Flat White

Since when was Sydney in the Adelaide Hills?

13 June 2018

5:50 PM

13 June 2018

5:50 PM

Georgina Downer is not everyone’s cup of tea. Even some usually conservative types aren’t sure if the folk of the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu region want to be ruled by a dynasty.

But she’s an endorsed candidate, with a by-election to win at the end of next month. A Liberal candidate. Which means the strictly objective ABC has to do its darnedest to bring her down.

It made a bold effort this afternoon, with a piece suggesting Downer was trying to silence public debate by shutting her Twitter account.

It was plain vanilla enough at first:

South Australian Liberal candidate Georgina Downer — who is vying for the seat of Mayo in the upcoming by-election — has deleted her Twitter account, blaming “trolls” using “unacceptable language”…

Downer said she made the decision to delete her Twitter account after some users started directing “insults” and bad language at her.

“I am no longer active on Twitter because quite frankly Twitter is not the best place where we as political candidates find it’s best to engage with our communities,” she said.

“I use Facebook as my medium for engagement with people in Mayo.

“Where there are comments that are unacceptable or trolls… then we don’t think they are fruitful for political debates and commentary.”

But then — this being an ABC report — the tone of the piece suddenly changed.

First, there was the sinister subhead:

Not trying to stop debate: Downer

And then the fun really began:

Ms Downer denied she was trying to shut down debate, in the lead up to the July 28 by-election.

“I would not seek to shut down those debates in the public sphere,” she said.

“On my Facebook page, we have protocols in place that encourage polite debate and frank debate.

“Where those limits are exceeded and language that is unacceptable… and goes to insults… there’s no place for it on our particular Facebook page.”

However, multiple Twitter users have openly complained that when they have commented or asked questions on Georgina Downer’s social media accounts, they had their feedback deleted and were blocked from commenting further.

Professor Tim Stephens wrote: “My question to Ms Downer on FB re climate change lasted five minutes before being deleted. Odd and undemocratic behaviour for a candidate seeking election to the Australian Parliament.”

The ABC was kind enough to reproduce Stephens’ Tweet:

At the bottom of it was the address Sydney, Australia.

Below is a map of the electorate of Mayo, nicked from the Australian Electoral Commission website:

It’s pretty basic, but the eagle-eyed among you might note that Sydney, New South Wales, does not appear to be in the seat. The high-res version tells a similar story.

The story was illustrated with a second Tweet, from a Simon Holmes a Court:

Unlike Stephens, Holmes a Court’s Twitter doesn’t say where he’s from. The Guardian Australia, however, informs us:

Simon Holmes à Court is senior advisor to the Energy Transition Hub at Melbourne University and sits on the advisory board of the Melbourne Energy Institute. He has been a pioneering force in the Australian community power movement, as the founding chair of Hepburn Wind, the country’s first community owned wind farm, and founder of Embark Australia, a non-profit consultancy helping communities share in the benefits of local renewable energy.

Check the maps above and, no, Melbourne doesn’t appear to be in Mayo either.

So, let’s just get this all straight. Georgina Downer is a candidate in a by-election in a peri-urban SA seat — a candidate, not a sitting member recontesting or anything like that.

Two interstate activists have thrown strops because she’s failed to indulge their cause-whoring as, presumably, she’s more interested in the people that she hopes to represent.

That, however, is good enough for the ABC to run a story that insinuates Downer is scared of debate.

Good enough — even though the story is three weeks old.

That’s right. Three weeks old. Have a look at the dates on the Tweets,  May 27. Today — the day the story has been published — is June 13.

But what’s three weeks between friends? Friends, or haters of anyone like Downer who deviates from the green-left orthodoxy — the orthodoxy of the ABC.

The national broadcaster is prepared to confect a story out of next to nothing, a three-week-old story, just to damage its enemies.

And yet the ABC still insists that it’s impartial.

Main illustration: Georgina Downer/Facebook.

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