The totalitarian fallacy

John Roskam has a hard hitting op-ed in the AFR.

Finkelstein’s recommendations are profoundly illiberal and undemocratic.

They are the most serious assault on the liberties of Australians since Robert Menzies tried to ban the Communist Party in 1949. It is almost incredible that Finkelstein, who as a Federal Court judge once adjudicated on the lives of citizens according to the laws of a liberal democracy, could conceive of such a regime to control freedom of speech.

Finkelstein’s ideological position is not hard to find. It’s in paragraph 4.10 of his report. He thinks a council should control speech in Australia because most people are too dumb or ignorant to decide for themselves about what they see and hear and read in the media.

In response to the claim from News Ltd’s John Hartigan that ultimately readers “were capable of making up their own minds” about bias in the media, Finkelstein writes, “often, however, readers are not in a position to make an appropriately informed judgment”.

This is intellectual arrogance at its most breathtaking. And it’s a great argument against democracy. If, as Finkelstein claims, people aren’t smart enough to decide for themselves the merits of what they see in the media then they’re certainly not smart enough to decide who to vote for.

This is the totalitarian fallacy: don’t let the people decide (because the people are too stupid), let judges and academics decide for them.

Then there is this:

[Malcolm] Turnbull issued a meandering and mealy-mouthed statement that left open the possibility of the Coalition supporting some or all of Finkelstein’s recommendations.

Turnbull said the report “deserves careful study and community discussion”. No it does not.

The report is bad from beginning to end and should be completely and unambiguously rejected by the Coalition.

If you expected anyone to stand up for free speech and against censorship it would be Malcolm Turnbull. After all, he made his name fighting the British government’s censorship of the book Spycatcher, and he loudly defended the “artistic freedom” of Bill Henson.

The Liberals have dropped the ball on free speech. It is unacceptable that somebody can photograph naked children but can’t publish an opinion critical of the government.

Update I: Malcolm Turnbull responds here.

When the Finkelstein Report came out on March 2 I stated both on Twitter and my website that the proposal for a new government funded News Media Council was not needed and did not appeal to the Coalition which favoured reducing rather than increasing regulation of the media. This statement was faithfully reported in the AFR (on page 1 no less):

“Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull welcomed the report but said the proposal for a new government-funded super regulator was “not one which would appeal to the Coalition, believing as we do in a free press – free in particular to hold governments to account”.”

Other newspapers reported my opposition to the News Media Council recommendation in similar terms.

Turnbull just doesn’t get it. Here is the problem:

… Malcolm Turnbull welcomed the report…

One does not welcome totalitarians. One does not welcome restrictions on liberty. There can be no ‘Yes, but’ response to Finkelstein only ‘No’. Just no.

Update II: It looks like Malcolm Turnbull is trying to rewrite history. This morning he claimed that John Roskam had misquoted him.

In fact, as Mr Roskam knows very well, the remark he selectively quotes does not refer to the News Media Council proposal at all, but rather expressly refers to a proposal I made to change the defamation laws in a way that would promote freedom of speech by ensuring that where a libel is corrected and apologised for in a timely fashion the injured party would not be able to recover any damages other than for actual economic loss.

I’m not so sure about that. Here is what Turnbull said.

I do however welcome Mr Finkelstein’s recognition that in addition to the right of the media to free speech and the right of the individual to reputation there is also a vital right, or interest, of the public to timely, accurate information on matters of public interest. It has to be said that the legal arrangements at present do not adequately advance that interest.

Let’s unpack that.

in addition to the right of the media to free speech

Over and above the right to free speech

and the right of the individual to reputation

subject to the defamation laws

there is also a vital right, or interest, of the public to timely, accurate information on matters of public interest.

there is an additional right that Finkelstein recognises and Turnbull welcomes. Turnbull is not just talking about defamation.

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167 Responses to The totalitarian fallacy

  1. Biota

    Totalitarian wet dream more like it, and close to becoming a real-life nightmare. Just part of the wonderful new life for us all that the Slapper and her nasties have been working on.

  2. Rabz

    It is unacceptable that somebody can photograph naked children but can’t publish an opinion critical of the government.

    It is? Well knock me down with a feather…/sarc off/

    Seriously though, if this mealy mouthed soft cockery is the gliberals’ response to this steaming pile of horseshit, what chance is there for any kind of true ‘course correction’ upon them ascending to gubberment?

    I’m starting to get very exasperated, to put it mildly.

    I detest party politics and the sort of stupid, loathsome, self serving, egomaniacal scumbags it attracts (like flies to shit) but I am seriously thinking of joining the gliberals and sticking a very large rocket up their flabby collective backsides.

    It’s not just this matter, but a whole host of policy issues on which the gliberals must start to offer some very clear, diametrically opposed positions to the prevailing ‘progressive’ groupthink dogshit.

    If they can’t, I’m not going to vote for them, simple as that.

    FFS.

  3. Peter Patton

    It is for stuff like this that we need a constitutionally-protected trigger for CIR, so we could veto any legislation that comes out of this.

  4. Jasbo

    It saddens me that so many of my socially liberal friends in the Liberal Party are MT fans.

    It should be tattooed on Liberal membership forms: you can be socially liberal without being soft in the head.

    And the under 30 set are the worst. Intellectual fashion victims the lot of them. No wonder governments elected to transform end up managing the same decline, only better.

  5. Ivan Denisovich

    If you expected anyone to stand up for free speech and against censorship it would be Malcolm Turnbull. After all, he made his name fighting the British government’s censorship of the book Spycatcher, and he loudly defended the “artistic freedom” of Bill Henson.

    I’d guess the reason for Turnbull pulling his punches on this is that he harbours resentment over the challenge to so-called climate change orthodoxy in sections of the media that has sowed public doubt and, as a consequence, has politically undermined his position and renders any leadership prospects as bleak.

  6. eb

    “It’s not just this matter, but a whole host of policy issues on which the gliberals must start to offer some very clear, diametrically opposed positions to the prevailing ‘progressive’ groupthink dogshit.

    If they can’t, I’m not going to vote for them, simple as that.”

    Gotta agree with this 100% Rabz. Whether it’s Turnbull, Brandis, Hockey, even Abbott, they just disappoint time and again when it’s bleedin’ obvious what their opinion should be if the were truly conservatives. Who advises these people?

  7. Peter Patton

    jasbo

    It saddens me that so many of my socially liberal friends in the Liberal Party are MT fans

    What on earth is ‘socially liberal’? Does that mean you’re a liberal who likes to go out?

  8. Token

    And the under 30 set are the worst. Intellectual fashion victims the lot of them.

    I don’t know what you mean?

    Are you saying that pressing the “Like” button on a campaign against an African warlord come gangster (who could care less when people in the west think of him) is not as important as stopping the government muzzling their free speech.

  9. johno

    Turnbull has to go. We will not get a proper and decent Liberal government if he is a member of it.

  10. Token

    …Malcolm Turnbull welcomed the report…was “not one which would appeal to the Coalition

    When did “Mr Price on Carbon” get tutoring on what Coalition voters want?

  11. ar

    Turnbull has to go. We will not get a proper and decent Liberal government if he is a member of it.

    Not even Arts?

  12. jrm

    Malcolm Turnbull is an anti-democratic elitist without belief in the capacity of ordinary people to think for themselves. That has been known at least since he spat the dummy after the failure of the republic referendum. I wouldn’t trust him to run a chook raffle.

  13. Rabz

    Not even Arts?

