On 18C

David Salter writes: Re. “The devil in the details of Brandis’ 18C legislation” (Thursday)

Guy Rundle, Bernard Keane, Josh Taylor et al have contributed useful reporting and analysis on the ludicrous attempts by the Turnbull government to amend 18C but they miss the central point: none of this would be happening if the Murdoch Mafia had not decided to bully the government on an issue that concerns precious few citizens other than News Corp’s own Chosen People.

Twenty years from now journalism students (if our trade survives that long), will be studying this campaign on 18C as a textbook example of the assumed blackmailing power of the major media. Yet, in truth, the years of relentless bullying by The Australian, the cap city tabloids and Sky News that began with the Bolt case and climaxed with Bill Leak are founded on illusion. Rupert’s gunslingers delude themselves that they wield enormous influence, and the politicians they harass meekly imagine that if they don’t dance to News Corp’s tune then they will be attacked and lose the next election.   

The whole thing is a pathetic fantasy. The Australian, which has led the charge on 18C, is so obsessed with its own importance that it cannot accept the notion that its peculiar news and commentary agenda counts for nothing with the great mass of voters. Indeed, the paper’s default voice is a curious blend of narcissism and persecution complex that makes it a bizarre read at the best of times. On 18C it is consistently off the Richter Scale.

And surely it says an awful lot about the weakness of Turnbull & Co that they think they need to go through the whole process of legislating to amend the Racial Discrimination Act, just to appease these frothing “freedom of speech” thugs at Holt Street. 

On Corporate fines

Bill Hilliger writes: Re. “Are payments to union officials worse than a death on a worksite?” (Thursday)

Are payments to union officials worse than a death on a worksite? Of course it is according to Malcolm Churchill and angel Michaelia Cash “dems bad unions.” Forget the workers’ well being and safety.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey