Tagged: australian politics

Hey! Let’s change Australia Day!

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You can set your watch to it. It’s not rating season for the tele, Parliament isn’t sitting and it’s just that bit too early to be outraged that Coles and Wollworths are selling hot cross buns. So what does ‘the media’ predictably turn it’s mind to just after the new years day hangover? That’s right – changing the date of Australia Day.

For the  uninitiated, Australia Day is the commemoration of Lieutenant Cook (as he was then known) colonising Australia in the name of the British crown. We celebrate this on January 26.  With a rag-tag bunch of ships, a handful of convicts and not enough food to last, they hooked a left at what we now call Port Botany, rowed ashore and popped up a flag.

Here’s where the problems start though.

Since that flag went up, for our original owners, it was the beginning of the end. The beginning of the end of traditional ways of life, land, customs, law. It was the beginning of European disease. Grog. Livestock. It was the beginning of harsh, harsh laws. Missions. It was the beginning of dispossession. Incarceration. White mans responsibilities without white mans rights. Stolen wages. Stolen children. Forced labour. The list goes on. And on.

Here’s what that British flag also brought (and most definitely not for our Aboriginal brothers and sisters for way too long). Participative democracy. The Westminster system. Voting rights. That British flag saw the birth of a nation that prides itself in being peaceful, tolerant and welcoming. That British flag brought with it amazing growth and development for this country.

200 years ago, there wasn’t much of this globe left to explore by England and Europe. Africa had been colonised by a kalidescope of European countries. America was well and truly established. Central and south americas were claimed by the Spanish and Portuguese. Asian countries hadn’t made any real territorial advances and the Middle East was still stuck, for want of a better term, in the dark ages. The Dutch and French sailed past the west coast of Australia decades before the British, but decided not to stop.

What I’m trying to say is, it was inevitable that ‘someone’ would colonise Australia. There was still a host of European countries looking to build empires and suck the wealth out of their newly invaded lands. Just turn your mind however on countries that were colonised by France, Belgium, Spain or Portugal. Look at the legacies that those countries have left, in terms of peace and stability. The Congo will be suffering for decades because of Belgium’s rule. Central and south America still struggle with unstable governments and corruption. Compare that with, for example, India, also taken over by the British. Look at the stable democracy, progress and development occurring there.

I’m the first to acknowledge the horrible, horrible things done to our first Australians. Things done with the worst intentions and even worse outcomes. Things done with the best intentions and bad outcomes. Horrible, unmentionable things. I understand that the notion of celebrating (for want of a better word) is offensive and upsetting to our first Australians, considering all the atrocities done to them.

I’m very aware that this could sound like ‘it could have been lots worse so shut up and be thankful that your genocide wasn’t even worse’. That’s absolutely not what I’m saying. What I am saying is British colonisation, on the whole, has brought so many positives. It’s been the nucleus that now magnitises people from all over the globe here. Because of British colonisation, we have a stable, orderly system of government. All we need is stable, orderly polititians to go with our great system 😉 . We have a robust bureaucracy. We all (now) have the vote. We can associate with whom we want, worship or not worship the God, gods or entities we want, or not want. We can wear what we want, generally say what we want, join an organisation, political party, religious group – even a line-dancing club, without the fear of persecution.

To change the date of Australia Day to me is focusing on the worst of British colonialisation. The absolute worst. It focuses on pain – terrible, very real pain, but it ignores all the fruit that has come not from the circumstances, but the system colonialisation brought.

If we start changing dates because it represents hurt (and real hurt, pain and terror was the result of British colonialisation), we forget the rich blessings that this same system has brought for all Australians. If we start changing dates because of hurt or offence, one of two things will happen:
1. We forget who we are. Australia day can both be a celebration, a remembrance, a time for saying sorry and a time for forgiveness. It’s a key moment in Australian history. We will never find a date or say that both is significant and means something without running the risk of offending someone
2. We open the door to changing other significant days to minimise hurt and pain. Anzac day, for example, is a day dear to our hearts but for many Australians of Middle Eastern background, represents a time of the end of the last Caliph, the Ottoman Empire. Easter is the most important celebration and time of rememberance to Christians. Australia is no longer a Christian country, and I can only imagine the hurt that Easter causes to our Jewish brothers and sisters when they are called ‘Christ killers’.