    Especially not yaartz. We need to be spared the utterly vomitous spectacle of squire turnbull hobnobbing with carbon crate blandchick and all the other stupid detestable luvvies.

  14. Peter Patton

    Personally, I think Carbon Cate’s citizenship should be revoked when she is next out of the country, with her name put a DFAT list – “Never to be Given a Visa”.

  15. Skuter

    I’d consider myself to be more libertarian rather than conservative myself, however I find myself agreeing with Rabz. I think the wet wing of the liberal party utterly unpalatable and they are the main reason I have gravitated towards the LDP. I will still preference the libs, but figures such as Hockey, Turnbull, Brandis, etc. infuriate me. I’ve said many times that they have genuine young conservative talent languishing on the back benches: Briggs, O’Dwyer, Cormann, Fletcher, Ryan and now the most impressive Arthur Sinodinos. These folks are much more instinctively small government types and fit far more with the stated rationale of the liberal party. How Hockey can remain shadow treasurer and Turnbull can remain shadow communications minister with these other quality people waiting in the wings is beyond me…seems like there is a seniority arrangement that any union would be proud of. With Turnbull in particular, Abbott needs to call his bluff and kill off his leadership prospects once and for all. Demote him and let him languish on the back bench. IF he could demonstrate a consistent track record of team work and loyalty, then maybe consider bringing him back into the fold. Otherwise, fuck him off…

  16. Frankly, I find it a tad “totalitarian” to demand that a politician not only has to signal that his side won’t adopt the key recommendation of a report, but he also has to call it “totalitarian” or else he’s a sympathiser with “totalitarians”.

    Hey, IPA people – maybe the problem is with your overuse of “totalitarian.”

    I found Margaret Simmons summary of what the report actually said helpful as to demonstrating that it was far from “totalitarian”.

    Anyway, don’t stop on my account. I quite like this growing aggro between the IPA and the Coalition if it means you’re going to get less influential with them.

  17. Biota

    Skuter, in thinking about this I always bump into the problem of the dominant lefty media. It seems that Abbott and co have to tread a fine line so as not to attract too much attention.

  18. Peter Patton

    With Turnbull in particular, Abbott needs to win the next election call his bluff and kill off his leadership prospects once and for all.

  19. JamesK

    I found Margaret Simmons summary of what the report actually said helpful as to demonstrating that it was far from “totalitarian”.

    Of course you did.

  20. Ivan Denisovich

    I found Margaret Simmons summary of what the report actually said helpful as to demonstrating that it was far from “totalitarian”.

    Accuracy is the last thing I’d be relying on from Simons:

    http://www.thesydneyinstitute.com.au/issue-121/

  21. Peter Patton

    OMG. That Crikey bird makes Michelle Grattan sound like Aristotle!

  22. Rabz

    It seems that Abbott and co have to tread a fine line so as not to attract too much attention.

    They will persist with that ‘strategy’ once they’re in gubberment.

    Hence why people are starting to get so shitty.

    Exhibits A and B: The coalition gubberments of O’Barrell and that idiot in victoria…

  23. Skuter

    Skuter, in thinking about this I always bump into the problem of the dominant lefty media. It seems that Abbott and co have to tread a fine line so as not to attract too much attention.

    Biota, you are most likely correct. The libs are scared. However, I think there is no better time to strike out against the ‘dominant lefty media’. The libs should wear lashings from Malcolm Farr, Phil Coorey, et al. as a badge of honour…I think there is a substantial portion of the public that has had a gutful of these sanctimonious arseholes…to paraphrase Wombat Henry: go early, go hard, go lefty journos…

  24. Jasbo

    @Peter Patton: grammatical point taken. :-)
    @Rabz: spot on.

    When Hockey can stand up and without second thought describe the Liberals as ‘progressive’ – as I have seen him do – it shows just how far from classical liberalism some parts of the party have wandered. And it isn’t electoral positioning, it’s core identity. There’s plenty of that elite moral vanity and belief in the ignorance of the ‘punters’ in the Libs too. Sad to say.

  25. Peter Patton

    Jasbo

    I would say that ‘liberalism’, as both a philosophy and a civic structure, is ‘progressive’. Liberalism is inquisitive, optimistic, open, and has faith in man being able to face challenges. But that is a very different thing from politicians claiming that the government/state is ‘progressive’; that government is the ‘progressive change agent’.

    And therefore you are right to be alarmed when any politician claims that ‘progress’ is the domain of government, not civil society.

  26. Rococo Liberal

    It’s funny that ALP supporters say that the media slants to the right, yet we know it slants to the left. Don’t we?

    I can’t believe Turnbull’s reaction to the Fink report. There is absolutely no downside in opposing the report. The media will cheer anyone who does so and the voters don’t really give a rat’s patooty whether the media is accurate or fair.

    Most importantly, malcolm has to drop this stupid idea that the public has a right to anything from the media. The media are businesses who will flourish if they supply the public what they want, but the public has no right to any news reporting be it accurate of otherwise.

  27. Max Scream

    Newspapers are consumer goods and they do harm to individuals from time to time.

    The rich and powrful have defamation proceedings that kill off freedom almost completely.

    Not a squark about this for some peculiar reason.

    A consumer affairs tribunal for the ordinary citizen vilified by the media, if done properly, will improve the standard of journalism immeasurably.

    Self-regulation has failed and in the UK they’ve already abolished their body.

    No more cheap shots at people who can’t sue, what a boon!

  28. Peter Patton

    Most importantly, malcolm has to drop this stupid idea that the public has a right to anything from the media.

    He’s probably worried that most of those who would benefit financially and professionally are his constituents. ;)

  29. .

    Newspapers are consumer goods and they do harm to individuals from time to time.

    Yes, we should ban the SMH, Grattan, Irvine, Gittens and coorey.

  30. Rococo Liberal

    Max

    So the real problem is one of the law of redress, not of the publishing of news.

    Therefore we should fix up the defamation laws and make them readily accessible to the average punter. A tribunal is not the way to go, as tribunals do not have to follow the rules of evidence and can be a bit sloppy. I think an expansion of the courts would do it. there is just one problem, defamation law and the courts to enforce it are state cancerns. So the the COmmonwealth has wasted its time in commissioning the Fink report.

  31. papachango

    I’d consider myself to be more libertarian rather than conservative myself, however I find myself agreeing with Rabz. I think the wet wing of the liberal party utterly unpalatable and they are the main reason I have gravitated towards the LDP. I will still preference the libs, but figures such as Hockey, Turnbull, Brandis, etc. infuriate me.

    +1. Tends to be Libs in the HoR and LDP in the Senate for me. I’ve heard Hockey talk admirably well about small government and individual opportunity; then a week later he’s bank bashing and wanting to fix interest rates. Turnbull’s clearly a clever guy, and I was intially excited when he took over the Liberal leadership, though the lightbulb banning should have been a warning. He was a dud who got captured by Gaia worship, but I thought as telco spokesman he should be able to run rings around the imbecilic Conroy. Unfortuantely not, and he can’t shut up about matters outside his portfolio – he’s not quite as bad but basically the Libs’ Rudd.

    At least Sophie Mirabella had a piece in the Punch recently opposing the Fink report in no uncertain terms, and on first principles. Good for her.

    Much as I admire the philosophy, I think the trouble with libertarianism is that it’s not suited to being in politics. People will claim all sorts of ideologies, but the base motivation of politicians is the pursuit of power and control – so a politican who advocates smaller government will find it extremely difficult to succeed – it’s almost a conflict of interest.

