Facebook Google Menu Linkedin lock Pinterest Search Twitter



Oct 10, 2011

Blow-ups aplenty At Home With The Bolts

If the makers of At Home With Julia are looking for a sequel, then the last few days would provide plenty of illuminating material for a comedy called At Home With The Bolts.


If the makers of At Home With Julia are looking for a sequel, then the last few days would provide plenty of illuminating material for a comedy called At Home With The Bolts.

The first issue causing grief was the revelation by Anne Summers in The Monthly that Andrew Bolt was previously engaged to a former work colleague at The Age. The woman in question has even gone so far as to provide The Monthly with a statutory declaration and showed copies of letters from Bolt.

Bolt has quite clearly accused both her and Anne Summers of concocting this fact, but The Monthly’s editor Ben Naparstek told The Australian today: “I have seen letters from Andrew that he wrote to her saying that he was excited to be her fiancé.”

Oh dear. Either the mysterious fiancee is an elaborate hoaxer and document forger or Bolt is being loose with the truth.

The other point of tension in the Bolt household has been over what Bolt claims was a “despicable defamation” of his wife by The Monthly.

Jonathan Green, editor of The Drum, last week carried this extract from the 6700-word Summers profile on Aunty’s opinion and commentary site. The most contentious point related to the publication of some appallingly homophobic comments about David Marr on Bolt’s blog the morning after Marr famously turned his back and started reading the paper whilst Bolt launched into one of his many climate change rants on Insiders.

You only imagine the discussions inside the Bolt bunker in Malvern which led to Green first publishing and then later withdrawing the following two paragraphs, the first being from the Summers profile:

Marr accepted Bolt’s apology and his assurance he had not seen the posts. What Bolt did not disclose was that the person who was moderating the blog and past whom these comments had “snuck” was his wife, Sally Morrell. “It was an official arrangement for his wife to moderate his blog,” Phil Gardner, editor-in-chief of the Herald & Weekly Times, told me. That arrangement ended about a year ago, he said, and Bolt’s blog is now moderated in-house at the Herald Sun.

(Editor’s Note: Andrew Bolt in correspondence on Friday afternoon disputes this point. He says that Sally Morrell was one of several moderators of the blog and far from the most involved. Bolt insists that none of the posts reported here were moderated by her. Documents provided by him suggest that in fact she was not moderating the blog at the times in question and that the posts in question were published by either Bolt or another staffer. He says: “I did much of the moderating myself on those days and through sheer carelessness through pressure of work, I almost certainly let those through myself. Sally helped on the blog for just a couple of hours a day and did not work the particular shift on which those mistakes were made. I deeply regret my error and am horrified that Sally is now given the blame.”)

Whilst Bolt might have been mending fences with his wife, this line of defence clearly causes a major problem with Marr. After all, how can Bolt simultaneously admit to Green that he let those comments through, when he denied it directly to Marr and his Herald Sun editor, Simon Pristel, at the time.

Marr today made the following comments to Crikey:

“In my view, those horrible posts were Andrew Bolt’s revenge after I made a fool of him on Insiders that morning. I don’t feel defamed by those posts but here is Andrew Bolt ridiculously hyper-ventilating when this is meant to be about my hurt feelings.

“I am absolutely on the side of accuracy in this saga and believe Andrew has got himself into all sorts of trouble because he lied to his employer and he lied to me about who let through those posts.

“Bolt simply cannot maintain three separate truths on this matter. Was it him? Was it his wife? Or was it this mystery other party who is “so decent” they cannot be named?

“He needs to address the error. He admitted to Jonathan Green that it was probably him, so why did he deny it to me and his editor, Simon Pristel, at the time?”

Meanwhile, the rest of Bolt’s world is also under pressure. Mark Day has today predicted that his six-figure MTR gig is about to end because Gina Rinehart and John Singleton have not been able to get a bid together to buy any of Fairfax’s radio assets.

The Bolt Report also produced woeful ratings yesterday and the prospect that News Corp will fund an expensive appeal against the Federal Court judgment is looking less likely by the day, especially now that the original columns are carrying the following in bold:

“The below article was the subject of a decision of the Federal Court on 28 September 2011 that it contravened section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth). To view a full copy of the Federal Court decision please access the following link: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCA/2011/1103.html.”