I want to again truly, and deeply acknowledge the pain and suffering British colonisation has done to our Aboriginal brothers and sisters. The terrible things done to them, and I do not want to minimise the pain inflicted on them by white mans policies. Like many others, I am deeply sorry for the things done to our first Australians, and look forward to a future where we walk together in improving the outcomes for all Australians. What I do not want though is to throw away a day of such significance, a day that has brought so much good to this land. A day that saw the dawning of a beautiful country becoming a great country.

 

 

 

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I’m proud of my privilege

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Danny was the odd kid out in class. He had ADD, he couldn’t play sport to save his life, his mother had recently shacked up with a new man. Being the eldest, he took up the mantle of looking out for his younger brothers.

Steve was an outsider. He was from a non-English speaking background, didn’t have his dad around growing up and both wrestled and accepted his mothers’ view on faith.

Grant changed schools a bit. By the time he finished school, he’d been to 5 schools across two states. Sure, he’d met some mates, some good mates, but never really felt popular.

I’ll tell you about Danny, Steve and Grant. They are all me. Let me turn the story around, and change the perspective:

I grew up in the confines of my parents loving marriage, that also produced my two amazing brothers. My dad went through a trial or two – he was laid off in the coal mines and managed to carve out a landscaping business to support his wife and boys. Sadly, he contracted cancer and was dead just after his 33rd birthday.

I started school at the local state school. My mother re-married a man who I am proud know, a man that supported us the best way he could (and did a solid job of it), a man who always followed the call of his very strong convictions, even when they were unpopular.

My parents (meaning my mum and step-dad) somehow managed to send me to one of the best schools in the district. I don’t know how they did it, but I know it would have been a sacrifice for them. It was there that I was diagnosed with ADD, and despite my best efforts, was never really one of the sporty boys. I can’t say why I moved schools after that, but I did, and was equally happy in all of them. I found a few good mates (the benefits of being an introvert), and some of them I am proud to still call mates decades later (geeze, I’m showing my age!).

Why do I tell you these stories?

I’ve noticed a creeping word in our lexicon. Privilege. You see it more in America, but it’s creeping up here.

Privilege. What is it? It’s a benefit you derive really by the luck of the draw of your birth.

Privilege. It’s also becoming an insult, a put down, a slur. It creeps into conversations as a shut down or shut out. For example, someone like me (who happens to be Anglo-Saxon, straight and Christian) can’t have an idea, opinion or suggestion on someone’s life or experience that is different to mine. For example, I can’t say ‘he got the job because he worked hard for it’ because that would mean I am privileged and supporting a system that uplifts men (and by implication, pushes down people who aren’t men).

This idea of privilege manifests itself in other ways. You may have heard examples of some teachers saying parents shouldn’t read to their children at night, because this is promoting privilege (because some children don’t get read to at night, and this reinforces an unfair system).

Essentially, the idea of ‘privilege’ gets used to say that all my success in life is because I was born into a system that fully supports me and will do whatever it can to ensure I succeed. It also says that people who are different than me (for example, minorities) are born into a system that actively discriminates against them, and will do whatever it can to keep them down.

It says I got the job, because I’m a white, straight man. It says I got the promotion for the same reason. It says I don’t get pulled up by the police because I don’t have coloured skin. It says I don’t get stopped at the airport for bag checks because I don’t look like a terrorist.

Some people use the phrase ‘you got that (whatever) because of your privilege’. For the people that say that, here’s what I think.

My privilege (and make no mistake, I’ve been privileged with plenty) isn’t a ticket to an easy life. It’s a set of expectations. A set of expectations whose results yield rich dividends. A set of expectations that is open to everyone. Everyone.

Expectations?

My privilege expects me to work. There’s no two ways about it. My privilege expects I get up every day, dress appropriately and work.

My privilege expects me to be present in my family. It expects me to be a husband and father who is loving, present, who leads with integrity.

My privilege expects me to look after my family. It expects me to work out problems in my family with my family. It expects me to make future plans, to discipline my children in love, to listen to my wife.

My privilege expects me to show my peers, colleagues and managers with respect. It expects me to respect the delegations and decisions my workplace entrusts to me. It expects me to be a good steward of the resources entrusted to me.

My privilege expects me to respect those who have delegated authority. It expects me to comply with lawful directions in a respectful and honest way. My privilege expects me to obey the road rules. It expects me to be a participative citizen, interested in my community, my state and my nation.

My privilege expects me to be respectful to my fellow citizens. It expects me to listen to differing points of view, ideologies, cultures and ideals, even when I find them offensive.

My privilege expects me to have consequences for not meeting my expectations. Very real, very tangible consequences.