    I’ve said this before , and the LDP don’t particularly like this view, but I wonder if their efforts would be better directed in an online advocacy group with a similar operating model to GetUp!

    You can disagree with their policy stances (I do for 99%, but I did sign up when they opposed Internet censorship and the Libs refused to rule it out), but it’s a pretty good model for lobbying – I don’t see why we should let the far left own this space.

  32. Rococo Liberal

    it seems that there is a bit of a disconnect here between the arguments from the left and right on the Fink Report.

    The left seem to be ssaying that the proposed Media Council will only punish media outlets for publishing lies, inaccuracies and unfair comments.

    The right seems to be saying that the Council will in effect have the ability to punish media outlets for publishing any opinion that does not meet the Council’s test of reasonableness.

    Can someone here enlighten me as to which of these arguments is true?

  33. Gavin R. Putland

    Finkelstein’s recommendations are about giving some teeth to self-regulation, thereby bringing the internal disciplinary processes of the journalistic profession into line with those of other professions such as medicine and real estate. If the self-appointed defenders of journalistic freedom believe that journalists are the only professionals who shouldn’t be subject to the judgment of their peers in matters of professional ethics, they should say so.

  34. Peter Patton

    Much as I admire the philosophy, I think the trouble with libertarianism is that it’s not suited to being in politics.

    Libertarianism is to politics what Socialism is to economics. The latter is, by definition, antithetical to the former.

  35. papachango

    Accuracy is the last thing I’d be relying on from Simons:

    Oh sweet jesus. I really didn’t need to read that quote of hers about the sexuality of compost.

  36. Feral Abacus

    “Small l liberal” my arse. Turnbull shows once more that his instincts are to slobber at the feet of the ABC Leftist crowd. He’ll get a good round of applause on Q&A if he does, whilst Coalition-haters in the audience and on the panel beg for him to overthrow Abbott for the Lib leadership to neutralise the electoral threat to the Gillard-Brown regime. Any Liberal – wet or dry – who believes in Liberal values would immediately and without reservation call out this report for what it is – a Labor attempt to strike a hammer blow against its critics in the press. Doug Cameron frothing at the mouth over the Tele’s leadership tension reports and saying News Ltd needed to be “absolutely looked at” should have set off alarm bells. These scumbags will blame any and all of their failings on the free, non-State media and will bully them until they become compliant.

  37. C.L.

    Lamest switcheroo of the year so far:

    Frankly, I find it a tad “totalitarian” to demand that a politician not only has to signal that his side won’t adopt the key recommendation of a report, but he also has to call it “totalitarian” or else he’s a sympathiser with “totalitarians”.

    And it’s from left-wing extremist Steve, amazing to relate.

    Turnbull again demonstrates his political incompetence, his loathing for Australian everyman and the incongruity of his sitting with anyone but the Greens in parliament.

  38. ella

    Roskam and Sinclair just showed Turnbull that communication is a two-way-traffic of messages.

  39. papachango

    All my chablis-sipping, inner city lefty mates 9the ones who are tem[pted but can’t quite bring themselves to vote Green) are simply gagging for Turnbull to form his own party so they can vote for him, which says it all really.

  40. Max Scream

    Defamation laws can’t be made readily available to the ordinary person and their cost stifles free speech enormously.

    The new laws are corrective in character, and not financially crippling, and the process and penalties are mild.

    They will, properly designed, enhance newspapers and the media in general.

  41. .

    Max Scream is Pol Pot’s bitch.

  42. Max Scream

    This is what Holmes wrote the other day at the Drum

    The problem with the proposed News Media Council, in my opinion, is not so much that it would be government-funded as that it would, effectively, give statutory force to codes of conduct which by their very nature are fuzzy and hard to apply with precision.

    The report talks a lot about “fairness and accuracy”. Well, it’s relatively simple to decide whether a news report is accurate or not. It’s another thing altogether to assess its fairness.

    He then goes on to discuss the problems with fairness without, I think, realising that the test of fairness most probably wouldn’t involve some extensive second-guessing of substance, but a more formalistic test of the sort that should be normal anyway.

  43. Peter Patton

    What is behind the number of avowed – shrill even – leftists (ALP/Greens) who regard Malcolm Turnbull as a transcendent saviour – the One – is surely worthy of scholarly attention. What does this praying for Turnbull’s transubstantiation say about those in the pews, their messiah, liberalism, and leftism?

  44. Peter Patton

    Defamation laws can’t be made readily available to the ordinary person and their cost stifles free speech enormously.

    Surely, the ‘ordinary’ cannot be defamed, by definition.

  45. Token

    Nanny statist gone mad.

    These paragraphs truly show the contempt certain parts of the judiciary really have for broader society.

    Finkelstein’s ideological position is not hard to find. It’s in paragraph 4.10 of his report. He thinks a council should control speech in Australia because most people are too dumb or ignorant to decide for themselves about what they see and hear and read in the media.

    In response to the claim from News Ltd’s John Hartigan that ultimately readers “were capable of making up their own minds” about bias in the media, Finkelstein writes, “often, however, readers are not in a position to make an appropriately informed judgment”.

    This is intellectual arrogance at its most breathtaking. And it’s a great argument against democracy.

  46. JC

    Oh I missed this this.

    What Maxwell Smart is really saying is…

    The television was turned off last night after it began to rain and the photocopy machine was working solid for 24 hours straight without even a coffee break. When the sandwich arrived in the plastic cup the gold bracelet was lost in the street and the local dog catcher caught it and threw it the animal pound.

  47. sean

    Max Scream,

    It’s simlpy after the fact rationalising. The ALP/Green went on a witch hunt because they weren’t happy with the press.

    The problems in the UK were just the perfect excuse to push this forward. We’ve seen just how blind DThoug Cameron is when he blamed the press for stirring up leadership tensions.

    We cannot trust politicians to manage the press honestly.

  48. Peter Patton

    These paragraphs truly show the contempt certain parts of the judiciary really have for broader society.

    If you read High/Federal Court decisions in the post Franklin Dams Case world, you will notice the juiciary increasingly thinks it is “the People”. Scarily, this is most pronounced among the Rock Choppers, and especially those who dominated the HC during the Mason years. In Law school classes, most of the students do not believe that the judiciary is part of the State. They believe the judiciary ‘checks power’, not that the judiciary is power. Scary.

  49. ella

    Ivan Denisovich

    I liked your post at 9.25, especially your use of the word “resentment”. You have it in a nutshell.

    “Totalitarian systems of government and totalitarian ideologies have a single source, which is resentment ….Totalitarian ideologies are adopted because they rationalize resentment, and also unite the resentful around a common cause. Totalitarian systems arise when the resentful, having seized power, proceed to abolish the institutions that have conferred power on others.” – Philosopher, Roger Scruton

  50. .

    Patton,

    That is a myth the judiciary has made up about itself to escape a review process of any kind. A lack of accountability = independence, WTF?

    Why have my rock chopper brothers misread the constitution?

  51. Feral Abacus

    Finkelstein writes, “often, however, readers are not in a position to make an appropriately informed judgment”.

    Also, some people don’t vote for Labor or the Greens. Clearly we need an “independent” government body to regulate that.

  52. Rococo Liberal

    Defamation laws can’t be made readily available to the ordinary person and their cost stifles free speech enormously.

    Rubbish. A new court could be established and its rules streamlined so as to make actions cheaper and easier. Also some enterprisng person could offer defamation insurance to media outlets on the same basis that professional indemnity insurance is offered to lawyers and doctors.

