “the government abusing its power”.

  30. A better question would be whether the media feels sufficiently free of government interference to speak its mind.

    That’s true enough, but in addition the government needs to ensure that there are zero barriers to entry into the Australian media marketplace and that real regulations exist to prevent media monopolies.

    A free media is certainly important – but a diverse media is equally important. We have one but not the other.

  31. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “Same way Tom Cruise or the Sultan of Brunei or you or anyone else whining about a story can have that outcome. Namely, when there’s a credible case that the story could be found defamatory in court, and the journalists are too silly to run it past their legal department first.”

    Not quite. In those cases an apology is published, the incorrect assertion is retracted and the correct assertions are re-iterated. In this case, most likely because the PM has been threatening a media inquiry the whole story was disappeared. Vanished. Completely.

    That doesn’t happen in the ordinary case where there is one incorrect assertion and about half a dozen correct assertions.

    As to the ABC, contrast Milne’s treatment with that misshapen old turd Bob Ellis who seriously defamed two prominent politicians, but who is always welcome at the ABC. The fact that he shares the ABC’s obvious political bias may have something to do with it, no?

    Marek, the left will never want for a national media outlet for so long as we have the ABC. Fairfax is well and truly infested with leftists and it shows. Every day. The whole point about intimidating the News Ltd press is to shut down a prominent outlet for government critics.

    Besides virtually anyone can start a newspaper or internet news outlet these days. What Murdoch has demonstrated is that there is a market for a different point of view than that of the liberal and cultured elite inveighing against the philistine west. This is no different to Obama’s crass attempt to punish Fox.

    The left just needs to grow up and actually engage in the battle of ideas rather than trying to prevent contrary ideas being expressed at all.

    I am absolutely sickened by Gillard and her gutless bullying of critical media outlets. And where are all the biased lefty media whores who mouth support for a free press? I can’t hear those birdies sing, no I can’t hear a fucking thing! Hypocrites.

  32. Splatterbottom

    Sorry Marek, I meant to address those remarks to Mondo.

  33. narcoticmusing

    The media does limit free speech if that speech is only coming from one mouth.

  34. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, “The media does limit free speech if that speech is only coming from one mouth.”

    Even assuming Fairfax and the ABC put out identical rubbish to the Murdoch press (which is about as far removed from reality as you can get) it would not be the media that is limiting free speech. It might be government pressure to make them all conform, or it might be that there are not enough TV licenses or some other form of market failure.

    But whatever it is, it isn’t the media limiting free speech. The media may be exercising its right to free speech, but it isn’t limiting free speech.

  35. narcoticmusing

    In most jurisdictions, the Murdoch press is the only commercial media representation. This isn’t due to Murdoch winning hearts and minds, it was due to him putting others out of business. The lopsided ownership of the media is not good for free speech, informed debate nor democracy.

    I am completely against Government limitations to free speech and the media. However, I am also against misleading and deceptive conduct by elements of the media (I don’t care which – fairfax, news, abc, whatever). I am also against the view that an Australian standing up for their rights is somehow censoring the media.

    I think it is atrocious the spin placed on this scandalous behaviour by the Australian writer. He deserved to get the sack. Not because he said something critical of the PM. But because he lied and in the process defamed a person – thus breaking the law in order to make a story (which is exactly what news ltd is accused of in the UK). He has harmed the reputation of the Australian newspaper in doing this and I don’t blame any other news organisation from not wanting to carry his taint and thus sacking him. I expect that my freedom and rights as a citizen of this country are not put second to the profit interests of the media. I expect that all citizens of this nation should be able to expect the same without being further slandered as seeking censorship just because they don’t want claims – that the Australian admitted were lies – printed.

  36. Narcotic: “In most jurisdictions, the Murdoch press is the only commercial media representation.”

    You mean all those places with no radio, TV or internet?

    When I travel about I can get Fairfax papers quite readily, although I can quite understand why most people outside the trendier suburbs of the major cities wouldn’t be bothered.

    “This isn’t due to Murdoch winning hearts and minds, it was due to him putting others out of business.”

    What did you mean by this smear? Did he hire hit-men? Or did he just publish more of what people wanted to read?

