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THE COUNTRYMAN

NEWS

 

Selwyn Johnston

INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVES'

ADVOCATE

(Cairns... Far North Queensland)

 

Thank you for visiting my on-line office. 

I appreciate your interest in the issues that effect not only Queenslanders, but all Australians. 

Please let me hear from you about your views on the issues that matter to your Family, your Community and your State.  

Sincerely,

Selwyn Johnston

 

One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference

 

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AUSTRALIA’S ‘UNBIASED’ MEDIA!

If ever it was suspected that Australia’s media suffers from chronic institutional bias then the Cairns Weekend Post, Saturday 18 August 2007, proved the matter beyond any doubt. 

In a functioning democracy the media has certain responsibilities and to see those responsibilities so blatantly disregarded is a great disappointment. Whether it was a blatant disregard of responsibility or a simple case of self-interest could be argued, but the exclusive publicity given to party candidates as distinct from all declared Leichhardt candidates, is patently deceptive. 

There it was for all to see on page 3, under the heading ‘Who are they?’ and went on to say, ‘…ONLY one in 11 people polled could recognise and name all three Leichhardt candidates in this year's federal election, The Weekend Post's street survey found.’ 

Firstly, I must correct the Post’s intrepid journalist’s mathematics on candidate numbers, as there are actually a minimum of four (4) publicly announced candidates, which includes myself, a fact the journalist should have known had he read a few back-copies of his own newspaper. 

However, even thought the Cairns Post went into some rubbery statistics as to which of their ‘party preferred’ candidates was least recognised, the message being sent to those seeking party political ‘power’ was somewhat different. 

Arguably, it could well be perceived as a reminder for the political parties to ‘… pay the piper’! 

Perhaps the survey, if it can be graced with that title, could equally be construed as a less than subtle message to the major parties that although an election has not yet been formally called there is plenty of advertising money being splashed around and it’s about time a bit of it fell into the coffers of the Cairns Weekend Post! 

In the lead-up to a Federal election, the incumbent political party/ies spend huge amounts of taxpayers ‘money’, millions in fact, to ‘soften-up’ the voting public with newspaper, television and radio advertisements in an effort to highlight their chosen party/ies past ‘achievements’ and, float their future ‘policies’. 

Obviously, there is no mention at all of systemic “under-achievement”. There is no mention of their complicity in engaging in foreign wars on false or misleading pretexts occasioning the destruction of countries and causing the death and maiming of civilians both young and old, to say nothing of the military losses. 

There is no mention of their ongoing failure to deliver services such as those associated with health, particularly mental and dental health. Nor is there any mention of their inability to properly manage aged care.

Their financial management is more hype than reality with public debt at dangerous levels and interest rate increases being a rising threat to those with young families and first homebuyers. The list could go on to include the absence of intergenerational responsibility, but we have enough to form an opinion, particularly with regard to the so-called ‘core and non-core’ policies. 

Nor is there any mention of the plight of Australia’s primary producers decimated by deregulation, economic rationalisation and free trade agreements. 

‘Policy’ announcements by the political parties are matters of the utmost speculation, as we all know that there has NEVER been a single ‘policy’, by any political party, which has EVER been implemented, or enacted, in the manner that it was originally presented to the Australian voter. 

The obscene untaxed profits of the multinational banks were created by the deregulation of the banking system; the privatisation and sale of the Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, airports, roads and other infrastructure were all as a result of a covert ‘policy’, enacted under the guise of the term… ‘political mandate’. 

From this ‘political mandate’ arises the ‘political power’ so jealously guarded by the parties who currently hold it, and coveted so eagerly by the opposition that wants it. 

Governments’ substantially fund the media, and, as we all know, Governments’ do not have any money! Governments’ are the trustee’s of taxpayers’ money, though it’s a fact frequently overlooked! 

However, when elections are imminent the media ‘reminds’ the major parties that it is they (the media), who control what is, or is not, published for scrutiny by the voting population. 

Put simply, the media looks after the major parties, as it is one of the major parties that will ultimately control the public purse, a purse that is almost bottomless when it comes to advertising in Australia’s ‘unbiased’ media. 

AND, let’s face it, credible Independent candidates do NOT have access to the massive amounts of corporate funding, nor do they want it, as they struggle to portray a selfless image in a genuine effort to ‘… represent the expressed majority will of the people of the electorate’, and not some self-serving political party hierarchy.

In the remaining weeks of this current 2007 Federal election campaign, whenever you witness the names and/or photographs of the major party candidates being given a 'free kick' by the media, pause for a moment, and give a little thought to the almost $42 million dollars of taxpayer-funds paid primarily to the major political parties as 2004 Federal Election funding payments, largely as reimbursement for media advertising!

 

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THE MEDIA TRUTH...

One night, probably in 1880, John Swinton, the then pre-eminent New York journalist, was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. 

Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. 

Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying...

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. 

There is not one of you who dare to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. 

If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. "The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. 

You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. 

Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. 

We are intellectual prostitutes." 

(Source: Labor's Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais) 

What is required in Australia is our own 'John Swinton', a journalist with integrity, a journalist who is prepared to expose the truth and the myths about Australia's corporate media deceivers! 

 

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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870