  53. Max Scream

    I can’t see how press reporting of the alp/greens will change one bit if proper journalistic standards are applied.

    How can a quasi-legal tribunal exercise political judgements?

    People may not like FWA tribunals but they don’t function politically.

    They function legally with formal tests under the supervision of higher courts if errors are made.

  54. Peter Patton

    dot

    You tell me. Read Mabo, for example. The 6 majority judges were all RC. I think it is because they were brainwashed with natural law ideas as young, er, tykes? :) And it should be no surprise that Kirby is a high church Anglican, and a monarchist to boot.

  55. JC

    Turnbull just doesn’t get it. Here is the problem:

    … Malcolm Turnbull welcomed the report…

    One does not welcome totalitarians. One does not welcome restrictions on liberty. There can be no ‘Yes, but’ response to Finkelstein only ‘No’. Just no.

    I beat John Roskam to the punch on this one
    I actually called Turnbull’s office about this and complained to his chief adviser. I asked the policy guy how in God’s name could Turnbull used those words about a report that seemed to come out of a Politburo. I suggested that if he was unable to defend passionately against this stuff he should give up the portfolio and walk away.

    His response was the Turnbull was against the report. I traded that you don’t use words like “welcome” about something so serious if you’re against it.

    The guy is not centered. I honestly believe he’s in the wrong party.

    As for Kelly O’Dwyer, I’m in her electorate. I called her office first and her adviser seemed to have no freaking idea. They seem to be in a total fog.

    The libs are seriously fumbling on this. It would be one thing if they adopted my strategy of supporting the report and went straight in and used to club the left with, baby seal style. But I don’t think they would even do do that. They are truly fucking useless.

  56. papachango

    The way to convince lefties to oppose the Fink report is simple.

    The Libs haven’t completely rejected it, so imagine this scenario. It gets through, then once Tony Abbot is PM, his first item of business is to stack the new Media Inquisitor Council with climate skeptics and assorted right wingers, who proceed to tackle the issue of ‘bias’ in the Age and the ABC, and insiste that a ‘diversity of viewpoints’ includes equal time to questioning the orthodoxy of AGW.

    Oh, and it will devote most of its efforts to picking up the multitute of innaccuracies in climate alarmist op-eds and general climate change reporting, and force corrections and apologies on them all.

  57. Max Scream

    Yes, well, what you say could happen but it hasn’t and I haven’t seen any proposals for a new defamation court.

    In any event, defamation law functions in terms solely of reputational harm.

  58. Rococo Liberal

    So is the balance here that the left are pushing their “it’s ony to correct inaccuracies” line whilst trying to distract us from that fact that ‘fairness’ is also one of the criteria which the Media Council will adjudicate on?

    The appeal to ‘fairness’ is the call of the totalitarian throughout the ages!

  59. Ellen of Tasmania

    The trouble with the Libs is that they are no longer liberal, but very conservative. And what they conserve now are the very changes that the socialists gave us a few years earlier.

    Labor gets in and introduces more statist control. The Libs get in and conserve it.

  60. Peter Patton

    dot

    My own theory is that our whole jurisprudence on judicial review is wrong. Australian judicial review jurisprudence is rooted in the USSC case, Marbury v Madison (1803). M v M held that under the Constitution, the 3 players were the legislature (Congress/Senate), the executive (President), and the judiciary (USSC).

    But Australia’s Constitution has a 4th player, which the US Constitution does not; the People. ‘The People’ did not write the US Constitution, did not vote for it, nor can they change it. OTOH, it was the Australian People who wrote our Constitution, voted for it, and are the only ones who can change it. Yet, you never hear the judiciary talk about this fourth power. This doesn’t mean the judiciary ignores ‘The People’. Rather, the judiciary subsumes The People’ within the judiciary. And their rhetoric reveals they regard that subsumption as in loco parentis. Finkelstein’s attitude is typical of this mindset.

  61. Max Scream

    Isn’t a version of fairness also a concept in equity???

    Or do you consider equity itself a totalitarian concept???

  62. twostix

    I can’t see how press reporting of the alp/greens will change one bit if proper journalistic standards are applied.

    The Craig Thompson case would never have survived the council.

    Which is of course why the likes of you are frothing at the mouth to get it.

  63. sean

    Labor gets in and introduces more statist control. The Libs get in and conserve it.

    Indeed, we will see if they continue with the mandatory filter if they get into power.

  64. twostix

    Isn’t a version of fairness also a concept in equity???

    A “version of fairness”.

    Of course you determine what’s “fair” then set up a star chamber to administer your version of it.

  65. Peter Patton

    Ellen

    The trouble with the Libs is that they are no longer liberal, but very conservative.

    They were never ‘liberal’. When they formed, ‘liberal’ basically meant ‘anti-communist’. During the realities of the Cold War, the Libs could justify being conservative, rather than liberal, as ‘an inescapable compromise due to the reality of Communism breathing down our necks’.

  66. sean

    R18+ video games a a simple example where the Liberals fail the ‘individual responsibility’ test.

    Weak rationalisations are used ‘kids could get their hands on them’ etc. but the underlying paternalism is there. They can’t claim to have a consistent view on the ability of individuals to use their own judgement either.

  67. Max Scream

    Fair in journalism sometimes means nothing more than that you contacted one party to ask for a comment.

    Fair in journalism means that a reporter did not blag information on you from third parties.

    There are probably a whole list of such rules of fairness in journalism but this would be what is meant by fair.

    Its not a political or substantive test.

  68. .

    Fair in journalism sometimes means nothing more than that you contacted one party to ask for a comment.

    We ought to ask Martin Bryant how he feels about a MP calling for him to be executed?

    Get bent.

  69. Max Scream

    An MP is not a journalist, so how is this relevant?

    A newspaper would have to report it as its news.

  70. .

    Um dickhead, when they report on what an MP says.

  71. twostix

    Its not a political or substantive test.

    1. You lie, Bob Brown has made it clear that “fairness” is about rhetoric and opinion. The the extremist green left isn’t treated “fairly” by the mainstream – including the ABC.

    2. Why should private people be held to higher standards than government actors?

    You’re not being honest as usual, you simply seek to use platitudes to provide cover for what the unpopular left is praying will become your mallet to beat the popular mainstream News Ltd papers and blogs over the head with.

  72. Max Scream

    If its a fair and accurate report of what the politician said then there’s no action that the MP can take.

  73. Max Scream

    So one looks to Bob Brown for legal advice???

  74. .

    Oh yes I’m sure an MP who wanted Bryant to be hanged, made the comment publicly etc would complain.

    You dissembling dickhead.

  75. twostix

    A newspaper would have to report it as its news.

    More lies, the media council covers blogs too, so are we allowed to talk about things here?

    Perhaps you can provide a list of things we’re allowed to write our opinion about.

    Do tell though, why can’t private newspapers, newsletters and books have opinion and editorial as they see fit? The Green Left weekly is nothing but editorial masquerading as news. Do you worry that it will be harrassed into non-existence?

    Also you never dispute that the original Fairfax expose on Craig Thompson would have definitely been pulled by the media council.

  76. JC

    If its a fair and accurate report of what the politician said then there’s no action that the MP can take.

    Fuck you’re a dickhead, Maxwell.

    Mad Dog Bob was quoted on 7.30 Report that renew balls would replace our $50 billion coal export industry. He was suggesting renew balls would replace those exports. No kidding.

    The idea is so patently absurd it deserves not only laughter but rebuke in the most cruel way possible. He needs to be crueled.