News Ltd can’t even get its facts right on this. The Australian’s Media section editor Stephen Brook today claimed “the Herald Sun has until Wednesday to decide if it will appeal”. Truth be known, they have 21 days to appeal after orders are made, but orders are not yet made although some lively revelations are expected in court over the coming days.

Facts are important in journalism and for all Bolt’s fury, Summers and The Monthly are not making any concessions on the accuracy of what they’ve published.

The same can’t be said for what Marr says about Bolt’s approach to telling the truth. As for Morrell’s attitude, one can only imagine.



We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola


Leave a comment

57 thoughts on “Blow-ups aplenty At Home With The Bolts

  1. Michael Harvey

    Is Andrew Bolt really Miles Barlow? I think we should be told.

  2. Bellistner

    Peak Andrew Bolt?

  3. Holden Back

    Viscousness or viciousness- oils ain’t oils, you know.

  4. Son of foro

    The Blotter can be accused of just about anything, as long as he stays in the public spotlight. Even calling himself a ‘monster’ as he did last week is ok, it gives him that warrior air that a strange section of the population are attracted to.

    What he cannot survive is what is happening now: the fact that he is a clown. His credibility is shot; the public record is full to overflowing of his contradictions and nonsense; the monster mask has slipped to reveal a clown mask.

    His time is up. Next!

  5. Stephen Mayne

    Well done to The Australian for responding promptly to this Crikey story and correcting the online version of today’s Bolt story as regards the timeline of any possible Federal Court appeal. See updated version here:

  6. LisaCrago

    What on earth are you trying to do here Stephen?

    We all know that wives and family of the media are off limits.
    Does the fact you are blinded by anti-Boltism excuse this?

    New rock bottom. Muck raking of the highest order.
    You once used to occupy yourself breaking cutting edge political stories leaked from the inside. Stories of substance that were news worthy of paying to read.

    They were the good old days.

  7. michael r james

    @MICHAEL Posted Monday, 10 October 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Your post is so Freudian it made me laugh when you finished off with a cliched gay slur. Who’s in or out of the closet then? Did we suffer at our private boarding school?

    As someone who stopped watching Insiders because of Bolt–especially his contemptible attempt, every appearance without fail, to shout his prepared partisan rant to get the last word–I am grateful for the likes of Marr and George Megalogenis who were exceptionally fearless at calling out Bolt and his attempt to make the facts fit his perverted philosophy/ideology. In the last year I watched, it was noticeable that several of the more articulate evidence-based commentators (including both of the above) had declined to appear if Bolt was on the panel. It was the only rational approach because it was pointless and a travesty for the ABC to allow the likes of Bolt an essentially unmoderated platform. Marr and Megalogenis are particularly valuable commentators because they are impeccably informed on their topics of interest and can argue cogently on the facts while thinking on their feet, something Bolt can never manage.

    As Hitchens says, What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

    This is exactly as the High Court determined. Most rational thinking people did not need the courts to tell them this. And it explains and justifies Marr’s turning his back on the man. After years of bullying abuse from Bolt it was the only dignified response.

    And incidentally both Marr and Megalogenis have an accomplished body of commentary and analysis spanning several decades. They have both published substantive books that remain reference points today, many Quarterly Reviews and endless in depth long-form analytical articles. Bolt publishes rabid shouty opinions (from your post, clearly he is your style guru) based on distorted facts. Just like his one book (Still not sorry) about his disavowal of The Apology, which was quickly pulped and now–such is the demand from his legion of supporters–has even disappeared from Amazon (last time I checked years ago it was at least listed as “unavailable”). But then literacy, numeracy and calm rational thinking are not strong points among his followers, are they Michael?

  8. Filth Dimension

    Well done to Crikey for keeping the pressure on.

