Letting Monkeys Pick The Big Banana

GetUp! deputy chair Carla McGrath. Picture: www.theaustralian.com.au

Journalist and lawyer Paul Chadwick warned, back in 1999, that media regulation is an irresistible temptation for would-be censors. “All roads” from a so-called independent tribunal, he cautioned, “lead back through a parliament to a cabinet room”.

But with a government as weak-willed and ineffectual as Turnbull’s, the cabinet, like its leader, is so spineless that it is standing by while media regulation is being handed over to left-wing activists.

The deputy chair of activist group GetUp!, Carla McGrath, will help decide who will be the next chairman of the Australian Press Council.

The full Press Council — including Ms McGrath — is likely to vote before the end of the year on a replacement for former chairman David Weisbrot, who resigned in June amid the furore over Ms McGrath’s appointment.

GetUp! is the left-wing “progressive activist” group whose campaigns have included what the Australian Electoral Commission called “misleading and deceptive” how-to-vote information, attempting to deregister a Sydney doctor for appearing in an anti-gay marriage ad, and banning foreign donations to Australian political parties – at the same time that GetUp! received over $300 000 in foreign donations.

GetUp! is also accused of being a front group for the Australian Labor Party.

Before the last federal election, Ms McGrath’s organisation distributed anti-government how-to-vote cards that said “the Liberals are holding us back”.

It has since emerged that the Australian Workers’ Union gave GetUp! at least $100,000 when Bill Shorten was a member of its board and controlled the union’s national and Victorian branches.

When Ms McGrath’s three-year term as a “public” member of the Press Council was unveiled on May 25, her recruitment triggered a wave of criticism across the media industry that led to a boycott by The Australian of investigations and adjudications involving Ms McGrath. Newspapers in every state are now part of the ­boycott … Her appointment has been described as “bizarre” by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and “ill-advised” by [former Press Council chairman] Julian Disney.

Allowing an activist from GetUp! onto the Press Council, let alone have a say in picking its next chair, is letting a monkey loose in the banana stand. To be sure, her voice is only one of 23 in choosing the Press Council chair, but more importantly, from next year GetUp! will effectively have a voice in deciding press disputes.

More importantly, experience shows that the left are relentless in their Long March Through the Institutions – the post-1960s leftist strategy of subverting society by infiltrating key institutions. Giving a group like GetUp! a foot in the door of media regulation is a grave mistake.

– The Australian

 


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