Greens believe in dissent? Weren’t they the people who protested against the
visits by Dubya and Hu Jintao to Parliament House back in 2003? Or should
we take Ben Oquist’s spray against ABC Radio National presenter Michael Duffy in
Crikey yesterday to mean that the Greens only support free speech when they
agree with what’s being said?

“Go back
to the drawing board, Aunty,” Duffy wrote in his SMH column on Saturday. He had some pretty good points, particularly on ABC TV:

Obsession with bias has concealed a far more
serious problem… As far as quality is concerned, the ABC has let down its
audience… The ABC is the most important broadcaster for the educated middle
class around Australia, many of whom listen to and watch
little else. For decades they were well served by this arrangement, because the
ABC was well funded to produce Australian content and drew plentifully on the
BBC, in what were the golden years of British television. But for a long time
now, the most successfully innovative programs have come from American
commercial television, while reduced ABC budgets have brought most local
program-making to a halt. Neither development shows any sign of changing. The
audience has stuck with the ABC for various reasons, but much of what it sees
now is dross… ABC viewers now watch some of the worst television in Australia. Once upon a time the commercial
networks would steal programs from the ABC. Now, as we see with the
announcement about The West Wing, it is reduced to taking the commercials’

Saying that’s a firing offence, according to Oquist. The Counterpoint host should apparently go.

It makes you wonder why the Greens protested against the Chinese
premier. They seem to share a lot in common when it comes to dissent.

Christian Kerr has made two unpaid appearances on Counterpoint.