    “I am completely against Government limitations to free speech and the media.”

    Now we are talking.

    “However, I am also against misleading and deceptive conduct by elements of the media (I don’t care which – fairfax, news, abc, whatever).”

    Uh oh. We all agree on that, but I hope we all agree that this should not imply some form of regulation or government control.

    “I am also against the view that an Australian standing up for their rights is somehow censoring the media.”

    Sounds fair, but I suppose it depends on exactly what you had in mind there.

    “I think it is atrocious the spin placed on this scandalous behaviour by the Australian writer.”

    I thought it was great that he raised the issue. I hadn’t heard of this story before. Probably because it had been covered up. There was no one charged with the missing million dollars. The crooks got away and hoped that it was all buried. (Just like Thomson had hoped in his case, I guess – things seem to work differently in unionland.)

    “He deserved to get the sack.”

    Not really. He did a fairly good job, got most of his facts right and got confused one minor point.

    “because he lied and in the process defamed a person”

    Obviously he didn’t lie. You have no evidence that he said something he knew to be false. In fact you are defaming him.

    “thus breaking the law in order to make a story “

    Defamation is not breaking the law, although it may give someone a cause of action against you. Anyway, according to you, you just broke the law.

    “I expect that my freedom and rights as a citizen of this country are not put second to the profit interests of the media.”

    I assume you mean that you don’t wan’t your computer hacked or your emails stolen. you better be careful of those Fairfax journos, because they are the only ones in recent times I can recall being accused of this, but you know the lefty pollies don’t really mention this. Funny that.

    “I expect that all citizens of this nation should be able to expect the same without being further slandered as seeking censorship just because they don’t want claims – that the Australian admitted were lies – printed.”

    WTF???? What the government is doing in its own crass and ham-fisted way is to try to intimidate the press. Personally I hope the press hits back hard and ugly. For the sake of all Australians the politicians should stop attacking free speech, although given the total lack of principles exhibited by this PM and government I suppose that is not going to happen is it?

  37. I am absolutely sickened by Gillard and her gutless bullying of critical media outlets.

    Then you need to grow a thicker skin and stop being such a crybaby. How about her right to free speech in being critical of media outlets that actually do write demonstrable “crap” quite a lot of the time? You’re the hypocrite if you would muzzle her while passing yourself off as a guardian of free speech.

  38. The left just needs to grow up and actually engage in the battle of ideas rather than trying to prevent contrary ideas being expressed at all.

    You’re the master of the strawman, aren’t you?

  39. Buns: “You’re the hypocrite if you would muzzle her while passing yourself off as a guardian of free speech.”

    The point you are willfully missing is that my problem with Gillard is her use of the machinery of government to silence her critics.

    You’re the master of the strawman, aren’t you?

  40. “The point you are willfully missing is that my problem with Gillard is her use of the machinery of government to silence her critics.”

    She personally phoned Hartigan, I guess it was an office phone so it was the ‘machinery of government’.

    How on earth is the govt supposed to conduct an inquiry without using the ‘machinery of government’?

  41. Gillard hasn’t used ‘machinery of government’ to silence critics. She used a tort action that was available to her due to false information being knowlingly printed about her. The Australian rightfully withdrew it. Anyway, you say he didn’t lie despite having advice what he was about to print was not true and making no attempt to check his facts – you say that is not evidence he was lying because he ‘didn’t know’ (such BS that an investigative journalist, whose job it is to know such things, doesn’t know – i think you’ll find he rightly has a heavier burden) … meanwhile you say Gillard did lie about the carbon tax, despite, by many views, there not being a carbon tax and despite that she said there would be a carbon price (ie she must have thought there was a distinction) – yet you claim she lied and thus KNOWINGLY lied. I think your biased standards are showing. Just because you dislike Gillard is not a reason for her to not be able to have rights.

    . you better be careful of those Fairfax journos
    I quite specifically said that I didn’t care which news outlet. It is you that is focused on defending news Ltd’s conduct.

    You have no evidence that he said something he knew to be false. In fact you are defaming him
    Only that he knew what he was saying was false because he was advised as such. Only that he didn’t even attempt to check his facts – willful blindness is generally considered pretty much the same as knowing. Eg. I hit someone with my car but don’t look because I don’t want to find out the bad news.

