What Prime Minister Gillard Told Tony Abbott About Freedom Of Speech

Too often “freedom of the press” is really about “freedom to bully governments, lie, target political opponents, cover up, promote other businesses”, too often it is about “free market” not “free speech”.

Now that the Opposition have decided they were elected to Parliament to represent the business interests of the Murdoch family and not the people of their electorates, the public rights are disappearing at the hands of the Murdoch media desire to dominate everything we see, read, hear, click, and know.

Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Leader of the Opposition) (14:39): I have a question for the Prime Minister. … and now she proposes the most draconian regulation of the media ever. How can people ever expect better judgement from this Prime Minister?

Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:39): Once again, the Leader of the Opposition finds himself absolutely incapable of dealing with the facts, even when they have been provided in the answer to the question before from the opposition. So, let’s go through it again for the Leader of the Opposition, who most clearly was not listening to what I said before.

Ms GILLARD: I refer him to the respected international organisation Reporters Without Borders.

Ms GILLARD: I am dealing with a Leader of the Opposition who, of course, dismisses the work of climate change scientists, who brushes aside the work of senior public servants, and who never listens to an expert because he might be confronted with the facts. But I refer him to Reporters Without Borders and I presume that the Leader of the Opposition is not going to describe that international organisation as anything but genuinely dedicated to freedom of the press around the world.

I refer him to the fact that the country in first place in their list as best on freedom of the press is Finland, which has specific laws which dictate to media organisations that they must provide a right of reply and correct factual errors. What the government is proposing is far, far, far less interventionist than that. Finland has a press council which is 30 per cent funded. We are not proposing that the Press Council be anything other than funded by media organisations themselves.

Mr Pyne: I rise on a point of order. The Prime Minister was asked about her own judgement, or her failure of judgement over 2½ years. She should try to answer that question.

The SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

Ms GILLARD: I am addressing the question because the Leader of the Opposition made an assertion about the government’s proposed changes for media reform. If he did not want me to respond to that then he ought not to have asked it. His having asked it, I am going to respond to it. The Leader of the Opposition is deliberately—perhaps I will withdraw ‘deliberately’ and say ‘misleading’—this parliament on the nature of these laws. I direct the Leader of the Opposition to international comparisons so he no longer goes around making absurd, false claims about these laws.

What these laws are about is more Australian content on Australian TV. I think that is a good thing. What these laws are about is enabling our great public broadcasters like the ABC and the SBS to be out there providing news and information in more ways in the modern age. I think that is a good thing. What these laws are about is, in one of the most concentrated media markets in the world, if there are further consolidations in media organisations—

Ms GILLARD: In one of the most concentrated media markets in the world, we are ensuring, if there is further consolidation, that there is an independent view taken about diversity of voices in our democracy. Finally, we are ensuring that Australians who have a legitimate claim have a press council to go to. (Time expired)

Source: Hansard, Monday, 18 March 2013

There is no guaranteed ‘freedom of speech’ in Australia, our ‘freedom of speech’ is implied only, unless you are confused with the US American constitution which does guarantee free speech.

The Australian Constitution contains these rights, speech is not one of them:
– right to vote in Commonwealth elections if you can vote in State ones
– freedom of religion, and prohibition of religious tests for Federal offices
– trial by jury in Federal cases tried on indictment
– “just terms” for the compulsory “acquisition” of property by the Commonwealth
– an ambiguously worded prohibition on discrimination against residents of other States

Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily Telegraph used a quote from US American president Thomas Jefferson to attack the governments plans for media reform.
“Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” –Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson is a man who owned people, he kept people as SLAVES. Perhaps Jefferson is not the best source to quote in relation to defending freedoms.

We also do not have the same freedoms as the US Constitution.


Malcolm Turnbull has said “The Daily Telegraph is free to be as biased as it likes. Its readers can decide not to read it, they can be appalled by it, they can cancel their subscription, they can throw it in the bin or do whatever they like, but it is free to do that.”

So we can have the free press that our Prime Minister is championing or we can avoid biased media (which in Australia is close to 100%), and learn nothing about the world other than the biased not-news that Murdoch and his minions decide for you, as Turnbull says.

Read what we tell you or you are free to choose nothing – this is not what a free people’s media looks like.


17 Responses to “What Prime Minister Gillard Told Tony Abbott About Freedom Of Speech”

  1. Typical of the hypocrisy of the current Right. Compare the media focus on the possibilities of a leadership challenge, (especially in the Murdoch press), and the short comings of Labors ‘mismanagement’ to the coverage given the Libs in VIctoria where there really has been ineptitude and incompetence. Shrieks and vilification of the former, complete silence on the latter. When Murdoch dies, and I hope that it’s in the near future, we should ensure that they bury the bastard face down!!!

    • The word of the day is “chaos”, the ALP are in chaos, lets ignore, NT changed leaders, Vic LNP lost an MP and leader, NSW Nats lost an MP, meanwhile PM Gillard is not going any place

  2. Great post! If more people paid attention to what goes on in Parliament and less to the crap in the MSM Australia would be much better served.

  3. Reblogged this on woosterlang87 and commented:
    ‘What Prime Minister Gillard Told Tony Abbott About Freedom of Speech’-Turn Left 2013

  4. “And it won’t get better with increased market concentration.”

    We have News Ltd, Fairfax, ABC, SBS, as well as all the worlds online content.

    What problem do you see with this?

  5. The media laws will include online content and blog sites.

  6. I’m eternally amused by the Right’s use of the word “Freedom”. While the Left might consider freedom to be something like a universal minimisation of unjust impediment available to everyone, the Right’s usage implies the word means “…the freedom to do business in any way we want to without any interference by anyone. The Freedom to dominate our industry, to undercut and abolish any competitors and then to milk our captive audience for every advertising dollar”.

    I propose a rejigging of the word when used in that “Corporate” context by spelling and pronouncing it as “Feedom” as in “Market Feedom”, “Tea Party Feedom Fighters” etc. That way, we can tell when someone is talking about true Freedom and when they are actually engaging in the double-think of “Feedom”

  7. Thank you for this, turnleft2013.

    Malcolm Turnbull may well be right in saying the Murdoch-owned press is free to be as biased as it likes, but he would be screaming from the rooftops if its bias was to the left. Can you imagine if the situation was reversed due to Rupert Murdoch having a Road to Damascus conversion & News Ltd started printing distortions, lies & misinformation about the Coalition? They would be crying foul & demanding changes to so-called press freedom quick smart.

    • But he knows the media wont, the media will always push a hard Right government, unless they want to send the message the Right can’t take them for granted. Bloggers & online publishers jealously guard their every little click, so they will never unite to challenge that old media dominance. 100 separate bloggers would have much more impact if they published under one umbrella title, but they won’t. And too many aggregated blogs feature one or two of their pet writers to feature their stories, this is NOT an alternative to a daily newspaper. Most people don’t read every story in a newspaper, they flip the pages, read what interests them, a united blog would offer a similar experience. But no, blogging is dominated by egos, and people put their egos first, and if Abbott ever does become PM, they just see that as an opportunity to write more blog posts and count more clicks.

  8. Bring the laws in now andafter the next election Abbott will legally have his foot on the throats of the press, including blogs like this one.

  9. If i need facts about my own country I have to read OS “news” or now that I tweet find the links to articles like this, Thank you for reporting not opining


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