In 2011, Australia’s media megaphones have been louder than ever. Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Ray Hadley and Co have all had a say in how this country’s run — and caused plenty of controversy in the process. Here are their 10 most memorable moments …
10. Chris Smith helps co-ordinate an anti-carbon tax rally
2GB’s curly-haired king of second chances upped the ante on Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones by not only railing against Julia Gillard’s carbon tax but co-ordinating rallies to oppose it. Smith decided the time, date and place for the controversial March “No Carbon Tax” rally where some protesters waved s-xist signs such as “Juliar: Bob Browns [sic] bitch”.
“I’ve done nothing except support the right of people to protest,” Smith told The Power Index earlier this year. “I think it’s part of our role to do that.”
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9. Piers Akerman bags Rupert Murdoch’s Mum
News Limited’s rotund right-winger raised eyebrows across the nation in June when he said Rupert Murdoch’s 102-year old mother, Dame Elisabeth, was too old to speak out on climate change.
“I just think the very elderly, no matter how cogent they are, should not be out fronting campaigns,” Akerman opined on Insiders to the surprise of his fellow panellists. “I’m saying that she’s been used.”
8. Ray Hadley flays Tim Flannery
The spittle was flying at 2GB studios last month when Ray Hadley launched an extraordinary spray against Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery. The stoush started when Flannery, writing in Quarterly Essay, accused Hadley of setting up a call with a neighbour about his waterside property. Hadley got the caller, David, back on his show to insist he’d never met the radio host and had called the program himself.
“Is there nothing you won’t do to try and discredit your opponents?” Hadley fumed at Flannery. “You low bastard. You low bastard. Fair dinkum. When we go to a defamation court sometime in the future, professor, I’ll rely on that tape from David exposing you for what you are. An unmitigated liar who’s tried to sully my reputation by an attack on me yesterday which was completely and utterly false.”
Flannery stands by what he wrote.
7. Janet Albrechtsen’s rough s-x rant
Australia’s answer to Ayn Rand turned the dial to kinky in August by extolling the virtues of rough s-x. Albrechtsen began the piece by quoting a scene from S-x and the City in which the prim and proper Charlotte asks: “Don’t you ever just wanna be really pounded hard, you know?”
Writing after the case against former IMF boss Dominique Strauss Kahn collapsed — despite his accuser having vaginal bruising — Albrechtsen slammed “the stubborn puritanism that says if a woman is bruised during s-x, then it must be r-pe”.
“Surely we should have learned by now not to prescribe the choices women make about how they conduct their s-xual lives, whether these choices are totally white-bread or rough and rollicking or somewhere in between.”
6. Miranda Devine links lesbians to the London riots
The Devine Miss M sent gay rights advocates into paroxysms of rage by linking lesbian parenting to the London riots in an August column.
In the controversial piece, Devine wrote that Finance Minister Penny Wong’s decision to have a child with her partner Sophie Allouache was not something the Australian public should celebrate. She went on to argue that gay marriage is “simply a political tool to undermine the last bastion of bourgeois morality — the traditional nuclear family. You only had to see the burning streets of London last week to see the manifestation of a fatherless society.”
Gay marriage supporter and former Australian Medical Association president Kerryn Phelps told The Power Index at the time that Devine’s piece “defies intellectual scrutiny” and is “offensive on so many levels”.
5. Derryn Hinch gagged by the courts
The self-described Human Headline was sentenced to five months’ home detention in July for breaching suppression orders prohibiting the identification of s-x offenders. He was also banned from broadcasting, communicating via social media or engaging in gainful employment.
In sentencing, Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg told Hinch his behaviour had been deliberate and contemptuous and said he would send the 67-year old to jail were it not for his poor health. Hinch groupies will be relieved to learn the provocateur is, as of midnight last night, a free man again. He’s already fired off his first tweet and will be back on air on 3AW this afternoon.