In the past couple of weeks Andrew Bolt (following his guilty verdict) declared that free speech in Australia, if not dead, was at least grievously wounded; Ray Warren and Phil Gould have embarked on a scripted attack on poker machine reform in the middle of an NRL preliminary final; and most recently, News Limited’s Daily Telegraph has told the story of Ian Swan (brother of Wayne) and his concerns for the future of his little surf club at Coolum.
It’s times like these we need a voice of sanity to speak up and put everything in perspective. Someone who can drown out the hysteria and tell it like it is.
Instead, we get Alan Jones.
What follows is Alan Jones’ rant delivered on his radio show earlier today. I’ve interspersed my thoughts and reactions throughout.
Alan Jones, 2GB, Tuesday 4/10/2011
Well, this so-called poker machine tax, the alleged Wilkie reform which is nothing of the kind now bids to claim its first victims.
Well that didn’t take long. It’s not a tax, Alan. It’s a series of reforms; nothing “alleged” about it.
This, following the treatment of Andrew Bolt last week, for not only saying what he believed, but also what many other Australians believed.
Can’t let your heir apparent suffer the slings and arrows, can you Alan? Not that Bolt’s articles and subsequent prosecution had anything to do with poker machine reforms.
Ray Warren and Phil Gould are two of the nation’s outstanding rugby league broadcasters. They work for Channel 9, the once-dominant television network in this country; no longer so. Well it’s to be hoped that Channel 9 find the guts to support their broadcasters, Warren and Gould, who made statements critical of so-called poker machine reform just after half-time in the preliminary final between Manly and Brisbane on September 23.
I hope so too, Alan, seeing as Warren has revealed that he was handed a script and told to read it out. Seeing as the NRL and Clubs Australia have denied any involvement, that just leaves Channel 9.
Firstly they’re entitled to their views.
Or at least, Channel 9’s views. Allegedly.
Secondly they were broadcasting a rugby league game, which relies heavily on revenue from clubs, whose revenue Julia Gillard will demolish just to secure the support of this Tasmanian Wilkie, to enable Julia Gillard to stay in the Lodge.
Wow. Verbal leapfrog. Rugby league, to clubs, to Julia Gillard, to Andrew Wilkie, to the Lodge. Somehow, Alan, I think the only part of that which was relevant to the broadcast was the fact that it was a rugby league game.
If anyone ought to be investigated it ought to be the Prime Minister.
Yes, how dare she attend the AFL grand final? Outrage!
How many deals have been done, disadvantageous to Australia, and to Australians, just to keep Julia Gillard in taxpayer-funded accommodation?
Leaving aside the “disadvantageous deals” slur: can someone tell me how many Australian Prime Ministers have NOT lived in taxpayer-funded accommadation? Alan, I fail to see your point.
The comments were made by Warren and Gould, and they were 100% valid.
And 100% rehearsed.
If they were scripted by somebody else, well the public couldn’t care less.
Oh really? That’s not what I’ve been hearing. The backlash against their transparent political blathering has been savage and widespread.
The test is now not on Phil Gould and Ray Warren; the test is on Channel 9. Stand up and defend your broadcasters for making perfectly legitimate comments.
So legitimate that ACMA are investigating.
Andrew Bolt made perfectly legitimate comments and was taken to court, admittedly trapped by a weakness in the law.
Umm… no. If Bolt’s comments were perfectly legitimate then he wouldn’t have been found guilty. Oh that’s right, a “weakness in the law”. Not Andrew’s fault at all. Blameless little Bolta.
But people are sick and tired of individuals being penalised for making legitimate comments in which they believe. What’s more, saying what the public believes. And the public are fed up with Wilkie, and fed up with Julia Gillard.
The public are sick and tired of political commentary during sporting broadcasts, Alan. They’re sick of being told that Clubs are more important than they are. They’re sick of the avalanche of gambling advertising every time sport happens to be on the telly.
Ray Warren and Phil Gould said what they believe and what the public believe –
Or what Channel 9 want them to believe.
– about the destructive nature of this poker machine so-called reform; and if there’s something wrong with that, then we’re all in big trouble.
Again, nothing “so-called” about it Alan. Guess we’re all in big trouble.
I note today that Wayne Swan’s elder brother Ian, who’s on the board of the Coolum Surf Club in Queensland, a life member in fact, made the perfectly valid point that his club is now in the firing line of this poker machine nonsense.
Perfectly valid because his stance agrees with yours, Alan.
It’s got 48 poker machines, and Ian Swan said, this will have a huge impact on small clubs like surf clubs; it has the potential to wreck everything. Wayne Swan’s brother.
So Coolum Surf Club has 48 poker machines… but it’s a small club? That’s half again as many poker machines as any pub in NSW is allowed to have. Any club with 48 poker machines is, by definition, NOT a small club.
The president of the Coolum Surf Club said clubs are already concerned that they have to shut down if the policy is enforced. He said, there’s a big question mark over whether this technology will stop problem gambling.
Well it won’t.
As you would know, Alan. You’re an expert.
Wayne Swan’s been a member of the surf club since he was a child; he knows the truth.
Which is why he supports the reforms.
But the Gillard government will do anything to stay in office in Canberra. And Wilkie is saying, he’ll pull the plug on the Gillard government if they don’t surrender to this poker machine nonsense. Well my advice to Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan is simple: stop buying your spines at K-Mart. Get a fair dinkum spine and send this bloke Wilkie packing.
“Stop buying your spines at K-Mart.” Oh Alan, that’s poor… even for you.
The alternative of course, is to send the club industry packing. And across the nation there is palpable anger at the prospect of this.
The only “palpable anger” has to do with the hundreds of thousands of Australians whose lives are torn apart by poker machine addiction, Alan. They’re members of the Australian public too. Forgotten about them?
Ray Warren and Phil Gould, two good and honest people, were expressing the substance of that anger.
By reading a script.
Now it seems, in a nation going mad, you can’t even do that. Which prompts a simple question: what freedoms remain, if freedom of this kind of speech doesn’t?
What freedoms remain? The freedom to tell you to go to hell, Alan Jones. Your hateful and ill-informed ramblings have no relevance to any form of well-informed debate. You are part of the problem.