    Defamation isn’t against the law? Then why is there law against it? Forgive me for simplifying the entire torts area for the sake of the non-lawyers here. Common law actions still count as law. Nevertheless, in case you haven’t kept up, it is also enshrined in legislation (Wrongs Act for example). It is not a crime but it is against the law.

  42. Bobby-Boy: “How on earth is the govt supposed to conduct an inquiry without using the ‘machinery of government’?”

    Now you are almost getting it! The threat to have an inquiry and then the decision to have it constitute the abuse of the machinery of government.

    Narcotic: “Gillard hasn’t used ‘machinery of government’ to silence critics. She used a tort action that was available to her due to false information being knowlingly printed about her.”

    I’m sure she threatened that, but she has been threatening her critics for a long time.

    “The Australian rightfully withdrew it. “

    Wrong. The Australian gutlessly took the whole piece out. It didn’t just remove the one offending claim. Only a PM can get that kind of response. She is as big a grub as Thomson as far as I’m concerned. No wonder she is such a big supporter of his.

    “Anyway, you say he didn’t lie despite having advice what he was about to print was not true” and “Only that he knew what he was saying was false because he was advised as such.”

    Show me the evidence or withdraw your lie.

    We had the4 discussion about the carbon tax lie. you will have no doubt noticed that i took on board your criticism and thereafter focused on the real issue which was her cynical behaviour in breaking her promise shortly after the election.

    The real hypocrite in all of this is your good self, who applies one standard to Gillard and another to Milne.

    “Just because you dislike Gillard is not a reason for her to not be able to have rights.”

    Another nasty imputation. I don’t deny her her rights, but criticise her for using the power of her office to silence her critics.

    “Defamation isn’t against the law? Then why is there law against it? “

    There isn’t a law against tort of defamation. The law provides remedies for people who are injured by defamation.

    I leave aside criminal defamation but that is another matter entirely.

    “Common law actions still count as law. “

    Yes but there is a difference between prohibiting something and providing a remedy for injury.

  43. “Now you are almost getting it! The threat to have an inquiry and then the decision to have it constitute the abuse of the machinery of government.”

    SB, I realise you hate everything you perceive left (left of John Howard) but I didn’t have you pegged as a conspiracy theorist. Methinks the right protest too much over this inquiry. What are they trying to hide? 🙂

  44. SB, we will again have to agree to disagree. She made a personal phone call, she did not have her Office contact the paper. She did not abuse her power imo. By your logic, any action she took would have been an abuse of power merely because she has power to abuse. In other words, she is not permitted to defend herself in your world because she has power. Meanwhile, a person whose job it is to investigate and know facts can get away with not checking facts and that is a-ok and he’s doign his job just fine – why? Because he made the PM look bad, that isn’t an abuse of his power at all!

    ‘Breaking her promise’ – yes, just like this journalist broke his promise to uphold the journalistic ethics/integrity by doing things such as, fact checking.

    I base what I say on the reports after the event regarding this journalist (such as Bolt saying the lawyers had advised against it) and by the statement made by the Australian that said they knew the information to be untrue.

  45. Narcotic: “By your logic, any action she took would have been an abuse of power merely because she has power to abuse”

    No. Threatening and calling an inquiry are the matters I referred to.

  46. The point you are willfully missing is that my problem with Gillard is her use of the machinery of government to silence her critics.

    Can you give us some examples of this (and be specific about it)? You seem to be referring to past tense incidents, so I’m after an outline of each and every occasion the PM has in the past abused the “machinery of government” to “silence her critics”. An inquiry into Australian media does not ipso facto constitute silencing critics – except, I imagine, in the minds of some paranoid ideologues. In any case, it hasn’t started and at best won’t start for quite some time, so you’re probably referring to other things.

    Wrong. The Australian gutlessly took the whole piece out. It didn’t just remove the one offending claim. Only a PM can get that kind of response.

