On Saturday afternoon, news broke that 2GB shock jock, Alan Jones, had been recorded saying that the Prime Minister’s late father, John Gillard, died of the shame he felt at having her for a daughter.
This is, of course, a gross distortion of the truth. Whatever we, as voters, might think of Ms Gillard, it is clear that her father was always incredibly proud of her. It is a matter of public record that his death, as a very elderly man, came after a long illness.
Jones’ ghastly, insensitive remark pays no heed to the incredible hurt his words might cause to Ms Gillard, nor to her elderly mother. Having lost my own father, I can only imagine how I would have felt if, during those early days when I was still raw with emotion and grief, someone had sneered that my father did not die of a sudden heart-attack, but because he was ashamed – of me. That his death was my fault.
And, as I try to imagine how that insensitivity would have compounded my own grief, I can only believe it might have come close to killing my mother; already distraught to the point of collapse at the loss of her husband.
What kind of a monster would say such a thing?
To their very great credit, the majority of Australians have responded to Jones’ remark with complete and utter disgust. Already there are calls for a boycott of Jones’ employer, 2GB and its sponsors and a petition calling for his dismissal.
But, some are aguing that Jones’ attack on Ms Gillard was acceptable given her policies/lies/treatment of Julian Assange/hard line on asylum seekers etc. For some, there is a sense that Gillard’s own failings have made her ‘fair game’.
And, to some extent she is ‘fair game’. As Prime Minister, Ms Gillard should certainly not be protected from fierce opposition to her policies. And, of course, she should held to account for the honesty of her statements, promises made and broken and the hypocrisy of her position on same-sex marriage. Let me make it clear. I am not defending Ms Gillard because I like her – far from it! I am defending her because she is a human being.
Whatever Ms Gillard’s past actions, whatever her sins against the Australian people – it is NEVER acceptable to desecrate the memory of a recently deceased father in order to hurt, ridicule, damage or demean his daughter. NEVER. JUST. NEVER.
Never an edifying voice in the political debate, Alan Jones has brought civility in this country to its knees. This is beyond gutter politics. This is sewerage politics. Splashing around in his cesspool of censorious cynicism, Jones besmirches us all with his putrescent propaganda.
I am no fan of Julia Gillard’s. In fact, I have publicly criticized her online, in the national press and on air. But, in this scenario, Gillard is not a politician; she is a grieving daughter.
No daughter – regardless of who she is, or what she has done – should have to endure the indignity of her dead father being used as a weapon against her. And no Australian should condone that kind of vicious, personal abuse – regardless of their personal feelings about Ms Gillard or her politics.
Listening to the audio of Jones’ speech, I was shocked to hear guests at the Sydney University Liberal Club laugh in response to his vile attack on the Prime Minister. On reflection, I realised I should not have been surprised. This is the kind of misogynistic, pugilistic, bully-boy bastardry that has become normalised within the Liberal party under Tony Abbott’s leadership. When this is the kind of behaviour consistently modeled by the leadership, it is easy to understand why Jones’ egregious remarks brought only the following response from his young Liberal hosts:
Mr Abbott and his Catholic cronies have been very concerned of late that legalizing same-sex marriage will ‘normalize’ homosexual behaviour. I think Australians should be a great deal more concerned that the behaviour of Tony Abbott and his cabinet henchmen creates a toxic political culture in which remarks like Jones’ are considered so normal – so firmly within the acceptable bounds of human decency – that they warrant laughter and post-speech accolades.
Let me reiterate. There is nothing Julia Gillard has done, or could do, that could justify Jones’ behaviour. There is no sin Ms Gillard may have committed, no lie she may have told that would mitigate the sheer, malevolent bastardry of using a dead man as a weapon against his grieving daughter. None.
And now, to those who will inevitably scream that the firestorm of criticism Jones will wake up to today somehow endangers his right to free speech.
As much as it disgusts me, Alan Jones has an absolute right to say what he did. No question. No matter how hurtful, how spiteful, how crude or revolting – Jones’ right to be a complete and utter moron should be sacrosanct.
But, Jones’ right to free speech does not make it encumbent upon radio 2GB to pay him vast sums of money and provide him with a forum for his venomous, misogynistic vilification of the Prime Minister. Further, the companies which support Jones and his station with their sponsorship, have no moral, ethical or legal obligation to place advertisements with 2GB. These are commercial arrangements which have nothing, whatsoever, to do with Jones’ freedom of speech.
Nor does free speech come with any right to be absolved from public censure. While Jones has the right to speak his mind, the public is perfectly justified in shouting him down in disgust.
If 2GB were to sack Jones, it would, in no way, compromise his right to free speech. Having your own radio show is not a ‘right‘ it is a privilege – and Jones has abused that privilege more than once. Indeed, as recently as October Jones admitted to The Age that in saying the Prime Minister should be put in a chaff bag and thrown out to sea, he had failed to respect ‘the office’ of the Prime Minister and ‘to meet the standards that would be expected of people who listen to the program.’
