Along the lines of Godwin’s Law, the jocular observation that in any online debate someone will eventually be compared to Hitler, I propose Kirsner’s Law (Letters, 27/7), which states that in the letters page of The Australian, the Greens will eventually be compared to Stalin.
The Australian’s editorial (“Exercising a democratic right”, 27/7) defends Chris Bowen’s intention to vote against marriage equality, on the grounds that MPs should always vote according to majority opinion in their local electorates. This is disingenuously naive: they must also consider the broad national view, their party’s policy, informed opinion, and their own knowledge and belief. Should Southern U.S. Congress members have voted against repealing race laws simply because most of their constituents were rednecks? Sometimes leaders should lead.
Many are rightly concerned about the potential for government interference in media regulation. But to simply cry “Free Speech!” and compare even a public interest test or an independent watchdog to Soviet repression is simplistic and melodramatic. Threats to free speech can come from any quarter, not only government but commercial and political interests and media monopolies as well (yes, I’m talking to you, News Ltd, among others). How do opponents of any regulation propose to deal with this? By doing nothing?
Ideally, information should be both unfiltered and unbiased, but these ideals can conflict, especially in the presence of well-resourced interests. The complex task of balancing them is patently not served any better by the “free market” than by centralised control. The significant difference between governments and corporations is that the latter cannot be voted out.
In their rank desperation to stymie Labor at every turn, from refugee policy to the NDIS, Liberals both state and federal are clearly willing to sacrifice the needs and dignity of Australia’s most vulnerable on the altar of political ambition. Shame is too gentle a word.
18 Jul 2012
John Francis’ letter is among several published in The Australian recently which make the erroneous claim that “minorities such as the Greens…exploit the senate’s electoral system”. The Greens are represented there in direct proportion to the votes they received, and they are grossly under-represented in the Lower House by virtue of their widely-spread support.
On the other hand, The Nationals, with about 4% of the vote, have an exaggerated presence in Parliament due to the narrow geography of their support, and have used this to ensure the victory of almost every conservative government in living memory. Now that’s exploiting the system.
John Kidd’s arithmetic is sorely awry in his claim that “the voting system prevailing in the Senate gives the Greens a much higher profile and influence than justified by their direct votes” (Letters, 16/7). Given that the Senate has 76 seats and the Greens polled over 13%, they actually deserve one more than the nine seats they hold.
It seems The Australian would drum up a green “class war” of its own with the claim that “those struggling to afford their daily bread…subsidise richer people who can afford solar panels” (“Gaia ousts God in the latte hubs”, Editorial, 13/7). As always, the first casualty of war is truth: in fact, uptake of solar rebates has been predominantly in Australia’s mortgage belts, not by the dreaded “urban elites”.
But nothing beats religion as an aid to warmongering, thus the equally silly claim that “it is not rationalism…but the gospel of the Greens” which is behind the godless worldviews of these “black-clad inner-city hipsters”. Education has always correlated with less religious and more progressive views. You can’t blame the Greens, nor the city, for that.
The best way to stop the spread of these pernicious ideas is to ensure people don’t get too educated. Keep up the good work, The Australian.
Peter Jacobsen (The Australian, Letters, 12/7) informs us that “Creeping socialism is responsible for most of the woes of Europe”. And here I was thinking that profligate behaviour by unregulated banks was more of a, you know, capitalist kind of thing.
I am frequently baffled by the pejorative use in The Australian’s opinion pages of terms like “intellectual progressives” (e.g., Letters, 12/7). Is it preferable to be a regressive anti-intellectual?
The Australian’s editorial (10/7), describes the Australian Greens as “an extreme party of the radical Left” and of “the fringes”. This is arrant hyperbolic nonsense. The Greens have 15% electoral support. Unless there is some other definition of the word, this makes them more “mainstream” than any other minor party. You seem to be telling the electorate that they don’t know what’s good for them.
The unseemly ongoing campaign against a popular party, from an unholy alliance of News Ltd media and Labor’s “faceless men”, will have a chilling effect on democracy.
To see where this leads, consider the recent tainted Mexican elections, where the hostility and bias of a media duopoly against the popular Left party has contributed to a mass rejection of the results and severe damage to public faith in democratic institutions.