    The Dog of course wants to prevent that from happening.

    That’s just one small example why the dog wants to restrict speech. He doesn’t want a mountain of shit to cover him up.

  77. twostix

    So one looks to Bob Brown for legal advice???

    Oh god, it was on Bob Browns insistence and the correct exposure of the Gillard / Rudd hatefest that the inquisition began.

    Idiot.

  78. C.L.

    Part of the problem is that the talent pool from which judges are drawn is less than impressive. The Australian legal fraternity is not bright, philosophically.

  79. Max Scream

    I can’t make any sense at all of what your contrary opinion is. You need to express your ideas more clearly.

  80. JC

    I can’t make any sense at all of what your contrary opinion is. You need to express your ideas more clearly.

    Have you an ounce of shame?

  81. badm0f0

    It’s a pity that much of the debate has been dominated by cartoonish visions of some Central Committee for Truth “repressing” all anti-government opinion. It is highly improbable that any government would be able to achieve such an outcome even if the report’s recommendations were implemented in full, however heavy-handed and unappealing they are.

    What’s really stunning (or stunningly stupid) about the Finklestein report is the sheer contradiction between the alleged diagnosis of market failure that necessitates regulatory intervention and the likely effects of the regulation that it actually proposes. The report identifies (alleged) concentration of ownership and a consequent lack of diversity in editorial voice as symptoms of a market failure which require remedy. Yet the report proposes a regulatory structure & scope that actually favours the larger market incumbents at the expense of smaller, independent participants – it effectively sets up or raises the entry barriers.

    Existing publishers are unlikely to be much affected at all by the proposed regulation. They have well established editorial processes to eliminate most egregious errors of fact and vet potentially defamatory content. They also have the financial and legal resources to contest any contentious decisions through the courts. The most likely outcome for them is that they’ll be forced to use their established corrections procedures in a number of cases they otherwise may have ignored. So possibly there’ll be a larger number of corrections printed at the bottom of page 2, with the possibility that a very occasional right of reply will be obliged.

    Independent site operators and bloggers, however, usually do not have the scale to implement rigourous editorial processes nor the resources to object to adverse findings through the courts. Lacking the processes and experience of the major publishers in eliminating risk prior to publication the independents are also the most likely to publish material which is actionable under the new regime. The diverse, independent voices Finklestein apparently welcomes in parts of the report are, in other words, those most likely to be drowned out by the bureaucratic clamour for balance the report heralds.

  82. twostix

    I can’t make any sense at all of what your contrary opinion is. You need to express your ideas more clearly.

    AKA “I don’t want to answer.”

    I’ll ask again:

    Do tell though, why can’t private newspapers, newsletters and books have opinion and editorial as they see fit? The Green Left weekly is nothing but editorial masquerading as news. Do you worry that it will be harrassed into non-existence?

    And:

    Does it bother you that the Craig Thompson case would never have survived the council.

  83. JC

    Bado, you say:

    It’s a pity that much of the debate has been dominated by cartoonish visions of some Central Committee for Truth “repressing” all anti-government opinion. It is highly improbable that any government would be able to achieve such an outcome even if the report’s recommendations were implemented in full, however heavy-handed and unappealing they are.

    You then go out of your proving the point people are making. Good work.

  84. Max Scream

    This is what the report actually says, as opposed to Bob Brown whose word is apparently taken as gospel around here:

    However, to have an opinion and campaign for it is one thing; reporting is another, and in news reporting it is expected by the public, as well as by professional journalists, that the coverage will be fair and accurate.”

    In other words, be as biased as you like with opinion, but if you are reporting then be ‘fair and accurate’.

    Fair and accurate has nothing to do with comment. It can be unfair and inaccurate.

    Fairness is a professional standard, not a political test.

  85. Fisky

    It’s Bado’s Lefty Nuance routine, JC. He does it all the time.

  86. C.L.

    Has anyone on the left opposed Gillard’s plan to ban free speech yet?

    Anyone?

  87. JC

    They’re carefully considering the well thought out Fink report, CL.

    (It’s going to take around the same time it’s taken the FWA to carefully consider whether Thompson stole money from the union.)

  88. twostix

    Independent site operators and bloggers, however, usually do not have the scale to implement rigourous editorial processes nor the resources to object to adverse findings through the courts. Lacking the processes and experience of the major publishers in eliminating risk prior to publication the independents are also the most likely to publish material which is actionable under the new regime. The diverse, independent voices Finklestein apparently welcomes in parts of the report are, in other words, those most likely to be drowned out by the bureaucratic clamour for balance the report heralds.

    I agree with you bad m0f0. The big newspapers are more or less a bit player in the matter, the paper gives them an out by letting them put in place their own approved process. It’s the extraordinary power the council will have over websites, blogs, newsletters, books, etc.

    If you make a comment that someone doesn’t like, the council will “investigate” the complaint and then order you to remove or retract your statement.

    Defamation cases take a long time because the issues surrounding them are complicated and the truth is hard to find. How does this council think it’s going to investigate the truthfulness a complex matter without using any sort of trial and court? Especially if the target of the article, say a corrupt property developer is exposed then makes a complaint.

    It will literally be a kangaroo court.

  89. JC

    How can you be fair if you’re biased, Scream, you fucking idiot?

  90. Skuter

    The trouble with the Libs is that they are no longer liberal, but very conservative. And what they conserve now are the very changes that the socialists gave us a few years earlier.

    Spot on Ellen. This is why I have found the LDP a better alternative, but the simple fact is that there is no way to get representatives that endorse and pursue an agenda of small/limited government into our Parliaments in any significant way. The issue just doesn’t seem to resonate. Depressing…

  91. badm0f0

    You then go out of your proving the point people are making.

    You’re missing the point; even if implemented in full no government will be able to eliminate anti-government opinion. The regulations don’t give the government of the day any particular rights of redress over and above ordinary citizens; a Federal Minister will have no more or less right to lodge an objection than will a plumber from Stafford. Nor do they provide the ability to regulate particular opinions on a given matter, though opinions on contentious matters will attract more objections than others. The regulations don’t aim for the totalitarian objective of controlling the information or directing the messages conveyed in the media. The problem isn’t that they are trying to impose a particular set of opinions through the regulation but that their efforts to impose balance & diversity of opinion will, in practice, lead to the opposite outcome.

  92. Max Scream

    Fair and accurate applies to reporting.

    Opinion is not and should not be subject to a fairness and accuracy test.

    Blogs are about opinion, but some do stray into the reporting business and therefore would need to be ‘fair and accurate’.

  93. Ivan Denisovich

    Oh sweet jesus. I really didn’t need to read that quote of hers about the sexuality of compost.

    LOL. Sorry about that, Papa. Yes, it is disturbing.

    Thanks, Ella. Interesting quote from Scruton, btw.

  94. JC

    ….a Federal Minister will have no more or less right to lodge an objection than will a plumber from Stafford.

    Are you deliberately being stupid here?

    You’re suggesting a minister with full time staff, or mad dog bob with the resources of the entire greenslime party and their hangers on such as Greenslimepeace, Australia institute, Getitup and their full time propaganda machine going full bore would not have more potential influence than the plumber.

    Are you out of your fucking mind?

  95. JC

    Blogs are about opinion, but some do stray into the reporting business and therefore would need to be ‘fair and accurate’.

    Why do they need to be “fair and accurate”?

  96. badm0f0

    Has anyone on the left opposed Gillard’s plan to ban free speech yet?