I mentioned the story of Danny, Steve and Grant above. Danny, Steve and Grant could have all been victims of circumstances. Medicated, minorities, single-parent households, austere upbringings, but I’m not a victim.

I’ve been blessed with privilege, but I’ve been blessed with something much more onerous. Expectations. Expectations that I meet and don’t meet every day of my life. Expectations I put on myself, expectations others put on me.

From time to time, you’ll hear people saying you (or me) have gotten an easy life because of our privilege. You’ll hear this loud and clear with ‘victim’ groups who both act like all their problems are someone elses fault (read: yours) and they have no agency in changing their lives.

I’ve benefitted from my privilege, but here’s the rub. If I start failing in my expectations, that privilege is going to evaporate, and quickly. Stop turning put at my job? No amount of privilege will keep me employed. Tune out to my family? Eventually they’ll get the picture that I want to be elsewhere, and they will probably make the first move. Start breaking the road rules, or not complying with the various laws that govern my life? You can bet your bottom dollar that before too long, no amount of privilege will keep me on the right side of the law.

Privilege only works because the privileged keep on practicing self-discipline, and keep meeting the expectations they have for themselves – good expectations, but expectations never the less.

The next time someone accuses, or even casually mentions that you’re privileged, ask them what expectations they put on themselves to better their life. Ask what responsibilities they are taking on board – not who’s supporting them, not who’s keeping them down, but what disciplines they are putting in their life, then tell them to stop practicing privilege.

 

My son has started playing AFL

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My son has just started playing AFL. For the un-initiated, it’s Australian Football, and it’s a magnificent, athletic sport.

Many moons ago, I would regularly go and watch the Brisbane Lions, back when they used to do things like win matches and premierships. The seats we had were next to the ‘general admission’ area, where the visiting team supporters would often sit. A half-metre wide step would separate ‘us’ from ‘them’. Richmond supporters aside, there was always a healthy rivalry. We’d kick a goal, we’d cheer. They’d kick a goal, they’d cheer. The umpire blew his whistle, we’d all boo. After the game, there’d be good-natured ribbing from the winners to the losers. We’d pack our bags, furl our flags and make our way back to the bus.

Do you know what I loved about going to the football? No, it wasn’t the overpriced beer or the warmish hotdogs. It was, believe it or not, watching the football. Watching these young men band together, play together, and hopefully, win together. Brisbane had a collection of players from all over the nation, and from a stack of backgrounds. Queenslanders, Victorians, Western Australians. Whiteys, darkies and everything in between.

One thing I’ve noticed about sport, and Australian sport in general, is that once you put on the team colours, you’re not an individual anymore. You’re part of the team. The club. The family. Anyone who has been to a State of Origin match would know that feeling of donning the blue or maroon, and sitting in a stadium of 50000 likeminded punters. It’s a feeling that you’re part of something much, much bigger than yourself.

I mentioned at the start of this blog that my son has started playing AFL. Now, my particular branch of the Vidins family tree hasn’t been blessed with sporting prowess, so I really hope he gets some of his mother’s athletic ability. I’ll practice hand passes, kicks and catches with him, but I know my ability to teach him is limited.

I hope that as he learns this sport, he learns the physical aspects of the game. I hope he learns to run and hand pass and kick and catch. I hope he learns the field, his team and his coaches instruction.

I hope he learns teamwork, esprit de corps, winning graciously and losing with dignity. I hope he learns fair play, to keep his chin up when he makes a mistake and to be self controlled when the chips are down. I hope he learns that his team is only as strong as he is, and he is only as strong as his team. I hope he learns his strengths, and the strengths of his peers. I hope he learns that just because someone is faster, fitter or stronger than him, it doesn’t detract from his skills or talents. I hope he learns that just because he is faster, fitter or stronger than some of his peers, it doesn’t make him intrinsically better, or them less.

Here’s what I hope he doesn’t learn though. I hope he doesn’t learn that some people need special recognition because of an idea, a belief or a characteristic they hold, are or subscribe to. I hope he doesn’t learn that the different kid in the team needs to be treated differently because he likes boys, or his family pray to a different god, or his skin isn’t the same as the rest of the guys. I hope he sees the game of footy for what it is – a game, and enjoyable pastime, an opportunity to mix it up with the boys on an even field, where teamwork, dedication, skills, ability and hard work are rewarded and upheld.

You may know what I’m eluding to here. The AFL recently held a ‘pride game’ between Sydney and St Kilda. Players wore rainbow-inspired team colours, and umpires had rainbow inspired flags. The idea, from what I could see, was to make GLBTI people feel more welcome and included in the game.