  9. urbancynic

    More Bolt hating from Mr Mayne does Mayne no credit. Sadly, Mayne seems to think he has licence to be as offensive as he likes (and continues to be since starting Crikey last century) with impunity. He is little better than a tacky tabloid gossip monger. The fact remains, as it should, he has the freedom to become the ‘king of offence’ in expressing his views – but I fear his view of freedom of speech only applies to that speech which agrees with his view of the world.

  10. David Hand

    I don’t get this story at all. I know Bolt is a figure of hatred among the Crikey community but I am struggling to see any newsworthy public interest content here.
    So someone who remains anonymous claims to The Monthly she was engaged to Bolt. Yawn.
    Somone put homophobic comments on Bolt’s blog and they were removed. Yawn, Yawn.
    No one is sure who the moderator was who let them through. Yawn, yawn, yawn.
    Crikey commenters pile in with heartfelt posts about how much they hate Bolt. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  11. Venise Alstergren

    LISACRAGO: Yet it was alright for A Bolter to use his wife to edit/moderate his blogs? How unbiased is that? Joke. I’m sorry, but this just reinforces the perception of so many people that the Bolter is morally bankrupt. A man who sees no need to base his articles (?) on any factual basis but that anyone making it through to actually criticise him must have been a rare specimen indeed.

    You can’t have it both ways Lisa, keeping a hands off policy to spouses only works if the person concerned abides by the same rules.

  12. Rod Hagen

    Oh come on, Lisacrago!

    NOBODY is off limits as far as Bolt is concerned. That is why he has just been found guilty of an unlawful act in casting around false slurs about a number of Aboriginal people, together with their mothers, fathers, siblings, grandfathers, grandmothers and even great grand fathers and great grand mothers!

    Do you imagine a woman who works on Andrew Bolts blog is immune from far, far milder criticism than he dolls out regularly, simply because she is his wife?

  13. Kevin

    Since his last appearance on Insiders (last year?) I have neither watched, nor read,nor listened to Mr Bolt….


  14. B Russell


    You use the phrase ‘anti-Boltism’ like Stephen Mayne’s criticisms are unjustified. He explicitly states that it is unlikely that Bolt’s wife did allow those comments, and notes that that draws further questions about Bolt’s moderation.

    How is this muckraking? Further revelations about Bolt’s indiscretions – even if they aren’t the highest order of scandal – are perfectly valid for publishing. And due to his wife’s position as a moderator, if she indeed did allow homophobic and quite horrible comments through, then she is also complicit and liable for criticism.

    I must say though, this article carries a pretty distinct sense of schadenfreude.

  15. Justin

    @LisaCrago: If she’s working as part of his official media staff, she’s fair game. This isn’t a personal attack, this is direct commentary on what may or may not have been done in an official capacity.

  16. SusieQ

    But, Lisacrago, if The Blot claims his wife is editing/moderating the blog, then why is she not to be included in this? Are we saying Blot should not be held to account for anything? He does his best to hold everyone else to account, so why not?

  17. shepherdmarilyn

    Well heavens Lisa, the media didn’t mind destroying Therese Rein.

  18. Microseris

    @ Lisacrago. Muck racking re Dolt? You have to be joking. If he says his wife moderates the blog it is relevant. It all goes to his credibility. Not that he ever had any in my view and not that it matters to the News Ltd readers.

  19. Malcolm Street

    Lisacrago – the main point of the article is Nut’s differing and inconsistent stories about how the comments about Marr made it onto his blog. His wife is germane to this story as, even according to Bolt, she was at least one of several moderators of his blog, while Summers claims she was the moderator at the time the comments got through. Similarly his denial re. his ex-fiance vs her stat dec and documents doesn’t do much for his credibility either.

    Everyone – noted in the newsagent that the latest issue of The Australian Spectator has as its front page article “Death of Dissent”, re. Bolt getting his a*se handed to him in the RDA case, with Peter Coleman as one of the authors. The bloke’s still got some powerful friends…

    Mind you, if News Ltd doesn’t think it’s worth appealing the case he’s just lost a few where it counts.

  20. Peter Ormonde

    Something about living and dying by swords springs to mind …. or forked tongues.