    “Wah, wah” said the big baby. If The Australian’s editors are as spineless as you believe, that’s not the PM’s fault. If it wasn’t defamatory, why did they remove it and apologise? What is the worst thing that could’ve happened? The PM could only have sued for defamation. That’s her only remedy. She doesn’t have extra magical powers to invoke over and above what an ordinary citizen has, as you imply. They had nothing to lose from being sued for defamation if the article wasn’t defamatory. Anyway, The Australian has done alright in this – it’s provided fodder for the furtherance of the cult of victimhood prevalent in Australian conservative media (“help, Rupert Murdoch is being oppressed!!!!11!!”), as well as the narrative that the PM wants to “silence her critics”.

  47. And what evidence do you have that she threatened them with an inquiry? Bolt’s innuendo?

    Besides, the inquiry, again as I’ve said, just inquires. What is it that the newspapers – who have a responsibility to the public not just their shareholders – have to hide? It seems that they are the ones with the thin skin (again I care not which outlet, the inquiry should inquire, into all Australia’s media). Their role is to scrutinise and promote public scrutiny – so why are they so afraid of being scrutinised? This is like a union being worried about an inquiry into the conditions they employ their own staff under. It reeks of hypocrisy and corruption (and before you twist that, I am referring to the media hiding behind laudible ideals to cover their less than honourable practices they wish to hide).

    Again, I would want the inquiry to be independent. I believe the media’s self regulation (like most self regulation) has failed dismally. The example you give of Fairfax journos is one such example of a lack of self-regulation. Advertisers self-regulation is another example.

  48. ‘threatening’… I assume you refer to her saying something like – “pull this article or I will enforce my right to remedy against you in a Court of law” – How again is that an abuse of power?

  49. Splatterbottom

    Look people, the government, including the PM, has spent the last few months vilifying News Ltd. Then she started suggesting an inquiry and now she has announced an inquiry.

    You are welcome to ignore this or play it down. Good for you. If sucking up every meretricious meme the government spits out is your thing then knock yourself out.

    My take on it is that Labor and the Greens are unbelievably thin-skinned and hate criticism. They hate another view being put forward. LIke true totalitarians they would prefer that their ‘wisdom’ not to be questioned. This is the free speech issue we have now. Not so long ago certain lefties were complaining about Howard shutting down debate. Now they are on the side of the censors. Some things never change.

  50. What censors? Another strawman.

  51. narcoticmusing

    News Ltd has had a very obvious campaign against the greens and has outright misled and deceived people under the guise of ‘opinion’ that they don’t tell people is only opinion. This is not about questioning Government and you know it – everyone here questions and criticises Government all the time – there is a whole current thread dedicated to bagging the Malaysia solution and Gillards solution to it. So don’t pretend we just blindly follow when you know otherwise. The issue has never been criticism of government, it has always been, in my opinion, about misleading and deceptive conduct for the purpose of making a profit. That is not good for government or the media.

    I am very confident of the inquiry given it is being led by former justice Finklestein – you couldn’t have a more fair minded, no BS, just person at the helm who cares not about Govt or media agendas.

    If the government tries to censor the media, I’d be the first out there against it. Did you attend the protests regarding the internet filter? How vocal have you been to your local member on that? That is another example of people here against policy of this government; where, I have put in a great deal of effort in opposing this blatant attempt to censor the internet. Meanwhile the right are strangely silent on that while getting uppity about their pro-right Murdoch buddies being potentially exposed.

    Finklestein will conduct a fair inquiry that will not favour government or the media – surely you agree that he was one of our greatest Federal justices?

  52. Splatterbottom

    The Chief Censor is the cretin Conroy who is now organising the hit-squad.

    What is truly funny is the number of precious government pollies who whine about the Cut & Paste column. All that column does is expose hypocrisy by juxtaposing one statement with another. No wonder they hate it.

  53. narcoticmusing

    SB – it is an independent inquiry, not a hit squad. An inquiry. You know the difference right?

    Nevertheless, I agree with you assessment of Conroy in general.

  54. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic these things are rarely independent in any meaningful sense. Conroy gets to choose the judge and jury.

  55. narcoticmusing

    And he chose a highly respected former Federal Court judge – are you suggesting former Justice Finklestein will be biased or partisan? Read a couple of his cases and you’ll think differently. He cares not for Govt agendas.

  56. He didn’t know anything about Finkelstein until today. But give him a chance to do some googling and then stand by for some lame-ass smearing. Should be easy – he was a judge, which of course means he’s a leftist.