Interestingly, and inversely, the ALF also have diversity traineeships, specifically for young Muslims to gain workplace skills in administration within the AFL. Side fact, did you know sodomy is illegal in every Islamic country, with most attaching the death penalty to such convictions?

My son has recently started playing AFL. I hope he learns to treat his team, and the individuals in his team, regardless of their background, ideals, identity or colour with respect and dignity. I hope he treats opposing teams with determination, tenacity and with pride, knowing he has executed an honest game plan, and with honest gameplay. I hope he learns to give everyone a go. To encourage his team mates to achieve their highest and to have the same high expectations across the team.

I hope my son learns that he can only control one person, and that’s himself. I hope he learns that he can be a positive influence on his team, that he plays his hardest, with honesty and integrity.

My son just started playing AFL. It could be worse. He could be playing soccer.

The Australian Churches ‘Places of Sanctuary’ totally misses the mark

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Dr Catt, ACRT (credit: ABC)

 

The Australian Government currently has a very strong policy to deter people seeking asylum in Australia. This policy has generated huge debate in Australia, both for and against it. Part of this policy is holding asylum seekers in camps in Nauru and Manus Island (part of Papua New Guinea). I can only imagine how hot, uncomfortable and basic these camps are.

 Over 250 asylum seekers have been brought from Nauru and Manus Islands to Australia for medical treatment. The Australian Government has mandated these asylum seekers be returned to Nauru or Manus Island on completion of their medical treatment. In response to this, there was a challenge put before the High Court, questioning the constitutional validity for the Australian Government to make laws allowing the return of the asylum seekers to Nauru or Manus Island. The High Court affirmed that these laws were constitutionally valid.

 In response to this, the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce (ACRT), an initiative of the National Council of Churches in Australia have offered to open up a number of churches and cathedrals as a ‘sanctuary’ for asylum seekers who are facing deportation back to Nauru. A press release from the ACRT asserts that the concept of ‘sanctuary’ is an ancient principle that goes back to the Old Testament.

 The concept of a city of refuge (or sanctuary, as the ACRT dubs it) is not a feel-good ancient principle. It is a very important, very significant part of Jewish law (also called the Torah). The Old Testament references to this can be found in Deuteronomy 4:41 and Numbers 35. This important law relates specifically to an individual who has unintentionally killed another. You see, the family of the killed could legally avenge the death, regardless if it was intentional or carelessly unintentional. The killer could go to a city of refuge and plead his case. If the elders or judges of that city find that the death was carelessly unintentional, then that person would be permitted to live in that city. They could only leave the city once the High Priest had died, and during their stay, they were obligated to learn, study and live the Law. There were serious obligations placed on the city of refuge, and serious obligations placed on the person who had sought refuge. For example, the city couldn’t hold the killer to ransom and demand a price from the family of the killed. The killer similarly would fall outside the protection of the city if they stepped outside the walls of the city. The legal principle of cities of refuge has many very significant implications both physically and spiritually for Jews, and Christians.

 History is littered with examples of churches and Christians defying unjust and inequitable laws. History is littered with examples of Christians rallying, protesting and petitioning against unjust and inequitable laws. History is littered with Christians speaking out against injustice. One only needs to look at the likes of William Wilberforce, the English MP who was instrumental in ending the slave trade in Britain. There were countless of Christians during WW2 in Europe who literally risked their lives hiding Jews from Hitler’s evil reach. Martin Luther King Junior was a fearless preacher who stood up against segregation and racism in America.

 Without a doubt, the ACRT, along with many fellow Australians, are showing kindness and compassion to asylum seekers. I know of a number of churches and Christians who go about their way quietly supporting newly arrived refugees, supporting them practically, helping with English and being welcoming, kind Australians. There’s no doubt in my mind that places like Manus and Nauru are horrible places at best. Can I understand the rational of the Australian government’s policies? Yes, I can. Is the outworking of these policies harsh? Yes, definitely.

 What I don’t understand is why the ACRT is taking a very important, very significant Biblical law that offers legal protection (and obligations) to a killer and truncating it to speak out against the policies of the Australian Government. To me, it’s a complete misrepresentation of the intent of that particular law. I don’t understand why the ACRT is wilfully misrepresenting Biblical law, especially when there are other precepts that relate specifically to ‘strangers’ or ‘aliens’ in the land .

