Cartoon: By Zeg.
Greens leader, Bob Brown has called for the government to hold an inquiry into the media and the activities of Murdock’s News Ltd after the British, News of the World hacking scandal. Bob tends to be federal parliament’s Inquiry Caller in Chief. Mention a subject, and Bob will find a reason for a parliamentary inquiry to be held into it.
Brown isn’t worried about the fact that there are no allegations of impropriety by the companies Australian operations. This is no surprise as just over two years ago he was calling for tougher gun laws here because of a couple of shootings in the US and Germany. There is no explanation of why he felt that if we were allowed to have guns, we would immediately catch a plane and commit mass murders in Atlanta, and Hamburg.
Now that the Greens have the power to dictate the agenda of the government they have come under some fairly thorough scrutiny, and aspects of their policies that have previously had a pass are now seeing the light of day. After criticism of his party Bob now believes we need to lift out of the gutter some of the stuff that's appearing as opinion or news commentary in Australia.
Independent member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott was on TV last night supporting Brown in this. Rob has been complaining for a while about what he sees as News Limited targeting him. It has been noticed for some time, that in News Ltd publications he tends to come across as a complete imbecile, while in the hands of the more respectable media like the ABC and Fairfax he only appears to be a blithering idiot, or fatuous twit.
Gillard says that she is open to the idea of a review. It is reasonable to expect that anything that will distract the public from the abysmal record of her government will be welcome, especially if it can point to a new villain to be hated.
Of particular interest is that while the heat over here seems to be on Murdock and News, the Age, a Fairfax newspaper has been having a field day over the last week with daily headlines on the issue. The Age is in fact the only paper in this country with any current hacking allegations against it. It is understood that the AFP is considering whether to launch a formal investigation into The Age's conduct, after receiving a complaint from the Victorian branch of the Labor Party:
(THE editor-in-chief of The Age, Paul) Ramadge last night defended his paper's use of the ALP database, which catalogues personal details of all voters registered on the electoral roll. In some cases, it includes assessments of political leanings and correspondence they have had with the party. The Age accessed the database from its own computer terminals using an unauthorized password provided by an undisclosed source.
"This story came through entirely appropriate journalistic methods," Ramadge said.
"Entry to the ALP database came via a whistleblower who raised concerns about private information held on it. "This whistleblower had authorized access to this material and we reported in the public interest."