The sad decline in Bill Leak was evident to all but the willfully blind. Now the corrupt and gruesome exploitation of him in death will lead to all of his family and friends being reminded of his contributions to conflict between peoples of different colour and faith for the foreseeable future.
The people at the Murdoch press should be ashamed of themselves. Those at Sky are hardly any better. One of Bolt’s poodles, an otherwise affable man named Paul Murray, has swallowed the party line in whole, and hurtles to the periphery of any discussion at the speed of light, banging on about freedom and libertarians.
I think I was in Cambridge when that Four Corners story on Northern Territory black youth was aired. When I got back, I forced myself to watch it. It was utterly revolting. It reminded me of those poor GI’s who had to go into the death camps. These were crimes against humanity. Only dementia could stop you seeing that. Then I had to listen to ageing lawyers of a reactionary bent saying that this was an ABC beat-up! Then a senior prosecutor said that these kids had serious form. The wonder was that we had not turned them into serial killers.
Then The Australian published that Leak cartoon that would have warmed Goebbels’ heart. It is inconceivable that a quality newspaper such as The Times or The Wall Street Journal would have published such a frightful piece. Their inhibition would not have come from any law, but from simple human decency or courtesy, and a sense of professional responsibility.
Then our PM said the silliest thing he has ever said. ‘Bill Leak isn’t a racist. He’s Australian.’ That was a prize-winning, self-contradicting non sequitur.
But, worse, Turnbull’s fawning over Leak and others at The Australian points up the appallingly incestuous relations between some of our politicians and some of our press. They are supposed to be watching the bastards, not schmoozing with them. Well, at least as I understand it, the PM refuses to talk to people like Jones or Bolt.
And now the Prime Minister has caved in completely to Murdoch and his awful minions. These people are seeking to relax the law against racial discrimination. By ineluctable definition, they want the right or the freedom to insult and offend other people on the ground of their race. What sane or decent person wants to do that? What answer do they give me when I ask why I or any Muslim, Jew or blackfella should give up my legal rights against Rupert Murdoch when he sets out to hurt me – or a Muslim, Jew or blackfella – in a way that is dealt with by the law that these people want to do away with?
This issue means nothing at all to more than nine of ten Australians. It should mean nothing to government that has made such a mess of energy, house prices, and marriage equality. The only reason it does is because Turnbull keeps caving in to the troglodytes – who are willfully thick. This government – which must surely be punished by the electorate – ineffably misses the point by going backwards on every issue it confronts. It now abuses people in business for exercising their right of free speech to suggest that the government might govern by making a law to resolve one issue that they are holding back on – like the boy with his finger in the dyke. Could you believe it – a government actually governing? And now, it also wants to pump water back up hill – while the P M mouths inanities straight out of the Little Red Book of Mao Zedong.
This government is hopelessly out of date and it deserves to get a long sentence in opposition. And I say that as someone who believes that Bill Shorten is far, far worse than Turnbull – he stands for nothing at all. (For sheer insincerity, he is matched only by Hillary Clinton.) But at least I am assured by my local member that the Labor Party stands firm against this weakness on hate speech of the government.
While I’m on the ALP, they have serious form for colluding with the press against us, the people. The press knows its standing with the Australian people. Juries terrify them. So Murdoch and the others got all the state governments in 2004, all I think ALP, to take damages for defamation away from the jury and to cap them. All of the other changes to the law were pro press and against us.
And some of the bastards in the press have the gall still to complain about defamation laws. State Labor governments denied us a vital constitutional right – to sit on a jury in judgment for damages on the press and to allow the weak to stand up against the powerful. Now they want a federal Liberal government to help the powerful to run over the weak.
There are, as it seems to me, two classes of people in favour of the relaxation of laws on racism. (I put to one side those academics that have never set foot in a courtroom.) You have the ghastly paid commentariat who are an affront to humanity and who will, like Trump, say the first thing that comes into their heads just to gain attention and earn a dollar, and you have those poor brain-damaged recorded messengers from the IPA that may well believe their own nonsense, but who are crackers.
And for the umpteenth time, can they stop this lying about freedom of speech – or that code name for fascism, libertarianism? To say that laws against hate speech are laws against freedom of speech tells us an obvious and inconsequential truth. So do the laws against dueling and fraud; road traffic laws impede our freedom of movement; gun laws impair our freedom to shoot or to play a certain kind of sport. And so it goes. You don’t answer any questions about a law by saying that it affects our freedom. You merely raise the question. All laws affect freedom, and laws against certain forms of speech – such as laws about deceit, espionage, and libel – are precisely meant to curtail speech.
The refusal of the Murdoch press to publish this simple truth shows their dishonesty. It is worse than bullshit. It is fraud.
I implore people, especially lawyers, to condemn the Prime Minister and this government for their cowardice and their complicity in harming race relations in a country that already has a bad name for them, and to boycott all manifestations of the Murdoch press.
Yes, I recognise that this is a rant, but now and again a rant is the only thing that will do. If we have learned anything from history, it is that unless you take stand on some moral issues – and we are talking here of a moral issue – we are on the road to perdition. Hitler also ranted. The problem was that not enough Germans ranted back.
The master said, ‘The Gentleman gets through to what is up above; the small man gets through to what is down below.’