 The ACRT have acknowledged that their campaign is against Australian law (which it is). Why doesn’t the ACRT simply say that they are choosing to be kind and compassionate (which they are doing) and elect to defy the law because they think the law is unjust? Why water down and trivialise a significant Biblical law and adapt it to a political cause (however good or proper the cause is?), especially when there are many other more appropriate and specific references that could be used?

 Groups like the ACRT play an important part in our democratic process. They play an important part in supporting refugees and asylum seekers. I just wonder why an inappropriate Biblical reference is used to justify breaking the law, when they should just simply breaking a law they believe is unjust and inequitable.

Nail your colours to the pole and fly them high

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My Pop often recalls a story of his younger years, when he joined the Air Force. Before enlisting, his Sunday School teacher gave him some sage advice. He told my Pop:

“Roy, nail your colours to the pole, and fly them high”

His Sunday School teacher was encouraging my Pop to stand fast to his faith, his morality, his beliefs. On the first night in training, surrounded by all his new mates, my Pop knelt by his bed, closed his eyes and prayed. To this day, he tells me he honestly can’t remember what he prayed for – he just prayed!

His daily prayers continued through training, his comrades got used to this routine and would respect my Pop for nailing his colours to the pole, and flying them high. In fact, one day one of his superiors was giving him a bit of stick for his faith and praying – to which his mates gathered around him and told the superior to back off!

“Nail your colours to the pole, and fly them high”.

Why do I tell this anecdote?

I read in todays local rag that our Council will be flying the Rainbow Flag on top of the City Council building. For the un-initiated, the Rainbow Flag is a calling point for Gay, Lesbian, Queer, Transexual, Bisexual (essentially, non-hetrosexual) people. This lobby have ‘pressured’ the Council to fly this flag on the Council building to mark International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. The story tells that our Lord Mayor resisted similar calls last year, but has relented this year.

I believe a city, a state and a nation should rally around the flag. It should be a unifying point. A rallying point.

Here me out – this blog isn’t against any particular sexual identity, it’s not a stand against tolerance or understanding. I’m not anti-inclusiveness.

Here in Australia, specifically New South Wales and Queensland, we have a ‘State of Origin’ football match. Traditionally, the losing state flies the winning states flag on either the Sydney Harbour Bridge or Story Bridge for a day after the final game. It’s a bit of fun, it shows friendly rivalry and lumps a heap of shame upon the losing team!

When an army invades territory, it plants a flag, indicating the territory has been overtaken. We are seeing this almost every day in the Middle East, with the evil empire ISIS stomping across that barren land.

When I see any group (a sexual identity, a religious group, a group of supposed victims) fly their flag on a Government building, the flag that is flying becomes a point of division, not a point of unity.

It tells me that, in this case, the Government is NOT nailing their own colours to the pole and they are NOT flying them high. It’s siding with a particular group, a particular cause, a particular people – not the whole electorate they have sworn to represent.

You might not ‘agree’ with the Flag. Our own Australian flag holds the insignia of the United Kingdom. Many terrible things have happened under our flag, but many great things have happened, too.

I don’t often agree with the decisions our government makes (from both sides of the spectrum), but I do believe in Australia. I believe in Queensland (the Promised Land!!). I love Brisbane. But I’m proud that our Government buildings fly their respective flags. You might scoff, but the Government is responsible for the decisions it makes under the flag. Are ‘designated victim groups’ responsible for Government decisions made in Government buildings? Not on your nelly!

This silly business of flying the Rainbow Flag on a Government Building does not promote a cause. It promotes a victim mentality and waves a flag of exclusiveness, not inclusiveness. A cause may be noble and good, but it’s no excuse to fly an alternative flag on a Government building.

It might start with a Rainbow Flag, but when will the next ‘designated victim group’ want to fly their flag on our Government buildings?

In Australia, we still have some free speech available. If you want to fly a Rainbow Flag (or an ISIS Flag, or a Swastika, or a foreign national flag), you’re free to do that on your own. Push your own barrel.

Don’t waste my Governments time on ‘symbolic’ gestures, wasting resources on your own cause.

I’m proud of my country, my state and my cities flag. That’s the only one I want flying on my Government buildings. I want it flying high, and I want it flying proud.

ELECTION SPECIAL: IF QUEENSLAND POLITICAL PARTIES WERE YOUR FAMILY

Tomorrow, Queensland will decide on what group of highly educated, motivated, unimpeachable people will govern our state. There’s the incumbent LNP, the Labor Party, the Greens, Clive Palmer Party, Katter Party and One Nation.

