Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Election threads - budget cuts, Liberal Party hypocrisy, the LDP and the Streisand Effect, stop the boats is back

Really, just a recording tonight of things loosely linked to Australian politics.

As a consequence of budget cuts, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is to close its Fact Checking unit because of budget constraints.  I find the Fact Checks instructive because they set out the sources so clearly, so that's a pity. Earlier in May, the National Library announced that they were going to stop adding to Trove, the Library's on-line archive, again because of budget cuts. I think that's a real problem because I and so many others use Trove all the time.

The Liberal Party has attempted to force the Liberal Democrats to censor an advertisement because it included footage from Parliamentary debates. LD staffer Helen Dale commented on the continuing Liberal Party legal attacks on the Liberal Deomocrats:
First our name (you lost). Then the LibDem ballot paper logo (you lost). Now our election ads (and you'll lose that argument too, as the Streisand Effect reveals to the world the extent of your hypocrisy).
I hadn't heard of the Streisand Effect. According to Wikipedia, "The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely.)  Quite true.

The thing about the ads is that the Liberal Party itself has used Parliamentary footage in ads, so this attempt to use a Parliamentary rule to block the LD ads strikes me as a tad hypocritical. 

Meantime, Malcolm Turnbull has decided to wrap himself in Border Force images and stop the boats rhetoric. No doubt the flags will be next. Down in Canberra, former Immigration Department staff continue to complain about what they see at the militarisation of the immigration function following the merger with Customs and the creation of Boarder Force.The top brass were not impressed. In a joint statement, the heads of the Department and of Boarder Force wrote:
 "We reject categorically the inaccurate and unhelpful meme that the department has a 'militarised' culture: the only staff required to be in uniform and to carry weapons are those whose duties require it and who are properly credentialed and trained," 
The two men also said the transition to a "fresh" culture would not occur overnight, although the culture itself does not appear to have been specified. 

At the same time, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has come under fire. In opposing an increase iin the refugee quota,  he apparently suggested that refugees weren't numerate or literate and would take Australian jobs. I have put and in bold to highlight the tension between the two parts of the Minister's comments linked by that and.

Prime Minister Turnbull and Foreign Minister Bishop have attempted to put a gloss on Mr Dutton's remarks by saying that he was referring to the cost of the refugee program. It remains a gloss and not an especially helpful one. 

I will continue these election threads in a later post.


The BBC is now running the Dutton story with some of the local responses.
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