    Anyone

    Yes, many of those you would class as left have objected but you never read beyond your own echo chamber.

    It’s Bado’s Lefty Nuance routine, JC. He does it all the time.

    No, I just prefer to have my own opinions rather than sharing the hyperbolic paroxysms of the collective.

  97. twostix

    This is what the report actually says, as opposed to Bob Brown whose word is apparently taken as gospel around here:

    You’re an idiot, I’ve read the report start to finish, unlike you who is taking your cue from Crikey.

    “Fairness” is totally and utterly subjective.

    The report is dripping with contempt for the News Ltd media and is complete with swaths of references to the eminently non partisan Robert Manne.

    The report was commissioned at the height of the governments political hysteria about News Ltd and it’s daring to air an opposing view on the Carbon Tax and the utter depravity of the hatefulness within the Labor party.

    You can wish everybody would forget that all you like, but we won’t and the inquiry will always be seen as the reaction by a deeply paranoid, extremely unpopular, terminal and thuggish government to intimidate one section of the media.

  98. Fisky

    Blogs are about opinion, but some do stray into the reporting business and therefore would need to be ‘fair and accurate’.

    Hardly any blogs do real reporting. Virtually none. Blogs are parasitic on the reporting and even the opinionating of newspapers. To place them under the control of a regulatory body is the stupidest thing I’ve heard for a long, long time from a government. But perhaps not from this government.

  99. JC

    Yes, many of those you would class as left have objected but you never read beyond your own echo chamber.

    Many?

    The two links you provide are from Michael Gawenda and Jonathan Holmes.

    Gawenda piece is titled:

    Finkelstein findings all very good in theory

    Holmes:

    We’ve been through Holmes before. He’s not against the findings in terms of theoretical principle. Holmes was the person that helped Getup sic the regulators against Alan Jones using a dead letter law.

    Nice try bado.

    And you’re not nuanced at all. You’re in basic support.

  100. twostix

    Blogs are about opinion, but some do stray into the reporting business and therefore would need to be ‘fair and accurate’.

    Lol keep using that quote, ‘fair and accurate’ from a fringe extremist like you is hardly a winning argument.

    The greens think that the ABC is “unfair”.

    Again, please stop obfuscating. The report makes no differentiation between opinion and reporting when it comes to what complaints can be made about.

    Who defines what is “reporting” and what is “opinion” by the way? The report certainly doesn’t, it merely gives itself total power over anybody who publishes anything that is read more than say, Crikey is.

  101. Max Scream

    LP is a blog and is currently doing a piece of reportage on CSG.

    Moreover, a lot of blogs make statements about what people do and say that are entirely fictitious as the basis for comment.

    These statements do need to be ‘fair and accurate’.

  102. JC

    These statements do need to be ‘fair and accurate’.

    Why?

  103. Max Scream

    The distinction between reporting and commenting is one that all newspapers claim to be the basis of a proper newspaper.

  104. Fisky

    LP is a blog and is currently doing a piece of reportage on CSG.

    Moreover, a lot of blogs make statements about what people do and say that are entirely fictitious as the basis for comment.

    These statements do need to be ‘fair and accurate’.

    You don’t seem to understand the difference between a news report and an opinion, do you? If an opinion is false and deemed to be damaging, the victim can sue for damages. You can produce an opinion in 3 seconds if you like and it will probably be worthless. The amount of time required to produce a proper news report is considerable, and bloggers simply don’t have the time and resources to do it properly (except for a very few exceptions).

  105. Max Scream

    Statements have to be ‘fair and accurate’ because that’s the consumer good that newspapers purport to sell to the customer.

    If newspapers tell customers they sell pure fiction or short stories then they don’t have to be ‘fair and accurate’.

  106. twostix

    These statements do need to be ‘fair and accurate’.

    So we finally get to some solid ground.
    Which blogs? “None except all of them!” he says.

    None of which matters as the report makes no differentiation. It merely gives itself power over all websites with more that 15,000 hits a year. Meaning all of them.

    How such a thing is to policed is another most interesting matter.

    I get the feeling that Max is a Labor party marketeer testing out phrases for palatability.

    Expect to see “Fair and Accurate” used as a selling point for the kangaroo council.

  107. twostix

    Statements have to be ‘fair and accurate’ because that’s the consumer good that newspapers purport to sell to the customer.

    If newspapers tell customers they sell pure fiction or short stories then they don’t have to be ‘fair and accurate’.

    Good grief, if they’re making false claims about their “product” they are liable under the trade practices act.

    Show me where a newspaper claims to be “fair” as a selling point.

    Then stop making shit up. I can’t wait to lodge a complaint with the press council about you and your lies.

  108. papachango

    About the only lefty who’s admirably against press censorship is the Brit, Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked Online.

    In still remember him bitch slapping Tanya Plibersek and Steven Mayne about the very issue on Q&A. Told Mayne he should be ashamed of himself, as a journalist for supporting censorship of the media.

  109. Peter Patton

    It is nou up to the class of luvvie clients of statist parliamemtary patrons to decide what is ‘fair’, ‘balanced’ or whatever, these are issues for US – the consumers of media. If we think a particular media product does not suit what we demand, we will look elsewhere. If we love what they offer, we’ll pay for it. Simple really.

  110. Adrien

    About the only lefty who’s admirably against press censorship is the Brit, Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked Online.

    Alright, it’s official, the Left/Right model of political conviction and mode is dead. Brendan O’Neill is one of these former Trots who has embraced ‘The System’ and invested it with the same sense of Historical Law, Manifest Destiny and Righteous Myopia that makes Trotskyite Socialists such painful people for anyone who has to deal with them.

  111. badm0f0

    Gawenda piece is titled:

    Gawenda piece actualls says:

    I am, in principle, opposed to Finkelstein’s government funded, statutory News Media Council. There’s no way that over time, such a body can remain — and be seen to be — independent of government.

    What’s more, a statutory body that can ultimately take journalists to court over claims of bias for instance, is absolutely alarming. Authoritarian and totalitarian regimes censor journalists in part with the justification that these journalists are biased and not telling the “true” story of the regime’s achievements.

    Holmes actually says:

    I agree that Mr Finkelstein’s proposed solution, a government-funded council, with its ability to demand retractions, apologies and rights of reply with the sanction of a court order lying behind them:

    is absolutely alarming.

    As for -

    And you’re not nuanced at all. You’re in basic support.

    I’ve stated my grounds for disagreeing with the report, this isn’t “basic support”. I do recognise that in your eyes, however, not towing the party line you promote is as good as agreeing. Like the hardcore left, you define as “true critique” as only that which flows from a “proper” ideological foundation. You collectivists really do have some psychological need for conformity don’t you?

  112. twostix

    If we think a particular media product does not suit what we demand, we will look elsewhere. If we love what they offer, we’ll pay for it. Simple really.

    The left think we’re all too stupid to know what’s ‘fair and accurate’.

    ‘Fair and accurate’ is what they say it is.

  113. sean

    No one can force you to buy a newspaper. Pretty simple, if people don’t value the output then it will not be in business for a very long time.

  114. Max Scream

    Brendan O’Neill is a former leftist who currently has little or no recognition among the left wing community as a leftist.

  115. Max Scream

    If you look at newspapers and the APC I think you’ll find that ‘fair and accurate’ is a self-imposed standard for which, unfortunately, there is no enforceability.

  116. Gab

    How much is GetUp paying you to be here making inane comments, Max Yelp?

