Chris Uhlmann should receive an award for his writing about Twitter. No, not a Walkley, but there are many great fiction awards and Chris has been doing great fiction for years. Like when he asserted that it was South Australia’s reliance on wind power which led to transmitters being blown over.
I particularly liked his tweet referring to people on Twitter as « sewer rats » thereby showing how to rise above what he suggests is the abuse and bad behaviour of people on the social media platform. It’s a simple tactic really. Andrew Bolt does it all the time: Say something outrageous that you know will get a response, pick out the most vitriolic and then suggest that they’re anti-free speech and intolerant of other opinions.
Mr Uhlmann has been particularly upset by the treatment of Christian Porter. According to him and the Coalition, Porter is being judged when a police investigation cleared him of wrongdoing. People on Twitter have formed a lynch mob and are unconcerned with the due processes of the law.
This is a very familiar tactic in politics too. Exaggerate the position of your opponents and then attack the exaggerated position rather than address any substance of what they’re saying. By the way, let’s mention Bill Shorten here.
And speaking of Bill Shorten, how’s the « new » investigation going? You know, the one about the old accusation that Sarah Henderson handed on to the police. Have we heard any more about that?
Now while some people are appointing themselves judge and jury, most people who don’t think that this should be over are simply calling for an actual inquiry without predetermining the result. They’re not trying to overthrow the « rule of law », which the Prime Minister recently told us meant that « the police decide the veracity of an accusation ». Gee, and here I was thinking that they simply investigated, handed evidence over to the prosecution and it was the trial that decided the guilt or innocence
In this case the police have decided that there isn’t enough evidence to bring about a conviction which leaves everyone in a sort of Schrodinger’s Cat situation where you don’t know whether the cat is alive or dead until the box is open. Ok, in fairness to the cat, we shouldn’t dispose of the box without checking but that doesn’t mean that we’re saying it’s alive.
Similarly with Christian Porter, in calling for an inquiry people aren’t prejudging his guilt. Most people would be satisfied if a retired judge (not Dyson Heydon) were to look at the letter that neither Scott Morrison nor Porter read, interview a few people and give us a finding that tells us that on the balance of probabilities, he or she believes that we can make certain conclusions, which would possibly back Porter’s account.
Actually, I’m still having trouble imagining the conversation between the two men who hadn’t read the letter.
« Christian, I’m about to get a letter making accusations against you? »
« What does it say? »
« Don’t know, I haven’t read it? »
« Oh, well it’s not true whatever it is. »
« Fine, you’re word’s good enough for me. »
Let’s try and be objective about this though. If we take the politics out of the situation and ignore some of the questions that Porter’s press conference raise about timelines and who knew what, when, we can see this more clearly.
Imagine an accusation is made against a junior sporting coach by someone who dies before making a statement to the police. The police tell you that they won’t be able to investigate because there’s no formal complaint. Of course, the sporting coach is entitled to the presumption of innocence, but can you honestly say that you wouldn’t expect the club or organisation to make further inquiries? Or would you be satisfied for them to say the matter is closed and you’d be more than happy for your thirteen year old to go away on camp with them.
And finally, I just have to make a couple of observations about Linda Reynolds’ « lying cow » comment. Morrison has said that she wasn’t referring to Ms Higgins’ rape claim but about the support she received. Of course, this is a very neat way of suggesting to the public that she may not be telling the truth about her rape claim without actually saying so. Of course, it’s not that they don’t believe the accusation; it’s just that they want to make her less sympathetic. However, it begs the question: What part was Reynolds suggesting was a lie? Or is that like the comment that was conveniently leaked to the propaganda arm of the Liberal Party, The Australian, and private?
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