  57. Narcotic: “News Ltd has had a very obvious campaign against the greens”

    They also give space to Green supporters.

    More importantly there is nothing wrong with the press conducting such a campaign. There is not and there should not be a fairness doctrine applicable to privately owned media. The fact that people even complain about this is evidence of their inherent anti-free speech attitude.

    “The issue has never been criticism of government, it has always been, in my opinion, about misleading and deceptive conduct for the purpose of making a profit.”

    This is not a relevant issue ion terms of expressing political opinions. Even the vaguest suggestion that this be further regulated is sinister and beyond the pale in a democratic society, although it is par for the course in repressive regimes.

    “Did you attend the protests regarding the internet filter? “

    I have said a lot about this issue. I also support net neutrality and oppose the excesses of the intellectual property laws, particularly Australia’s supine position when it comes to legislating protections for US IP trolls.

    “The issue has never been criticism of government”

    Quite right. The “progressives” certainly criticise the government from a “progressive” perspective. What upsets these precious little darlings is that other people who, by and large, rightly disdain “progressive” mores also get a run in the press.

    Buns, my objection is to the fact of the inquiry, although the Fink has done himself no favours accepting this role.

  58. SB, while there are people on both sides who don’t like to hear the views of others, that is not the issue here. Misleading and deceptive conduct to induce people into a course of action and/or to mischievously create ill-informed debate in order to subvert true informed debate is my issue.

  59. PS – on our general disdain for Conroy. I do not believe a government regulator is at all necessary nor is it appropriate.

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/conroy-flags-superregulator-for-media-20110914-1k9qk.html

    The issue of misleading and deceptive conduct could easily be wrapped into the TPA or some equivalent setting and then let the papers keep each other honest just as Optus and Telstra keep applying the TPA to each other.

  60. The “progressives” certainly criticise the government from a “progressive” perspective
    what is your point? The conservatives only criticse the government from a ‘conservative’ perspective and if anyone disagrees with them they smear them and accuse them of things such as censorship. Disagreement is not censorship. Disagreement is healthy and a good thing. I read news and fairfax (and others) because I don’t want to hear only one voice. I want broad views. What I don’t like is when I know someone is out right distorting the truth in order to deceive/mislead/fool a less educated member of the public to whom I think should not be disadvantaged by such vultures – and I’m not talking a subjective distortion, I’m talking about distorting fact for their own gain. You know, like saying the world is flat because you don’t fall off the edge; or that CO2 has no weight because you can’t see it.

    This happens on both ‘sides’ of the debate and both should be able to be called out on it – instead, we have commentators claiming they are being censored whenever someone disagrees or attempts to assert the same rights they can freely assert.

    I am pro-informed debate. I am not against a person not informed having an opinion, I am, however, against a person who knows the truth deliberately distorting that to fool others.

  61. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “The issue of misleading and deceptive conduct could easily be wrapped into the TPA or some equivalent setting “

    This is not just wrong, but plain evil. I am utterly sickened by this proposition. I can’t believe you said that! Fuck me dead! Does free speech mean nothing to you at all! The very concept of free speech includes the right to be wrong, offensive, stupid or just plain looney. 1984 here we come.

    Misleading and deceptive conduct is not a relevant concept in the discussion of political matters. The very thought of a tribunal deciding that someone’s views were not fairly represented or that a story omitted a relevant fact is disgusting. If you have your way free speech will be dead.

    Take for example the now contemptible Bob Brown’s view of the Australian’s reporting on climate change. That vacuous troll thinks that it is the role of the press to act in the best interests of the country by advancing what he, in his mincemeat mind, considers to be the way forward for Australia. Apparently this entails not publishing contrary views. Screw him and his rancid party. Clearly that monstrous anti-democrat Clive Hamilton is not the only would-be despot in that totalitarian circle-jerk of a party.

    Yet that is the type of matter a court would be asked to consider under your totalitarian scheme. The court would be assailed with endless complaints from the Greens and Getupthemselves! whining about some critical comment or other that had been about them. Getupthemselves! should get over themselves.