  117. sean

    While (x = 1)

    printf(‘Max Scream’);
    printf(‘Fair and Accurate’);

    x=1;

    Wend

    He’s stuck in an infinte loop….aahhh

  118. Rococo Liberal

    Do self imposed standards need to be inforced? They are desiderata, surely?

    Accurate we can measure, fairness we cannot. As far as I can see, any attack on Bob Brown and his luddites is fair. But he might not see it that way. Who is to judge? Some bunch of government appointed hacks? Now that isn’t fair!

    And a little tip, equity has long since evolved away from being a test of fairness. It is a system of doctrines and remedies designed to regulate behaviour.

  119. Jc 

    No one can force you to buy a newspaper. Pretty simple, if people don’t value the output then it will not be in business for a very long time.

    .

    That’s what they’re trying to do
    No one is buying their crap of lies like the aged, so they wll force it on people.

  120. papachango

    Lol – O’Neill still calls himself a Marxist, but other than that brain fart, he’s quite a sensible chap.

    You might be right, he’s actually become a libertarian but refuses to admit it to himself.

    WTF is the ‘leftwing community’ – is it like how to be able to identify as Aboriginal you have to be ‘accepted by the indigenous community’, rtaher than actually be of Aboriginal appearance.

  121. Rococo Liberal

    Maybe Max can give us an example of unfair reporting or opinion.

    I’ll give him one. It was unfair of the ABC to try and blame Tony Abbott for the Australia Day riots.

  122. Rococo Liberal

    I should add that I don’t think the ABC should be subject to a fine for for being a hotbed of leftism and often being unfair and inaccurate.

    It should just be closed down :)

  123. Jc 

    Maxwell

    I think it would be fair to ban you, but I’m sure you wouldn’t think so. You’d be squealing like a stick pig as all left wing bannees

  124. papachango

    what about the Age reporting on what a fabulous success Earth Hour was while not revealling that they were the co-sponsors of it, and that their journalists been pressured by management into giving it favourable coverage.

    Something they regularly accuse Murdoch of doing with no proof at all.

  125. papachango

    It should just be closed down

    Be fair RL – I’ll settle for it being privatised. The government shouldn’t fund politically biassed news outlets – in fact they shouldn’t even fund neutral ones.

  126. Peter Patton

    Anyways, we do they pull this ‘fair and balanced’ criteria out of? Most of the media I consume I do so because they are NOT ‘fair and balanced’.

  127. Peter Patton

    With our polity clogged with so many thick people, totalitarianism could breed quickly:

    Debbieanne:

    What is it with the perverse facination with ‘lower taxes’? The stupidity of the masses who want better health care, more police, more teachers, increased infrastructure, but reduced taxes, brings me to tears. Why can’t the Labour government actually encourage people to THINK.

    That’s right peoples. It is the role of political parties to educate, not the AEU.

    Andos:

    Jenny: That’s my point.

    If, instead of buying into the “debt is bad, surplus is good” non sequitur which is simply designed to restrict government spending, the Labor Government actually explained to people how government spending is integral to advancing public purpose and actually public debt provides a risk-free income stream to people like your mum, then the Liberals wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

    Now, where’s that revolver?

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/2012/03/08/you-wouldnt-read-about-it/#comment-365248

  128. Peter Patton

    That’s why Koukoulas shits me. He’s trying to win an argument which is designed to disadvantage progressive politics by its nature instead of showing people like your mum that the argument is meaningless in the first place.

    And so on, and so forth.

  129. Gab

    The LDP needs to infiltrate the ranks within the LP. Urgently.

  130. Gab

    LP – Liberals. not Laboratory Potty.

  131. Will Kane

    Skuter,

    I’ve said many times that they have genuine young conservative talent languishing on the back benches: Briggs, O’Dwyer, Cormann, Fletcher, Ryan and now the most impressive Arthur Sinodinos.

    Jamie Briggs was gagging for the ETS when Turnbull was leader.

    Said he wanted to be a Minister, and the only way to win government was to bring in an ETS. We all know how that worked out.

    So I don’t quite see him as a committed conservative. Maybe an opportunistic one?

  132. C.L.

    …government spending is integral to advancing public purpose and actually public debt provides a risk-free income stream to people like your mum…

    Ahahahahahahahaha.

  133. papachango

    The LDP are far too tiny to have any influence; even the frickin Socialist Equality Party are bigger.

    There are a lot of single-issue libertarian microparties out there, like the fishing and shooting party, the outdoor recreation party, the Climate skeptics party, and even the sex party.

    That lot should try to unite with the LDP under a libertarian banner.

  134. Gab

    You’re right, Papa. Which is why I said “infiltrate”. If they can’t join under one banner, then change the LP from within. It will take time so best to start now as the LP seem to be heading down the socialist path.

  135. From Tony Abbotts speech today

    Other questions that the commission of audit might ponder could include: whether the federal health department really needs all 6000 of its current staff when the Commonwealth doesn’t actually run a single hospital or nursing home, dispense a single prescription or provide a single medical service; whether the federal education department really needs all 5000 of its current staff when the Commonwealth doesn’t run a single school; and whether we really need 7000 officials in the Defence Materiel Organisation, when the United Kingdom, with armed forces at least four times our size, gets by with 4000 in the equivalent body?

    Now question to anyone working in these organisations what do you actually do? Even the Defence Material Organisation which I think would buy far less than Woolies what are most of you doing. Just asking on off chance you are not busy.

  136. sean

    Which is why I said “infiltrate”.

    $10,000 a head business lunches with fat cats or grass roots democracy?

  137. Infidel Tiger

    That lot should try to unite with the LDP under a libertarian banner.

    It’d be easier to herd cats riding a unicycle.

  138. Gab

    No. “Infiltrate” as the union does with the ALP.

  139. badm0f0

    It’d be easier to herd cats riding a unicycle.

    Also more fun.

  140. Will Kane

    The Shooters and Fishers party isn’t libertarian.

    About the only common ground they would have with the LDP is on relaxing gun laws, and they probably don’t go as far as the LDP.

  141. papachango

    It’d be easier to herd cats riding a unicycle.

    lol… true. And it will generally be true as long as we’re dealing with individualist political philosophies.

    That is one area where socialists, nationalists and other sorts of collectivists have an advantage. They can unite much more easily as they’re used to groupthink and following the leader.

    It’s another reason why I think a libertarian answer to GetUp! (HandsOff! ??) would be a better idea.

  142. sean

    It’s another reason why I think a libertarian answer to GetUp! (HandsOff! ??) would be a better idea.

    Better off with someone in the senate. Usually their is a balance of power held by minorities. Bar 07 and under the ALP/Green deal, it usually falls on an independent to make/break deals. This is a great point to inject classical liberal input. It would provide a platform for spreading ideas nationally as well as a chance to criticise policies that ignore opportunity costs/unintended consequences etc.

    SitDown is a Lefty front where young sheep follow the shiek of tweak.

  143. Pingback: ‘the fat-bottomed, lazy, unrepresentative…and vicious’ | pindanpost

  144. papachango

    Don’t get me wrong Sean, it would be great if you could get a Senate rep – I always put you lot number 1, but I go below the line instead of following your preferences (ifn only just to put Conroy dead last)

    It seems you’re a fair wsy off though.

    SitDown is a Lefty front where young sheep follow the shiek of tweak.

    yes I know that, and I’m not suggesting following their philosophy, whioch is generally, but not always statist. I’m just saying their M.O. – online and issues-based (particularly the latter) would suit the classical liberal model.

    There is a growing resentment against the Nanny State and this would be a good way to harness it.