  21. Malcolm Street

    Stephen Mayne – you left out the juiciest bits of the Oz story you linked to in your comment:

    “THE spat between Andrew Bolt and The Monthly intensified last night when the columnist took to his blog to claim the magazine had pulled its profile of him offline while the magazine said it had done no such thing.

    Bolt, Australia’s most read columnist, posted on his Herald Sun blog that the magazine had removed its unauthorised profile of him, written by Anne Summers, because of “a despicable defamation of my wife”. “Actually, I presume that was the reason for what it’s done, since the magazine removed not only that vile smear but the whole tawdry article with it,” he wrote.

    Summers’ piece contained several references to Sally Morrell, Bolt’s wife and former Herald Sun chief of staff.

    But editor of The Monthly Ben Naparstek countered last night that the article had not been removed. “Clearly Andrew Bolt mistook the fact that it went behind a paywall for the fact that we had taken it down. I was bemused by his post and will be responding to it this week.””

    The article goes on to note that Bolt says he will not be taking legal action.

    So is Bolt thick, “tired”, grandstanding, lying or desperate?

  22. Aphra

    Was Sally Morrell once Chief of Staff at the Herald Sun? Her role in this unpleasant saga is, I thought, being mentioned and examined because she’s a professional journalist who was officially involved with Bolt’s blog. As such, I would have thought that this rather goes beyond ‘muck-raking’.

  23. John Dawson

    But Lisacrago, Crikey thinks that by targeting Bolt’s home life it is making a fool of Bolt, just as Marr thinks that by reading the paper on Insiders while Bolt was talking he was making a fool of Bolt. Which demonstrates the level of their rhetoric and the mentality of the audience they are trying to appeal too. Marr’s juvenile rudeness was posted on the Quadrant website, because it wasn’t Bolt it made a fool of.


  24. Bob Hopeful

    We all know that wives and family of the media are off limits. Does the fact you are blinded by anti-Boltism excuse this?

    Sally Morrell was a News Limited chief-of-staff and regular Herald Sun columnist, and had entered into a contract or some form of outsourcing agreement so she could do stay-at-home moderation on Bolt’s blog. That makes her by extension a News Limited employee, so she can hardly be considered ‘off-limits’.

  25. LJG..............

    Is Bolt really a Monster?
    Or just choosing to identify as a monster now it’s become fashionable?
    I really hope he doesn’t start claiming any monster benefits.
    I’d hate to see real Dutch racists like Geert Wilders lose their benefits while Bolt starts nosing at the pigs trough of Right Wing Talk Fests whilst Staying at Plush Hotels. I mean Geert has worked hard for that gig while Bolt just did a few google searches. ..really..

  26. Bob Hopeful

    As follow up to that, I have occasionally bothered myself to comment on Bolt’s blog. I haven’t name-called or hurled mud when I’ve done so; I make polite and thoughtful responses and rebuttals. Of the dozen or so I’ve made, I think three, maybe four were published. I can think of no other reason they were binned, other than they expressed a different opinion or rebutted errors of fact or interpretation in Bolt’s posts.

    The idea of Bolt and/or Bolt’s wife hunkered over her PC at home, letting through tirades of abuse while pruning out reasonable points to the contrary, makes a mockery of his much-vaunted love of free speech. He loves it on his own terms, undoubtedly, but that’s about it.

  27. Jim Reiher

    I didn’t read the above article as particularly rubbishing his wife. I saw it as yet another (justified) criticism of Bolt himself and his little empire in his own lunchbox (or family). The comments are correct when they say: if Mrs Bolt is involved in the blog, then her work can be evaluated. of course it can.

  28. Mike M

    It seems that people like Bolt and Reinhardt are on some kind of journey of self destruction. If they really think that people are interested in what they have to say they are deluded. Their rantings are becoming increasingly peculiar.

  29. Kevin Herbert

    Who is Andrew Bolt?

  30. Filth Dimension

    Bolt [seems to think he has licence to be as offensive as he likes (and continues to be since starting ¨¨¨¨¨ last century) with impunity. He is little better than a tacky tabloid gossip monger. The fact remains, as it should, he has the freedom to become the ‘king of offence’ in expressing his views – but I fear his view of freedom of speech only applies to that speech which agrees with his view of the world.]