So for the un-imitated (or the pundit who follows Queensland politics closely!), here’s what each party would be, if Queensland politics was one big happy family:

LNP

The LNP is like that conservative, boring dad. The one that has a spreadsheet on what money is coming in and what is going out. He likes to say ‘no’ a lot, unless of course it’s on a project that he really really really wants to do. Then he can use the family credit card to fund the really really cool thing (like a train line to a mine). There was a time when dad believed in libertarianism and small government, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside.

ALP

The ALP is like that really nice grandmother that hates her son’s financial prudency, but wants everyone (except her son) to be happy. She likes everyone to feel included and will go into crazy amounts of debt to make everyone feel that way. She will let everyone mow her lawn and pay them all lots of money, all from her own credit card that someone else will have to pay off. She tries to be hip and progressive, but really just bends to public opinion like grass in the wind. Grandmother used to really care about workers, but gays getting married seem to make loud, angry people happy, and grandmother does not like yelling (except at her son).

The Greens.

The Greens are like your cool university student cousin that has enough information to be dangerous, but not enough to be useful. Like grandmother, the Greens want everyone (except guys like dad) to be included. The Greens REALLY REALLY want to be liked and have really hip looking websites. They have no idea on how to make money, as they have been living off the goodness of their parents for the last 35 years. Oh, the Greens used to believe in the environment, but i-phones made in sweatshops, air-conditioning, and modern comforts are much more important than real environmental values.

Clive Palmer Party.

I can’t say anything bad about Uncle Clive, because he sues everyone who hurts his feelings.

Katter Party.

The Katter Party is like that old uncle from the country. He likes things the way they are, and hats. He smells kinda funny and does not take well to ‘city-folk’. Uncle Bob is friends with Uncle Clive, but not too friendly. Like, not Kings Cross friendly, country friendly. Not Brokeback Mountain friendly, either. Just, mates. That’s all. No funny business here.

One Nation Party.

One Nation is like that Aunty that says the first thing on her mind, which is usually something both funny and racist (but mostly racist). She’s got a list of things she does not like, such as darkies, a-rabs, Orientals and homos. Everyone just laughs off the jokes, even though half the family agree with the crazy Aunty (but will never admit it in polite company).

So the question is, Queensland, what family member are you going to vote for tomorrow?

Image from http://static.fairfaxrural.com.au/multimedia/images/crop/450×0/2109385.jpg

Do we really want laws about media ownership?

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I read an interesting article in the Australian website Online Opinion entitled ‘Democracy and diversity: Media Ownership in Australia’. The author, an Australian school student Daniel Vadori essentially argued that Rupert Murdoch’s News Media should be curtailed, as he believed his news empire was both too big and had the power to sway elections.

My thoughts? The last time I checked, Australians had a democratic right to choose what news they chose to consume and chose not to consume. There’s no doubt that a few ‘big players’ dominate the Australian media – News Corp, Fairfax and of course our ABC. There’s a stack of smaller media players – from a simple twitter poster, to a local blogger, to other online news and opinion sources – Quadrant Online, Eureka Street, The Big Issue and The Guardian to name a few.

There’s no argument that we (for the most part) live in a capitalistic society. A newspaper proprietor (save for the ABC) has two responsibilities – to report the news and to turn a profit. They need to balance both. Report totally unbiased facts? Great journalism but will it turn a dollar? Report sensationalist headlines and shock opinions? Believe it or not, but the population laps it up. More people reading the paper = more advertising dollars. A big newspaper is one that reports what the people want to read.

As I’ve said before, if you try to regulate an opinion, you run the risk of driving it underground and making it more popular. The forbidden fruit is always sweeter! Don’t like someone’s editorial line? You have three options. You can:
a/ Not care and not buy that newspaper;
b/ Write a counter opinion and publish itl
c/ Buy another newspaper with opinions more favourable to your liking.

You might be able to regulate media ownership. Would you try to regulate a car industry, if Toyota was selling too many cars? What about the orange industry, if one farmer was selling too many oranges? Sure, the orange industry might not have dramatic implications to democracy, but the concepts are the same.

Do we really want the Government to be telling us what we can and can’t read? I certainly don’t! I get (and agree with) media ownership rules and would argue they are quite fine as they are. But to want more legislation and ‘tougher regulation’ because a media outlet is selling more newspapers? That’s anti-democratic.

Let Australians read what they want. Don’t like the idea? Challenge it – while you can.

This is not an endorsement for any news proprietor of any persuasion

Image from http://christopherwink.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/old-newspapers.jpg