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Monday, 3 February 2014

A time for change

As I preface all my political posts, you are welcome to disagree with me, but I will delete any abusive comments aimed at me, other commenters or the members of the Liberal Party as individuals.

As someone who grew up in the hangover of the cold war, where Communism was feared as evil and the dictatorships around the world were far from benign, I acknowledge I have a somewhat knee-jerk reaction when someone wants to control the media and stop the people of a nation accessing the news in any form other than party press releases.

That said, while we may be divided on our opinions on refugees, gay marriage, education, medicare and other political issues, I can not fathom there is anyone, Liberal or Labor, that approves of silencing the media unless they only promote positive party propaganda.

We are proud to be a democracy, we have joined forces to defend that right in other countries around the globe. A democracy, in order to work, requires informed voters. The media needs to tell both sides of the argument, so the voter can weigh up where they stand on the issue. The people of Australia need to be very alarmed if this right to the freedom of speech is being taken away from them, in the dubious form of 'funding cuts'. Even that act of censorship is covert and doused in propaganda.

Look throughout history, whenever people come to power and take control of the media, it is usually because they are doing the wrong thing. If they truly believe they are acting in the best interests of the people, they can take some criticism and let the benefits of the policy speak in their defence. If you need to control the media, there is usually something that needs to be hidden. That is what the Australian public needs to be most concerned with. If it needs to be kept secret, it is probably not in our best interests.

Liberal MP Mr Craig Laundy said it best "as a proud Liberal, they (the ABC voicing their opinions) ABSOLUTELY have the right to do so without fear or favour. The best part of 'freedom of the press' is that you get a HUGE variety of views - just as you get in society." He goes on to say, that if you don't like what the ABC are saying, seek out the other opinion, the other side of the argument. Change the channel. Even Voltaire, who distrusted democracy because it gave power to the 'idiocy of the masses', staunchly defended free speech.

This quote, and those opinions voiced by Mr Turnbull, defending editorial independence, give me hope that not all is rotten in the governing party. However, if the Prime Minister intends to take away the access to independent media from the Australian public, then everybody, no matter who you vote for, needs to unite in action and take a stand.

I am not advocating to throw out the Liberal party, nor even demand another election, but Mr Abbott needs to be told that the people, whom he represents, finds his behaviour unacceptable and he should step aside. Tony Abbott is a representative of the Australian people. It seems to me that through either arrogance or denial, he has forgotten his actions are accountable to us. We deserve the right to be informed, honestly, of what those actions are. We need to demand the right to access independent news.

I would also like to remind Mr Abbott that the ABC is not just a news station. They provide locally produced entertainment, children's television and film. He is punishing not just the journalists, but the Australian Film and Television industry. Isn't this something he should be promoting? It appears to me this threatened action is a personal vendetta, rather than a just and considered funding issue. Politics is no place for those that can't keep their personal feelings and beliefs in check.

Laundy and Turnbull clearly do not agree with what the ABC was reporting, but they do agree on the journalistic independence. This is the stance of a true politician. Let's get a real politician running our country. It's time for a change.

What to do?

Get out in force at rallys. Make your opinion noticed. Sydney March in March is on the 16th at 1pm.
https://www.facebook.com/events/267057476785262/

Get Up have a petition and are fund raising to take on this battle. https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/media/save-the-abc--2/protect-our-abc--2

Spread the word and start the conversation. Think of the implications of this move. Is unbiased information, or uncontrolled media really something we're prepared to lose?

Please add other suggestions in the comments below.

No matter what your political leanings, it is time to take a stand. As Moore states in V for Vendetta "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people". We are at a fork in the road. Which path are you prepared to take? Let your voice, and the voice of others, be heard.

Linking up with this old post with The Lounge for the prompt of television, after tech issues made my best intentions go awry. Sorry that the plan of action is out of date.