    I can’t believe you want to criminalise speech that you think (and it can only ever be a subjective test when it comes to politics) is misleading and deceptive.

  62. jordanrastrick

    and I’m not talking a subjective distortion, I’m talking about distorting fact for their own gain.

    The problem is that no one needs to objectively distort facts to create a biased depiction, and so mainstream media outlets rarely bother. Framing, story selection, emotive language etc are more than enough to get the job done.

    For instance a news outlet can truthfully run “Government spends $X on (stupid thing) Y, which was wasteful according to Person Z” every single day for a year, and readers will have the impression that inordinate amounts of money are being wasted. Person Z might not have any real authority or expertise on the topic, Y might seem foolish if you don’t know much about it but actually be completely legitimate, and X might appear large when people compare it to their own incomes but actually be a vanishingly small proportion of the overall government budget. So no substantial waste has occurred, and yet the vast majority of an audience will believe it has, without anyone having to have overtly lied to them,

    Or to make it more concrete, on any given day Tony Abbott might say one slightly stupid thing and Julia Gillard might say another. If a newspaper runs the former on Page 1 and the latter on Page 43, that will create a bias. But provided the coverage is factual, who’s to “objectively determine” how an editor should choose to place those stories? Any attempt to prevent this kind of thing would be the death of free speech.

  63. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “Any attempt to prevent this kind of thing would be the death of free speech.”

    Exactly.

  64. Splatterbottom

    Journalist:
    But you’d also have to define who could be complained about and what the penalities would be once they were complained about? A tweeter, a blogger, a…

    Conroy:
    Well, as you said. Now you’re canvassing areas that I think will be richly canvassed in the inquiry, and these are the sort of… these are, the questions is… you’re asking all the legitimate questions.

    But it is an independent inquiry. What harm can come of that?

    These proto-fascists need to be shown the door pronto.

  65. These proto-fascists need to be shown the door pronto.

    And replaced with the Libs. Because they wouldn’t interfere in the media. No, sir. Or at least when they do, it’s different. Somehow.

  66. Splatterbottom

    Is that the best you can do Buns? Let’s deal with the problem at hand.

    As you may recall I wasn’t a John Howard fan at the time. Unlike those lefties who were happy to condemn Howard but are strangely silent now, or worse actually supporting this inquiry.

  67. Don’t be so pious, SB. Only a couple of months back, you were advocating that funding of the ABC be withdrawn if it were not “more balanced”. I gather that. according to your proposal, whether or not the ABC was “more balanced” was to be determined by the government of the day. You’re every bit as hypocritical as those lefties you’re complaining about it.

  68. Nice to see that some people think that deliberately lying in order to mislead the public is good for democracy. Awesome. Why don’t we just close down schools if facts no longer matter.

    SB, as always you distort what I said for your own agenda. I already said everyone has a right to an opinion etc – my issue is with people purposefully lying in order to damage true debate.

  69. Narcotic: “Nice to see that some people think that deliberately lying in order to mislead the public is good for democracy.”

    Distortion eh? You know I didn’t say that, don’t you.

    “I already said everyone has a right to an opinion etc”

    Yes but you also said: “The issue of misleading and deceptive conduct could easily be wrapped into the TPA or some equivalent setting”, which is the bit I took issue with. I assume you now realise how badly, badly wrong that suggestion is.

  70. So, then, in the name of freedom of speech, you think we should ditch the TPA provisions too? Really, why not? If it is ok to out right lie to someone who is in a vulnerable position relative to you in order to reap some sort of gain, why have any protections for consumers? It is the same idea that I am talking about. I am not talking about opinion, I’m talking about lying in order to exploit vulnerable people. Hell, lets ditch all defamation laws too, because surely the right to make a profit from lies should trump the right to not have lies tossed about you.

  71. Splatterbottom

    So, Narcotic your argument is that because we have rules against misleading and deceptive conduct in trade or commerce we ought to have the same rules applying to the expression of political opinions?

    Perhaps you could explain why?

  72. jordanrastrick

    Nice to see that some people think that deliberately lying in order to mislead the public is good for democracy

    The problem is not (largely) outright lies, its bias. And its not good for democracy, its bad; its just not as bad as the alternative of setting up some legal arbiter of “the neutral point of view”, which is an inherently subjective and contentious thing.

