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Crikey Says

Mar 6, 2014

Crikey says: let them tweet, Tony

Royal visits don't come cheap: Crikey adds up the cost of Will and Kate. Ahead of the SA election, who's pulling the political strings? The boats at the centre of an asylum seeker storm (plus Helen Razer's take). Following the preference flows in WA. China's new regime -- one year on. And the health lobby hits back against Bernard Keane.

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From a federal government as transparent as a dirty window comes a new low: now they want to silence the tweets …

As Labor MP Ed Husic revealed on Twitter, the Standing Committee on Procedure — made up of four Liberals and three Labor MPs — is conducting an inquiry into the “use of electronic devices in the [House of Representatives] chamber”. The committee’s chairman, government backbencher Don Randall, wants to examine how MPs use mobiles and tablets and engage with social media. As he told The Australian:

“There’s been a quantum leap in the use of technology and how it applies to the chamber and members.”

A leap too far for Prime Minister Tony Abbott, clearly, who has already banned his own MPs from engaging in political commentary on Facebook and Twitter. Because you wouldn’t want to debate public policy on platforms where voters actually are …

A cross-chamber gag would only serve to entrench what voters already think: that the business of Parliament is isolated from the people it’s supposed to represent.

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14 thoughts on “Crikey says: let them tweet, Tony

  1. Do committee chairs get extra allowance? He could put that to paying back that “overdraft” on his allowance, that he claimed, for going to Cairns to look at his investment property?

  2. Dear Don Randall,

    Cliches are wondrous things. Often they convey exactly the opposite of the intended message.

    Such is the case with “quantum leap”. A quantum is the very smallest portion of something, hence such a leap is the smallest conceivable leap, ie pretty much no leap at all.

    Another example is “stakeholder” – which refers to a person who does not stand to win or to lose in a bet, thus is trusted by both sides to hold the stakes – but I digress.

  3. A quantum leap is one where there is no possibility of a smaller jump i.e. it cannot be done more gradually. So, in that sense, as a metaphor for a profound change it is a good one.

    Yours pedantically 🙂

  4. MattH – you may enjoy these, “a hard road to hoe”, “a damp squid”, “one foul swoop” often written as “one fowl swoop”.
    Not to mention words now in “common usage” with totally reversed meanings, “fulsome”, “meretricious”, and the most recent, officially recognised to have changed its meaning, “literally”.
    It has literally changed its meaning 360 degrees…

  5. AR, was that 360 degrees or 180? Complete rotation or just a reversal?

    Maybe those Don Watson books are still somewhere on my shelves… maybe behind the Style Manual.

  6. AR all of those abuses of the language annoy. What annoys most are people saying “you know what I mean so get over it”. I spent time and effort educating myself, why won’t they?

  7. I often say to such “the meaning’s obvious” types that the universality of language is a means to exchange ideas – imagine if it were money and the bloke next door reckoned that a beer cost $1 and his neighbour was of the opinion it cost $10. Where do you go from there?
    I have grown weary of, first trying to figure out what some sub-literate journo. thought that they meant, as distinct from what had actually been written.
    Parsing doesn’t help if it is crap from start to finish.
    Apostrophes seem to be a lost cause these days but I am even more worried now by the almost total absence of relative pronouns linking sub clauses.