    BTW where do SitDown stand on the media inquiry?

  145. sean

    SitDown follow MediaWatch to the letter. When there was complaints about NSW talkback, where 3 shows all came up with different numbers for atmospheric CO2 concentrations, Holmes complains ACMA is weak. Sheik of tweak starts a campaign to get action against the 3 hosts.

    Monkey see, monkey do type stuff.

  146. papachango

    bit hypocritical, given their opposition to internet censorship, isn’t it?

    Same can be said of the Greens of course, but then again they’re the Olympic champions of hypocrisy.

    Just the other day Lee Rhiannon was bemoaning the anti-aboritionists harassing women outside clinics, yet she’s perfectly cool with violent protests targetting Jewish-owned businesses, or anarchists smashing property at economic forums.

  147. Abu Chowdah

    Defamation laws can’t be made readily available to the ordinary person and their cost stifles free speech enormously.

    And yet an ordinary chap – a blogger – recently succeeded in obtaining redress in regard to that vicious talentless swine, marieke hardy.

    So you are wrong. Defamation law is available to all and not expensive if you are RIGHT.

  148. Abu Chowdah

    Brendan O’Neill is like Nick Cohen and Christopher Hitchens. He woke up one morning and discovered his fellow travelers had all dropped the ball on sticking up for the little people and were now more focussed on totalitarian control and mindless rote attacking of the West as represented by the US.

    What Crap Stream dislikes about O’Neill is that O’Neill maintains his principles and continues to defend free speech instead of joining those on the left who seek to limit it.

  149. papachango

    I actually admire people like O’Neill, Cohen and Hitchens (I’ll add Pamela Bone and the lesbian Muslim Irshad Manji to the list) more than people who have always been a principled libertarian, centre right or whatever.

    A bit like trying to break out of a cult, it would take a lot of guts and strength of character to challenge the tribal group think you’re a part of. They also tend to be the targets of particularly nasty, vicious hatred for ‘betraying’ the tribe too.

  150. Token

    Gerard Henderson (or is it Nancy) has a few words in Media Watch Dog about Pinko Finko’s review:

    One half of the NMC members “should be men and one half should be women”.

    ● Appointments to the NWC should be made by “a committee that is independent from the government”. This committee “could…consist of three senior academics from tertiary institutions appointed by the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee…, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Solicitor-General for the Commonwealth”. According to the Finkelstein Report, three senior academics can speak for “the public at large”.

    ● The chair of the NMC “should be a retired judge or other eminent lawyer”. In other words, the NMC should be presided over by a judge or eminent lawyer and half of its members should be appointed by senior academics.

    ● Members of the NMC “should be entitled to reasonable remuneration”. In other words, members of the NMC will receive a significant financial benefit.

    ● Funding for the NMC “should be by the government out of consolidated revenue”. In other words, taxpayers should foot the bill.

    etc

  151. Abu Chowdah

    Papa, I also admire them.

    People like Crap Stream should pause long enough to take the cock out of their mouths and read Cohen’s “What’s Left?”.

  152. Warwick

    And Senator George Brandis has gone missing again – just as he did when Andrew Bolt was forced into court to defend his comments about some pale people hitching a ride aboard the aboriginal gravy train.

  153. Skuter

    Jamie Briggs was gagging for the ETS when Turnbull was leader.
    Said he wanted to be a Minister, and the only way to win government was to bring in an ETS. We all know how that worked out.
    So I don’t quite see him as a committed conservative. Maybe an opportunistic one?

    You may be right Will, I don’t recall though. Are you sure it wasn’t Senator Simon Birmingham? He did, however, express some solid sentiments about IR reform and was shut down pretty quickly. That’s why I thought he was good value. I’d also like to hear more from Senator Sean Edwards. I remember being impressed by his maiden speech…

  154. val majkus

    I completely agree with John; the sentence he’s picked out above

    In response to the claim from News Ltd’s John Hartigan that ultimately readers “were capable of making up their own minds” about bias in the media, Finkelstein writes, “often, however, readers are not in a position to make an appropriately informed judgment”.

    This is intellectual arrogance at its most breathtaking. And it’s a great argument against democracy. If, as Finkelstein claims, people aren’t smart enough to decide for themselves the merits of what they see in the media then they’re certainly not smart enough to decide who to vote for.

    are the members of this Govt or the entity Finkleton proposes be set up to be our school teachers!

    and I notice there was a fair bit of attention paid in the report to media sources which the public trusts and apparently the ABC was perceived by the public as a trustworthy entity

    Well not in my view; I’ve stopped watching the ABC; don’t watch the news, don’t watch Insiders, I’ve switched off

    So how reliant are surveys?

    My view is that the report is lightweight; but that is possibly because it’s an inquiry rather than a Royal Commission; an inquiry has no cross examination on behalf of potentially affected entities and thus is more of an essay than an investigative procedure (in my view)

    another example of a mindless Govt engaging in mindless activity and fairly expensive mindless activity in my view

  155. Winston Smith

    Dear Mr Abbott.
    I make note of the upcoming Media Control Board, and I wonder if you had thought of who to appoint to it after the next elections. I would nominate myself as Head Sherang, and the rest of the Catallaxy crew as my assistants.
    I could almost guarantee you that Editorial Comment would return to the realms of sanity overnight if you could announce the appointments within the coming week.
    Yours,
    Winston Smith.

  156. Abu Chowdah

    I bags the Manne, Marr and Hamilton accounts, Winston!

  157. Jc

    I make note of the upcoming Media Control Board, and I wonder if you had thought of who to appoint to it after the next elections. I would nominate myself as Head Sherang, and the rest of the Catallaxy crew as my assistants.

    I’d pay serious money to be appointed to that board.

    It would be really fun.

    I would even put in my own complaints.

  158. Winston Smith

    Abu, don’t be greedy. You may have one or the other. Remember that this is a continuation of the lefts ‘Jobs for the Boys and Girls’ policy.
    There’s plenty of room for important positions to be filled.

    And I will define what position is ‘important’.

  159. Abu Chowdah

    Look here Winston, this totalitarian quango must be run along democratic lines!

  160. Winston Smith

    “I would even put in my own complaints.”

    See? this is what I mean. I require persons of vision. And you can all work from home. Did I mention that? The NBN* will go past your front door, and you’ll be able to download terabytes of video porn, for work purposes of course. There will be a weekly meeting at The Steyne, Manly, NSW, every Sunday afternoon to discuss strategy and progress.
    *The NBN will go past your front door.

  161. Winston Smith

    I merely put this in as a showcase for my credentials to become King Of Autralia.
    I know I can count on your support, all you future Counts and Countesses.

  162. Tal

    Can we have a truck to round up offenders Winston?

  163. Winston Smith

    “Look here Winston, this totalitarian quango must be run along democratic lines!”

    I am puzzled, Abu. In fact, a tad dismayed by your pointing to this archaic concept of Democracy. I sincerely hope you don’t embarrass yourself by further displays of Tourettes?

    “Waiter, another extra strong drink of whatever Abu is having, please.”

  164. Winston Smith

    You won’t need a truck, Tal. However I have put in for a new Galaxy to pick up those who annoy us, and transport their bodies them to Heard Island.

  165. Adrien

    Brendan O’Neill is like Nick Cohen and Christopher Hitchens. He woke up one morning and discovered his fellow travelers had all dropped the ball on sticking up for the little people and were now more focussed on totalitarian control and mindless rote attacking of the West as represented by the US.

    It’s always wonderful hearing from people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

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