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Journalists Need To Remember That Nobody Is Above The Law!

Interviewer – This week the Prime Minister told Parliament that while he supported freedom of the press, nobody was above the law. To clarify what this means in practice we have Liberal spokesman, whose name we’ve redacted to enable him or her to speak freely. Government Spokesman, do you mind if I call you Neville?

“Neville” – That’s not my name and I’m quite happy to speak freely without the need for all this subterfuge. You can use my real name?

Interviewer – I intend to ask you questions about Peter Dutton’s department.

Neville – Neville, it is then.

Interviewer – First of all, the Prime Minister asserted that nobody is above the law…

Neville – That’s quite correct.

Interviewer – Well, if that’s the case, how can the government justify that Freedom Of Information requests are falling outside the legal time?

Neville – Simply because the volume of requests is quite overwhelming and there aren’t enough staff to…

Interviewer – But isn’t this due to government decisions about the number of staffing…

Neville – Exactly. The government is committed to a Budget surplus and to ensuring that there is no waste.

Interviewer – Hang on. I don’t wish to get distracted by the obvious point that if there’s not enough people to process the requests then more staff are clearly needed. My point is simply that if nobody is above the law, then how can the government justify FOI requests falling outside the legislated time…

Neville – No, not at all.

Interviewer – Why not? I mean doesn’t this suggest that the government thinks that it is above the law?

Neville – No. They’re not above the law, they’re outside the law.

Interviewer – I don’t see the difference.

Neville – Well, something that’s like the difference between your roof and your garden shed. You wouldn’t want your shed to be inside.

Interviewer – I wouldn’t want my roof to be inside either.

Neville – Exactly.

Interviewer – But when it comes to the law, what’s the difference between being above the law and outside the law.

Neville – Well, clearly someone – let’s say a journalist like you – who thinks that they’re above the law feels that they can break it with impunity whereas somebody who’s outside the law doesn’t feel they can break it with impunity; they simply understand that the law doesn’t apply to them in a particular case.

Interviewer – Isn’t the result the same?

Neville – Yes, but the difference is that journalists are trying to suggest that they’re a special group whereas the government can just change the law if it doesn’t suit them, so while they’re getting around to changing it, they can just operate outside it.

Interviewer – But doesn’t that make the government above the law?

Neville – Exactly.

Interviewer – But wasn’t the PM suggesting that no-one is above the law.

Neville – No ONE is above the law, but because there are lots and lots of people in the government, then they’re more than one.

Interviewer – But there are lots of lots of journalists. Doesn’t that mean that they’re more than one?

Neville – Look, if you’re just going to play silly word games…

Interviewer – Let’s move on. The Intelligence and Security Committee announced its concerns about the proposed legislation to allow facial recognition because it felt there weren’t enough safeguards. Is the government prepared to consider further measures to ensure that people aren’t singled out when they’re simply engaging in legitimate protests.

Neville – No, it’s purely an anti-terror thing.

Interviewer – So, you’ll be happy to put in place legislation to ensure protesters aren’t targeted?

Neville – Definitely… Unless, of course, the protesters are doing illegal things such as holding seditious slogans.

Interviewer – Seditious slogans.

Neville – Yes, you know things that… um, let me quote the law directly. Seditious intent includes things such as using words “to excite disaffection against the Government or Constitution of the Commonwealth or against either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth”. 

Interviewer – So you’re suggesting that people could be identified in demonstrations for holding signs criticising the government.

Neville – For example. I mean, they could also be identified and charged if they block traffic… or pedestrians.

Interviewer – But what about people’s right to protest?

Neville – They can protest as much as they like so long as they don’t use seditious language or get in anyone’s way. Nobody is above the law, you know.

Interviewer – Thank you.

Neville – Is that all?

Interviewer – I certainly hope so!

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13 comments

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  1. Stuart Dean

    Shades of Clarke and Dawe. Government newspeak. (1984)

  2. Neil

    What about ‘Iraq Johnny’?

  3. Stuart Dean

    Do you mean Baghdad Bob or Comical Ali – Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf?

  4. wam

    loved the above the law because if you are an exception you are not above the law the church is the example.
    Politicians seem to consider themselves above the law in the chamber.
    It seems we are getting closer to china where wearing a mask at demonstrations is illegal.
    The last rabbottian on my page wrote of the kid’s strike. They should have had the strike in a park on saturday he was not joking.
    thanks boobby

  5. Wobbley

    You’ll be suprised how far this current incumbent fascist mob will go. Sit back, if ya game, and watch how quickly “our” democracy disintegrates from here. Courtesy of Turdock, the institute of public enemies and the scum they call the “government”.

  6. Peter F

    Have you noticed that the photographs of the PM appear to be showing more of his true character recently?

  7. Graeme

    “Nobody is above the law” I guess that makes Angus TAYLOR a nobody?

  8. John lord

    Marvellous. Rossleigh. I would love to interview you sometime.

  9. Terence Mills

    The Angus Taylor debacle is worth watching closely.

    He has said that the misleading data that he used, for a political hit on the Sydney City Council over excessive spending on travel, was authentic and SCC has claimed that the correct data as published in the SCC annual accounts in September 2018 is accurate and has not been tampered with or changed.

    This means either that Taylor’s office – who fed the allegedly doctored data to Newscorp without checking its veracity – and Newscorp’s Daily Telegraph who published the data evidently without checking its authenticity are engaged in a cover up OR Sydney City Council has been telling lies.

    Watch this space !

  10. ajogrady

    How good is being a Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity and not be smart enough to know that the dodgy figures are easily contradicted and the true numbers verified.
    How good is it being a “journalist” at News Limited where the facts and truth never get in the way of fear and smear.
    Australia is now very much a part of the axis of evil with Johnson, Trump and Morrison hell bent on fulfilling and completing Murdoch’s master plan that has no benefits for a large majority of the people but will benefit Murdoch’s business investments.

  11. Joe

    There’s parliamentary privilege and it is extended to some of the public. Could be a methamphetamines dealer a retired truck driver, someone on Looney medication….

  12. Joe

    Another above the law is tennancy tribunal. The judges which are called members do not have to rule with the law it can be ignored.

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