Laundy quote from the Sydney Morning Herald article: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/malcolm-turnbull-defends-abc-after-tony-abbotts-attack-20140129-31n5z.html#ixzz2rwPCbMlG

23 comments:

  1. Right on!!
    And that's all I have to say about it ... coz it's all a bit too heavy for me at this time of day.
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

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    1. That makes me feel like a 60's hippie...:)

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  2. I will be at our local march Lydia. I think these events are important to make people still feel empowered, even though their government makes a decision a day they don't agree with. http://mylittlesunshinehouse.com

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    1. Same. I don't really know what else we can do, but something needs to be done or said.

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  3. It is a worry! I am worried about why our government needs to censor information. I worry so much about the effects of this hot head on our country and our international relations.

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    1. That's what worries me, why do they need to censor it. And what do they know is coming that they want the media not to discuss....

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  4. Freedom of the press is always worth fighting for and central to our democracy. I also think there is a real opportunity like never before for independent voices through blogging and social media to keep politicians honest, and that may make all the difference.

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    1. Hopefully...but are these little voices really loud enough?

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  5. I am with Leanne!
    Well said and well done for putting it out there.

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  6. Ok so I've obviously missed something here, because I had no idea this was going on!
    And I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit that.
    Off to do a bit more reading, but I'm all for the ABC and completely one hundred percent agree with what you have said here. Whilst the media absolutely jacks me off a lot, they shouldn't be silenced because the government doesn't like what they are saying. That's dangerous territory right there.

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    1. He's not officially cutting their funding because they criticize him but it is abundantly clear to everybody (including Liberals who feel the need to defend free speech) that it is exactly what he is doing.

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  7. I think that there is quite a lot that is being turned upside down at the moment and it really astounds me that we are expected to sit back and just let it happen. These rally's are so important and teaching younger generations to have that voice, to speak up for what is important for them, society and the future is so important too!

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  8. Couldn't be ringing in truer words! It's bad enough that the ABC get little funding then have Abbott slag them off…for his own personal reasons. It was all very suspiciously interesting that Turnball made a different stance to his party leader.

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  9. You've hit the nail on the head with this post! You really have to wonder what someone is hiding when they want to cut off any outlets that dare to speak against them.

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  10. I saw something on Sunday morning revealing that it was not the first time the ABC had been in hot water, it was slagged off in the 50s! I can't believe he said that the ABC should show favour towards blah blah blah. If I was in that area, I'd be there for sure!

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  11. Really important and really work fighting for. Your post reminds me of a great Bill Hicks quote, American but translates so well:
    "Go back to bed America, your government is in control. Here's American Gladiators. Watch that. All 56 channels of it."

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  12. I shall refrain from making smart comments about Mr Abbott this time (and besides, you already know my feelings on *that* subject), but can I just say that the whole situation with the ABC concerns me greatly. freedom of the press is fundamentally important to a democratic society and any attempt to corrupt that, whether overtly or under the guise of funding cuts and budget deficits is an attempt to undermine the very foundations of democracy. I'll be marching in Sydney on the 16th...

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    1. While I have issues with a large number of policies and actions, this one worries me the most. The arrogance that he thinks it's acceptable (and that he's allowed to do it) and what must he have in store for us if he feels that this is a nec

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    2. Necessary action. We need to be very concerned!!

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  13. And a year on and nothing much has changed Lydia. I wholeheartedly support freedom of reporting and get VERY suspicious when there are limits on what can be reported on or on the information that can be shared "for operational reasons", etc. And now it's just got a whole lot worse with the government pretty much ignoring the troubling findings of the children in detention in report because they believe it is "partisan" and "political". This govt cares only for how they look - not interested at all in governing in the interests of the people. I'm afraid there is no end in sight either - the damage that has been done and could still be done is frightening...

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  14. Thanks for linking this one up, Lydia. Perfect for the theme. It's hard to beleive a year has passed and not much has changed. Still see a few bumper stickers on my commute to work though, so people are still on the case.

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