Cartoon: By Pickering, 1975. For younger and overseas readers, the subject here is former PM Gough Whitlam, (1972-75) who was until the middle of last year, Australia’s most inept Prime Minister.
It is difficult to decide whether Greens leader, Bob Brown wants the media kept under a tight leash because they are putting him under scrutiny these days, or whether it is merely part of his wider left wing agenda. Bob is after all, one of the few lefties who has come out into the open and called for a world government. Bob is an opportunist who grabs every chance that arises to call for state control of everything, even wanting stronger gun control here because of overseas shootings.
At least he is consistent in this, in that his current campaign against the media uses the pretext of the British hacking scandal. It has since escalated:
GREENS leader Bob Brown has upped the ante in his calls for stronger state control of media, hinting at a licensing scheme for individual journalists.The only real surprise in this is that most dictatorial minded pricks tend to hide their most extreme agendas, however Brown is so determined to rid the nation of freedom of speech that he is arrogant enough to come right out with it. This guy is probably the greatest threat to liberty this nation has ever produced and he holds the balance of power in a desperate government.
Senator Brown has already called for licensing of newspapers, a move Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has refused to rule out. The Greens leader repeated his call at an Intelligence Squared event in Sydney on Saturday, which debated the proposition "that the media have no morals."
Under questioning from the audience, Senator Brown appeared to back away from a scheme of licensing newspapers in favour of a state-sanctioned practising licence for individual journalists that could be withdrawn. "It's time the crown licensed the press," Senator Brown said, before later calling for "some point of reference" to pull up both journalists and proprietors "who do the wrong thing in their tracks". Senator Brown's director of media, Marion Rae, refused to respond to calls from The Australian yesterday.
Debate participant Julian Burnside strongly rejected the debate proposition, saying as an absolute it was impossible to defend. The high-profile QC praised The Australian, singling out its reporting of the case of Mohamed Haneef, the Indian-born doctor arrested and detained without charge in 2007 on suspicion of aiding terrorism, for particular commendation.
The motion, originally supported by an audience vote ahead of the debate, was defeated.