THIS IS worrying:
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.
That just-added announcement on the Adelaide Now web site precedes an archived copy of Andrew Bolt’s celebrated column, “It’s So Hip To Be Black”.
News Limited has until Wednesday to appeal Judge Mordy’s ruling that the columnist is guilty of being less than kind to white Aborigines. Does the warning’s addition to the page indicate that News Limited is unlikely to appeal? Readers with legal backgrounds who might care to interpret the announcement’s sudden appearance are welcome to do so in comments. But at the Billabong, anxiety is mounting.
A month or so ago, a trivial error in Glenn Milne’s column about our PM’s fling with a union swindler saw it pulled. All it took was a couple of presumably threatening phone calls to News Limited chieftain John Hartigan and down the memory hole it went, its disappearance marked only by craven apologies published even on News Limited web sites that did not carry the original article. That decision reeked of cowardice, not to mention a disregard for the sanctity of a free and inquiring press which Hartigan claims to hold dear. To all intents and purposes the voting public now has no way of learning more of home renovations paid for with siphoned funds, of $17,000 worth of frocks, or of the honesty of a woman who, although 35 and a rising Labor lawyer at the time of her relationship with thre light-fingered Bruce Wilson, now invokes the excuse of having been “young and naïve”. The Fairfax press will not pose those questions, having long ago been colonised by journalists and editors who barrack for causes, not unfiltered truths. The ABC is marginally worse, as anyone who has witnessed Jonathan Holmes urging viewers to file complaints against Alan Jones and others will surely appreciate.
That leaves only News Limited. An imperfect champion at the best of times, it was at least prepared to have a go. If it fails to appeal the Bolt ruling, perhaps in the hope that a supine silence might make the coming ordeal before the press inquiry less painful, access to truth in Australia will be well and truly stuffed.
Two days remain before an appeal must be lodged. If it isn’t, then Hartigan might want to consider a supreme irony: Up until now conservatives have indulged News Limited’s domination of the Old Media marketplace, preferring to view Hartigan’s company as the sole source of alternate perspectives. But if it is now in retreat on matters of principle and open inquiry, why not support its dismantling?
We would be better off with half a dozen different and competing press proprietors. With any luck one of them might boast a decent set of balls.