  31. AR

    LisaC & DavidH Rusty first blamed his wife, as an employee thus liable to criticism.
    Now that Blot has confirmed that HE let those comments through will you withdraw your puerile attempt at deflection/defense? “No one is sure who the moderator was who let them through.
    No, I thought not.

  32. pedro

    I used to work with Anne Summers. Good on her for exposing the O’Reilly connection. We don’t need that Tea Party/Rupert-the non-Australian newspaper/Fox News crap here. We are better than that and wide-eyed to it in the main, surely?

  33. Son of foro

    No, of course Bolt isn’t a monster, he just needs his supporters to think he’s being painted as one. It keeps him relevant, someone who’s fearlessly reporting the facts.

    Unfortunately for him, he’s no such thing. He’s an irrelevant clown, and it’s all on the public record.

  34. Justin

    @Bob Hopeful: If your factual comments were let through, how could Bolt continue to live inside his glass house, built carefuly to avoid any foundation on facts he hasn’t chosen to believe in?

  35. LisaCrago

    Yes John Dawson, there seem to be no limits to just what Crikey will say or do to discredit Bolt.

    But to target his home life…. to attempt to make a mockery of him in the theme of At Home With Julia…..
    Come on, I know Mayne is more talented than this. Or is he working to a brief?

    Who cares if Bolt was”Was previously engaged to a former work colleague at The Age.” OR NOT? It is just a low brow tactic and not news.

    What next… The Children?

    Just because Bolts standards are low in some eyes does not make getting down in the gutter with him OK.

    And the spite from many posters here is blatent Anti-Boltism.
    You can’t shoot the messenger just because you don’t like the message.

    I do not know, like or love Bolty, in fact some of the delievery of his opinions gets my hackles up. But in a western democracy with a free press we have to accept that others are entitled to have and publish their opinions.

    Do all the Bolt haters here really think that only THE LEFT should have a voice in the media.

    Personal attacks, like “the mysterious fiancee” are out of order …. what next…. The Children!

    From Bolts TV ratings to his blogg, this piece is just mud slinging with little to no substance. David Marr is behaving like a popularist twat as it is very fashionable to go after Bolty.

    Keep on trucking Bolty.
    Keep on mucking Crickey.

  36. Filth Dimension

    No Lisa the “left” don’t think they should have the only voice in the media. For the umpteenth time – Bolt is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.

  37. LisaCrago

    Filth Dimension

    there are already ample laws to prevent slander and defamation as most in the media know

    You can actually publish what ever rubbish you like as a “fact” there is nothing illegal in that unless it breaches the laws above. Opinion writers mostly cherry pick “facts” to back up their opinion. THEY ALL DO IT.

    in this story I struggle to see any relevance a Marr Bolt spat re blogg posts has in regard to FACTS as you say. It is not the quality journalism I expect from Crikey’s Mayne. Maybe a slow news week? Hardly with what is going on in politics atm.

  38. klewso

    “Monster”? “Do I detect the smell of burning martyr?”

  39. SBH

    Can I say that Lisacrago has something of a point. The dots between how much one could reasonably expect to know if your wife is helping you at work are not well connected in this article. Therefore it seems sailing close to the wind to accuse Bolt of dishonesty just because his wife works at the same place.

    As for tactics I don’t see that Bolt should be given any less fair treatment, nor his human rights respected less because our opinion of him is low.

  40. SBH

    reasonably expect to know (in this case, what comments are being posted) if your wife

    works a bit better

  41. John Dawson

    The more you guys muck rake and try to obscure the critical issue involved in the Bolt conviction by trying to make it about the (few minor inconsequential) errors in Bolts articles the less relevant you become. Bolt’s crime was not erroneous journalism; it was hurting someone’s feelings. It wasn’t a defamation judgement; it was a judgement under 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act that he caused race-related offence to a group of pale-skinned Aborigines. The errors came into it only to supplement Bromberg’s secondary judgment that the “tone” of Bolt’s article denied him the (section 18D) excuse of acting in “good faith”. An excuse, no doubt, reserved for those of the same race as the ones offended, and for academics.

