Speech is Not Free

no free speech australia

I don’t usually participate in bandwagons.  I try not to get caught up in the hype and instead like to sit back, wait for all of the facts and make an informed decision.  This doesn’t make me a coward, contrary to others opinions, it means that I want to make sure I know answers to questions that I will no doubt encounter.  I do not want to go off half cocked, only to end up with egg on my face when all of the facts are uncovered.  It’s called thinking with wise mind, instead of emotional mind.

One thing about the whole Julia Gillard debacle that makes me shake my head is the notion that Sattler was simply exercising his ‘right’ to free speech.  In the legal sense, Australia has no freedom of speech.  While we won’t face execution for the things we say, it is a very real possibility that we could face prosecution.  Australia has some of the toughest defamation laws in the developed world.  Everything you say, can be used against you.

According to The News Manual

“To defame someone, you do not have to make up false things yourself. You might defame a person by repeating or replaying words spoken by someone else, for example an interviewee. It is no defence to claim that you were only quoting someone else. If you print or broadcast something defamatory, you could be taken to court, along with your producer, your editor or station manager and the person who said the words in the first place.”

This effectively means that if Julia Gillard sees fit, she could bring legal action against Howard Sattler.  He is not to be patted on the back for ‘asking the real questions’, he placed his station and himself in real danger of legal repercussions.

We are lucky that we live in a country that allows us to express distrust and disgust with our government with lethal consequences.  I don’t care if the PM is black, white or pink with purple polka dots.  She can get married, stay single or decide she wants to be a lesbian for all I care.  Her partner could be gay, straight or bi, hell he could be into bondage and walk around in a leather body suit and I still don’t think it’s relevant.  The whole government could dance around in their underwear for all the world to see and I wouldn’t give a damn.  Let’s focus on what matters, the policies and what these politicians are doing for our children’s future.

14 thoughts on “Speech is Not Free

  1. Sandra

    Sadly, it seems at times, the only thing our politicians are doing for our children’s future is showing them how to undermine each other. It is not only Sattler who has spoken out inappropriately but the politicians themselves spend far too much time trying to make each other look bad. Our PM included. Get back to running the country I say.

    Reply
    1. Musings of the Misguided Post author

      Agreed. The fighting is ridiculous and it’s so hard to determine what it is exactly they plan on bringing to the plate if elected.

      Reply
    1. Musings of the Misguided Post author

      I get all of my news from twitter so that is the only reason I knew about it. Hate watching the news, way too depressing for my liking.

      Reply
  2. Katrina

    Great post Tegan.
    I am so embarrassed at the way so many our country treat our Prime Minister. It reflects so badly on us. We must look like a bunch of feral bogans to the rest of the world. I cringe for Juila. Sure, I don’t agree with how she got in. In an ideal world I would have liked Rudd to do a few terms then have her take over in an honourable fashion, in an agreement with Rudd. Not only has she not been given a chance with the constant bickering and backstabbing in her own party, but she has been subject to abuse and ridicule like no other leader in our history. It’s embarrassing. No matter where your political allegiance lies, you should show common decency and respect. Even children are throwing sandwiches! What a disgrace. I’m mortified.
    I hate the current state of politics. I wish more of them were concerned with the state of our nation than with political backstabbing and job stealing. I tell you, I wouldn’t be a politician for all the money in the world!
    End rant 🙂

    Reply
    1. Musings of the Misguided Post author

      Agree with everything you said. As I have said to my partner, fair enough people don’t like her, but attack her policies not her person. It’s ridiculous the personal attacks she is receiving and it’s not just because she is a woman in power as a lot of people would have you believe. Anna Bligh and Quentin Bryce did not and have not received the treatment that Julia Gillard has.

      Reply
  3. Rachel

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s so frustrating trying to cut through all the crap to actually find out what either party’s policies are on the important issues. You have to wonder whether the pollies like the whole media circus because it means they never have to fully account for their stance on anything – the media can distract the population with endless shite about cleavage etc.

    Reply
    1. Musings of the Misguided Post author

      It’s quite possible. Politics is just ridiculous at the moment and every day there is another bullshit story about something that has absolutely nothing to do with policies

      Reply
  4. Jo

    Yes it’s tough for him as his job is as a “shock jock” and basically he has been sacked for doing what the radio station, in general, asks him to do. Shock. Although I don’t think his brash generalisation of hair dressers was fair.

    Reply
    1. Musings of the Misguided Post author

      True but I think it could have been better timed with the whole Menugate. It was stupid of him to go further with the issue when things were so heated already.

      Reply
  5. Jen B Hale

    Brilliant post Tegan! You have said it so well. We preach freedom of speech but seem to take it away when we don’t like what someone says. Where is resilience? Is that lost as well? Quite possibly, this is all about respect and while Howard was speaking freely, it was taken as disrespectful to Julia. You can’t win!

    Reply
    1. Musings of the Misguided Post author

      I think it does come down to respect as well. As much as people don’t like Julia Gillard, that still doesn’t excuse the horrible things that journalists and politicians have said about her.

      Reply
  6. Larry Pelch

    Please excuse the belated reaction to this event, but I am an American and we do not normally care about what happens it the rest of the world. This catches my eye for a couple of reasons.
    First, I notice that Australian journalism is even more overt in it’s insidiousness than ours. The very notion that a moderator, who by definition should be a neutral conduit for the news can be so slanted in his questions, is sadly typical. But the inference that the sexuality of the PM’s partner could be entertaining to his listeners is a slap in the face to the general public, as much as hers.
    Secondly, I notice that right and wrong have a way of rising above free speech doctrine, regardless of the courts decisions. His firing was just. He’s a bad journalist.

    Reply

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