  73. narcoticmusing

    So SB, you decide to purposefully misrepresent what I say every time you reply? Perhaps you could explain why? Are you being obtuse or do you honestly think that when I say ‘I believe people should be entitled to opinions’ and ‘debate is good’ that that translates to inhibiting expression of political opinion? You obviously refuse to read anything I am posting on context, including removing entire statements or qualifiers.

    Jordan, my issue is the outright lies. It is the outright distortion of truths. Not subjective things, but truths. Most political opinion is just that, so it would not be considered. Bias is a huge issue too, when it is presented as unbiased. At worst, if a paper wishes to be biased they should disclose that. So if you have a view, disclose that, then continue. There is no harm is stating your personal view or goal. The problem is when they claim no bias or agenda and then push one. Nevertheless, that is not what I am talking about re: misleading and deceptive conduct and SB has enough understanding of the legal meaning of those words to know that is not what I was meaning.

  74. narcoticmusing

    I think ‘in trade or commerce’ should extend to selling papers and news ‘product’ – with of course, the qualifiers and context I have said repeatedly throughout this thread that I won’t bother repeating as so far you’ve conveniently ignored them each time anyway in order to quote me out of context.

  75. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “do you honestly think that when I say ‘I believe people should be entitled to opinions’ and ‘debate is good’ that that translates to inhibiting expression of political opinion?”

    I think that those words are rendered meaningless, if not entirely disingenuous, by your suggestion that the courts get involved in deciding if reportage amounts misleading and deceptive conduct.

    That is a proposition so offensive, so antithetical, to democratic concepts that it sickens me.

  76. narcoticmusing

    so you answer is ‘yes I choose to ignore any context’

    nevermind then, it is pretty much the problem with the news – context free = meaningless

  77. narcoticmusing

    One last ditch attempt – I am not sure why I bother, perhaps because I believe in free speech but I also believe in people’s right to not be tricked or harmed by abuse of power. You’d normally agree with that idea.

    So lets let free speech fully loose. So you are cool with people convincing people to commit suicide in the name of freedom of speech (such as, say Melchert-Dinkel) Ahh the wonders of freedom of speech. Why should we censor him? Just because he deceived and misled vulnerable people for his own gain? what about other internet predators, luring people to their demise? What about con men? Screw the people who were conned. This is free enterprise. Advertising shouldn’t need to be truthful either, that is a violation of the market’s freedom of speech. Truth, screw truth. Truth is what I make it – stories start here, not at the source. Make the truth then find stuff to back it up, and don’t worry, it doesn’t nee dto be the true – hell, is your freedom of speech to yell fire in a crowded theatre.

    Political opinion is one thing. Lying for gain is another.

  78. Narcotic: “I believe in free speech but I also believe in people’s right to not be tricked or harmed by abuse of power. You’d normally agree with that idea.”

    That is not an idea. It is a gaggle of contradictory motherhood statements.

    I believe in free speech. I also accept that there should be some limits on free speech. Defamation law has a role, although it is too strict at the moment, and speech that is a material part of the commission of a crime (such as aiding and abetting suicide) should be limited.

    I do not believe that the press should be subject to court supervision as regards misleading and deceptive conduct. It is not just wrong but evil to even suggest such a thing. At the very least such laws will chill political reporting. Any legislation in this regard will hopefully be struck down as unconstitutional, at least as far as political speech is concerned.

    As Jordan said earlier: ““Any attempt to prevent this kind of thing would be the death of free speech.”

    We have had polarised and politicised papers for centuries and until this generation of thin-skinned politicians, we have got on just fine with them.

    I despise this government for instituting this inquiry, which is purely to punish its critics. I once had respect for Bob Brown, but now he is looking more and more like a bitter old man, bereft of any principle whatsoever.

  79. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, Robert Manne is an outspoken critic of News Ltd, but even he is not inclined to put more restrictions on the press:

    “In Australia, newspapers are regulated by the laws against defamation and racial hatred and the complaints processes available to citizens and corporations through action before the Press Council. I cannot imagine and most likely would not support any additional legal or quasi-legal means for the monitoring or the punishment of press bias.”

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