As you know, The Spectator Australia Political Research Bureau scours the globe searching for new ways in which the democratic system can be improved. One that came to our notice recently was a great reform being implemented in the current election for the municipal government of Moscow. It effectively solves the age-old problem of having too many candidates, with the inevitable result that some very undesirable candidates may be elected. The solution adopted by the Muscovite authorities, no doubt under the baleful gaze of Putin the Great, was to require candidates to be supported by the signatures of those nominating them and then to declare that the signatures for certain candidates were forgeries. When some of the rejected candidates objected to this, they were promptly arrested, which really solved the problem. But many of the best reforms we have discovered have actually originated in Australia. For example, there was Chris Bowen’s offering during the recent federal election that ‘if you don’t like our policies, don’t vote for us’, advice that millions of voters clearly took. Then there was Anthony Albanese’s unique take on the role played by policies. When it looked as if the government’s three-stage tax cuts would be defeated, Albanese’s view was that they were toxic, worse than the seven plagues of Egypt, and no use to man or beast. However, when it became clear that the cuts would pass, no matter how his party voted, he announced that they were so good he would even vote for them. After centuries of stiff-necked rigidity it is refreshing to see that at least one political party has some flexibility when it comes to its policies.
Now, for those readers who do not bathe in the glory of living in Melbourne, we bring you news from the Athens of the South. Today, we can share the latest on the ongoing drama of the ABC breakfast program or, as we now call it, Radio Karachi. Last year in an act of amazing stupidity, even by the ABC’s standards, it sacked its long serving and much-loved host Red Symons, purportedly for making racist remarks. Of course, everything the ABC dislikes is racist and the real reason for Symons’ termination was that he did not fit into the new ABC pseudo-commercial zeitgeist. In his stead, they appointed a Pakistani, Sami Shah, who is allegedly a comedian, although no evidence of that accomplishment has yet been provided. Not that it stops him asking whether Australians are racists. Ratings have plummeted and the ABC has now set about improving that situation by plastering most of Melbourne with vast posters of a smiling Sami showing how he is so typically Melburnian. But things have now become desperate and the posters have been augmented by television advertisements to show what a real charmer is our Sami. In a campaign that must be costing millions, he cringe-makingly tells us how, every morning, he cleans his teeth in the shower and jumps into ‘pre-ironed clothes’. This is more than the luvvies can stand and they have all taken to writing letters to the Age asking what in the name of falafel are pre-ironed clothes and does the ABC think that people could iron their clothes after putting them on? In other words, Bring Back Red! My prediction is that one day soon, the ABC will announce that Sami has been such a great success that he wants to spend more time with his family.
Over the last week, I have been pondering a strange pre-occupation that seems to have gripped the country, the new campaign for free speech. The first thing that strikes me about it is that, although I can recall people arguing in The Spectator Australia for free speech for Andrew Bolt when he was being prosecuted, I cannot remember anyone in the vocal Left defending him. I also remember the repressive Left arguing that there are ‘limits’ to free speech and the Human Rights Commission trampling on the rights of the QUT students, intimidating Bill Leak and drumming up complaints of alleged racial discrimination. No, free speech was not an issue then, so far as the enlightened class was concerned. The second thing that intrigues me is the transparently false arguments being put in support of the new form of free speech that is being argued for. The argument is that the media and journalists should be free from any restraint on what they print and how they got their hands on it, even if national security is at stake. I have never heard such nonsense. We have still not faced up to the fact that the West is under an existential attack from those who want to destroy it and the society it underpins. We must secure our defences and one way to do this is to give our governments the power to suppress terrorism and breaches of security and to ward off potential threats. To do that, we need tough security laws and we need power to stamp out the evasion of those laws. Likewise, we cannot have real security if the media is allowed to take stolen intelligence material from defence agencies with impunity and publish it. The state has every right to find out who is doing that and to punish them, whether they are journalists or not, because the safety and security of the whole society is at stake.
Finally, a prediction I made a few weeks ago has unfortunately come true, but earlier than I thought it would. I predicted that the next big issue in Aboriginal affairs would be the payment of reparations for the indignity of their living under Western civilisation, the same campaign for reparations for blacks that is well under way in the US. Last week, right on cue, the notorious Jackie Trad, still smarting from Adani, committed Queensland to exactly that, as well as a treaty.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Subscribe – Try a month free