    Ironically its the Racial Discrimination Act that’s racist, it divides us into multi cultures that can’t talk to each other out of fear of offending each others feelings. It is divisive and it violates our right to freedom of speech. It must be repealed.


  42. Ruprecht

    I love it, out of his own keyboard comes the admission of “sheer carelessness”.

    Sheer carelessness seems to be his glowing red weak spot. Keep hitting it until he goes down!

    It’s also funny seeing him tie himself in knots over relatively simple issues … if he’s this fuzzy on something as easy as who moderates his blog, how can we trust him on the complex stuff, like, say climate science?

  43. sharman

    Australians can put up with commentators having wacky views or being eccentric but Bolt has alienated people because in addition to being untrue, his articles demonstrate a bitterness against anyone who is well qualified and has achieved anything.

  44. joe2

    [The idea of Bolt and/or Bolt’s wife hunkered over her PC at home, letting through tirades of abuse while pruning out reasonable points to the contrary, makes a mockery of his much-vaunted love of free speech.]

    Of course this is not uncommon in the company. On the one hand they are all for allowing the best argument to win the debate of the day and ‘freedom of speech’. While carefully shafting opinions they do not approve of, by hitting the dump button.

    Megaphone ‘on’ when they want a say and pulled away when anyone else wants to use it.

  45. CliffG

    Having been out of the country for five weeks how wonderful to return to a little common sense and clarity. Bolt’s reign is under threat and Alan Jones won’t be far behind. Something quite miraculous for this nation has occurred, it would seem. People have actually begun to think for themselves instead of sitting back and yawning while allowing themselves to be traduced by “pundits” and “shock jocks” or worse, tv commercials paid for by the ueberwealthy. It’s quite a reverse culture shock.
    What a difference a decent Federal Court Judgement can make. And what a pile of propagandist manure poses as journalism in this country!

  46. SBH

    John Dawson, Could you point me to where our ‘right’ to freedom of speech resides?

  47. Fran Barlow

    Perhaps Blot assumes that climate scientists are as a careless with their claims as he is and he can therefore get away with misrepresenting them. Or amybe he just doesn’t care because the people who read his tosh are only looking to confirm their unfounded prejudices anyway.

  48. monkeywrench

    Interesting that there seems to be some defence of Bolt postulated because his family seems to be involved. Bolt lost his court case in part due to his errors in describing the family relationship of one of the plaintiffs. It seems Lisacrago is happy enough with some “facts” even when those facts are (a)proven incorrect, and (b) immensely hurtful to the victim when they are published as correct.
    Something about glass houses and stones springs to mind here…

  49. Stiofan

    @Pedro: ” We don’t need that Tea Party/Rupert-the non-Australian newspaper/Fox News crap here.”

    Scratch a leftie and, more often than not, you’ll find a xenophobe.

  50. Johnfromplanetearth

    I haven’t laughed so much since i last watched Duck Soup. This is so pathetic, so blatantly desperate in an attempt to dis credit Bolt that you just have to roll around on the floor laughing. I have a similar reaction when ever David Marr opens his trap, he really is hysterical. The left are clutching at straws with this sort of nonsense, nobody is really going to fall for it, on the contrary in fact.

  51. puddleduck

    Hmmm, to summarise: Andrew Bolt has been caught out changing his story, possibly to suit himself. People moderate his blog, including his wife. Unpleasant comments about David Marr were let through – not clear which moderator/s let them through. Andrew Bolt seems willing to make assertions based on little or no information. People either love him or hate him.

    What interests me (though that may be putting it too strongly) is why a person is willing to say awful things about others, just to make money and raise a profile. It sounds as if Mr Bolt makes significant amounts of money saying (and being) outrageous. He’s not the only one, obviously. But does he really believe this stuff? Does that make any difference.

    He at least seems willing to say whatever it takes to cover his a%&*, make himself money, and to have double standards.

    I suppose we can’t competely ignore him – tempting though it may be to do so – because then his sloppiness and offensiveness goes unchallenged.

