Corey Farrell

Smoke Signal: Free speech and the ABC

Mike Licht via Wikimedia Commons
(Disclaimer: Before reading on it should be noted that I do not align myself with any major Australian political party. I do, however, align myself however with free speech and am against what I perceive as censorship…)

You could be fooled into thinking that Australian politics has plunged into a communist-esqe finger pointing party, with the ABC verbally blacklisted by the Government and Prime Minister as being “unpatriotic.”

This sentiment is held by Mr Abbott in the wake of an alleged asylum seeker incident with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Indonesian phone bugging affair, both reported as unbalanced and biased a the hands of the ABC.

Which invariably brings the question is any view that is dissimilar to Tony Abbott’s going to be immediately labelled “unpatriotic” (or, shudder, even worse – “un-Australian”)?

Moreover, it appears that you and I, the average punters, patriotic or not, are caught in a truth-slinging match between the Abbott government and those nasty “commies” at the ABC.

On the one hand you have a reputable media outlet (backed up by other outlets such as the Fairfax Press) reporting apparent eyewitness accounts and the on the other, Mr Abbott declaring from the gangway, ”Who do you believe? Do you believe Australian naval personnel or do you believe people who were attempting to break Australian law? I trust Australia’s naval personnel.”

Can I answer that one by simply saying for the most part, I do trust our naval personnel, but I also have trust issues with Mr Abbott and his party as I reflect on their recent green-light to dredge the Great Barrier Reef and the not-too-distant Howard years.

Forgive me if I don’t immediately jump into bed with your assessment and instead lean towards the ABC’s side here. I recall a “children overboard” scandal coined “The Tampa Affair” that allowed the Liberal government, of which Mr Abbott was a Minister at the time, to adopt stricter border protection policies on the back of what the Australian Senate Select Committee inquiry later found to be a lie, and that in fact “no children had been at risk of being thrown overboard and that the government had known this prior to the election.”

Quite coincidentally, apparently, at the same time that the ABC’s name is being dragged through the murky waters of media truth, the Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked for an efficiency audit to see where money can be cut.

It seems to me a logical political path to take – first discredit an organisation then take out your budgetary butcher’s blade and gut it. That way no one will complain about the taste of the sausages.

In rounding down I’m sure the political “hells-cape” is much more complex than I have outlined here and I have no doubt drawn a short line (from A, B to C…get it?) in putting together my argument.

However – one thing is for certain. We must be ever-vigilant in defending the rights of a free press, and exercise our right of free speech in being outspoken when politics tries to silence such.

Corey Farrell

This is Corey Farrell. He is an aspiring Don Draper (minus the misogyny) who writes x-rated poetry, imaginary monologues, rants on rugby league and occasionally angry open letters to inanimate objects who simply can’t and won’t respond. He likes meat and puns, and firmly believes ‘a steak pun is a medium well done.

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  1. Corey Farrell said:

    Hey Rainer the Cabbie, thanks for the feedback! I’d rather chat with a cabbie than talk to a politician! 🙂 It seems a common theme when referring to politicians of all persuasion, that we are “hopeful” that they’ll do the right thing. I’m of the opinion hope and politics are like Clark Kent and Superman, they are strangely never seen together.

  2. Rainer the cabbie said:

    ( Disclaimer : I am not an intellectual, but a real cabbie with self taught English skills. However, my opinions are my own )
    Thanks for this Corey
    The point of the campaign against the ABC is not just about the freedom of speech or the right of a free press for its purely driven by ideology.
    Oh, me let just get it out, the neo con and Murdock ideology. I believe that Rupert has come out in a statement that he is trying to produce a press environment in Australia like the one run in the US by American Rudolph Hearst. This incorporates to silence all opposition.
    A past election dinner dinner given by Abbott in Kirribilly house apparently had all his right wing supporters of the press invited and thanked for their support.
    The fact that the ABC is on the chopping block by now is only a natural progression, justified by its being perceived as a left leaning institution that squanders money away paid for by the public purse. An easy sell to the great unwashed. Also an easy way to avoid criticism and scrutiny in the future.
    But then again I do have faith in Malcolm Turnbull, not only did the ABC ran his election campaign for him but I do figure he is a reasonable man who hopefully will act responsible in the view of the nation and society we live in.
    Otherwise its down to you and me on top of the barricades.
    BTW Corey, your hair looks lovely. What brand of conditioner do you use ?

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