    Sigh. And people are starving in Africa.

  52. Bob Hopeful

    Just because Bolts standards are low in some eyes does not make getting down in the gutter with him OK.

    @lisacrago “Low in some eyes”? That’s evasive and non-committal. Either you approve of or condone Bolt’s methodology of digging into people’s private lives, then making assumptions about their motives – or you disapprove of it. And if it’s the former, you can hardly complain about The Monthly or Stephen Mayne’s piece. Both go to the heart of who Bolt is, what drives him and how he chooses to present himself. He should be subject to the same scrutiny he thought appropriate to dish out to Behrendt, Clark, Atkinson and company (only with more rigorous research and better fact-checking than he could manage.)

  53. Sancho


    “This is so pathetic, so blatantly desperate in an attempt to dis credit Bolt that you just have to roll around on the floor laughing.”

    Then you’ll have no trouble at all pointing out the errors in Mayne’s article.

    Go ahead. This should be good.

  54. John Dawson

    SBS asks where our ‘right’ to freedom of speech resides?

    A few decades ago not even you lefties would have asked such a question, in fact you would have quoted Voltaire and posed as champions of free speech. Just a few years ago Clive Hamilton published his book with its blood colored cover in which the usual suspects wailed about the Howard government “Silencing Dissent” by fiendish means such as giving too many radio interviews and too few press conferences and electing two conservatives to the board of the ABC. Then Howard lost the 2007 election and the time for free speech was over.

    Hamilton demanded that the ABC “just shut up” about the existence of climate skeptics, the usual suspects demanded that The Australian fall in line with the voters by refraining from airing right-wing views, then they promoted a government enquiry into the news media (exempting the only media it has any business enquiring into, the ABC) and the licensing of journalists , and now your frothing with glee at the sight of Bolt being silenced and heralding a brave new world in which only the politically correct will be immune from committing “speech-crime” – for now, without freedom of speech no other freedoms can be defended.

    Where does our right to freedom of speech resides? In our right to liberty. Where does our right to liberty reside? In our right to life.


  55. SBH

    It’s SBH comrade, not SBS, that’s a TV station, though reading your blog makes it apparent that details aren’t your strong point. Asking a question is not proposing a position one way or another.

    It is a fact isn’t it that Australians have no right to free speech beyond that granted by the pleasure of the Crown. It’s a fact, isn’t it that speech in Australia is constrained by numerous laws?

    In fact Australians have very few rights. In general, we are protected by being a wealthy country with minimal external threats but any time a government gets it in mind to remove ‘rights’ we may think we have they can do it. A case in point being the ‘right’ to strike. Striking has been illegal for 80% of Australia’s history but it’s now a ‘right’ under the Fair Work Act. Should the Federal Government decide to, it could abridge or remove this right. Another is the Victoria charter which the Baillieu Government could repeal with ease if it wished. Rights so fragile don’t seem much like rights to me.

    By all means agitate for change. Personally I’d like to see things like a right to free speech and a right to organise but until we enshrine rights in a constitution or some other place beyond the reach of government whim, we have few rights and childish maxims like your last couple of lines don’t change that.

  56. John Dawson

    My apologies SBH

    A distinction has to be made between legitimate rights endowed by nature at birth and illegitimate “rights” enshrined in law by governments that violate those legitimate rights.

    “The rights of man” as they were known during the enlightenment are endowed by nature (or “the creator” if you’re religious) and they are inalienable, although they can obviously be violated. The legitimate role of the government is to protect our legitimate right to pursue our lives in liberty (provided we don’t violate the right of others to do the same). This includes the liberty to speak ones mind.

    I don’t know where our right to free speech resides in the constitution but if it’s not there it should be, and it should delegitimise the Racial Discrimination Act because there can be no right to violate a right. Everyone has a right to avoid reading offensive words, but no one has any legitimate right to stop them being published.

    Again I apologise for taking you the wrong way SBH.

  57. Venise Alstergren

    JOHN DAWSON: An eloquent and elegant post-if I may say so.

Leave a comment


Telling you what the others don't. FREE for 21 days.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.