That apology can now be seen for what it is. Spin. Jones learned nothing from the incident and his remarks about Ms Gillard’s father show what little respect he has for either the office of the Prime Minister or the common decency of the Australian people.
The fact that this latest assault on the Prime Minister was not made on air, but at a Liberal party event, is no excuse for Jones’ employer to show leniency. The attack on Gillard speaks to his character, his judgement and his honesty. On all three counts, he is not a fit person to enjoy the privilege and power accorded to him in his role with 2GB.
I am no fan of being ‘nice’ or polite in the face of liars, cheats or frauds. I completely accept that some people believe that Julia Gillard is all three. But even if this is true, we are greatly diminished as Australians and as human beings if we condone Jones’ particular brand of bastardry.
Is this what we should aspire to as Australians; to rationalise despicable behaviour because someone else has acted disreputably? To paraphrase my friend Vicki O’Brien, “What? Are we fucking five?”
Is this how Australians will be acculturated under an Abbott-led government? Will we become a nation in which ‘an eye for an eye’ is the ethics du jour? Do we aspire to become a nation in which ‘strength’ is defined as making yourself every bit as bad as those you oppose? Is this what we want to teach our children about what it means to be ‘Australian’?
This is not what Australians stand for and I was heartened to see that the vast majority of Australians on Facebook and Twitter last night stood up for decency, civility and fair play – regardless of their personal views about Julia Gillard, her personal integrity or her policies.
Alan Jones must lose the power and privilege he has so frequently and wantonly abused. 2GB’s sponsors must insist on his dismissal. And, more broadly, the Liberal party must take a critical view of the monster that Tony Abbott is creating.
How long before Abbott leads the party into a political storm the size of that swirling around Alan Jones today? As the storm rages, Liberal powerbrokers should be out in the weather, licking their fingers and testing the winds of public opinion because this is the kind of tempest which forbodes unloseable elections lost and defeat, snatched from the jaws of victory.
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Breaking: Jones has apologised for his remarks, bizarrely intimating that he plagiarised the offending remark from someone else!
“Jones said he had repeated remarks made to him at his godson’s birthday party earlier in the day.
‘I should not have repeated those remarks,’ he said.
“There is no excuse, I have to cop the blame.”
But ‘copping the blame’ without accepting the consequences is just more spin. Jones must be dismissed or step down. This is not a case of one, unwise, ‘out of character’ statement. This is, according to NSW Labor MP, Dr Meredith Burgmann, entirely consistent with Jones’ pathological pursuit of Gillard.
Prior to this, Jones has said of the PM, ‘She’s brain dead”, ‘a lying bitch”, ‘bring back the guillotine’, ‘I’m over this lying cow’, and ‘What a horrible mouth on legs she is’. This is not thoughtful political commentary. Jones has made a habit of making gendered and misogynistic attacks on the Prime Minister. It’s not good enough. A mild apology is not good enough. And ‘copping the blame’ isn’t good enough. He must accept real consequences for the real harm he has caused, not only to Ms Gillard and her family, but to the sensibilities of the Australian people.
Great post, as always. I’ll always defend the right (or I believe in Australia’s case our implied right) to free speech, but that right does come with the responsibility of being accountable for what you say.
As you’ve said, his platform as a radio presenter is not a right but a privileged and if he was to lose that privilege (even if only temporary or with 2GB) that is him being held accountable for what he said.
Free speech issues are important to me, but those like Alan Jones or any “special Interest” groups who use free speech as a defense when being cause discriminating against a group of people (or on religious grounds, or a combination of the two) to twist the situation to appear as the victim makes a mockery of free speech.
While I don’t agree with what he said, I’ll defend his (implied) right to say it, however that doesn’t mean he should be untouchable or not receive any criticism and escape responsibility for what he says.
It’s a good thing he said and says when he does at live events or on the radio and not Twitter… /sarcasm
For those who saw the #stopthetrolls campaign for what it really was it will be interesting to see the main stream media’s reaction to this when it’s (almost) one of their own.
Well said, Chris
It is behaviour like this that sorely tries my patience with the Liberal Party. Over this last 12 months I have been very tempted to resign my membership, but I retain it on the basis that the best avenue for change is from within.
Sadly, I understand Jones can’t be fired as he is a part-owner of 2GB, however we consumers can hit the hip pocket by spending our money anywhere other than with 2GB sponsors. I believe he lost a few over the #destroyingthejoint gaffe.
Australian Liberal Party politics has gone to the dogs under Abbott. There is no mature, responsible discourse and the childishness of some is beyond comprehension – and we voted these people in?
I was horrified when I heard this latest idea of a schoolyard bullying attack yesterday. Abbott should come out disassociating the Party from Jones in the strongest possible terms. Sadly, he won’t – although I am willing to be surprised.
I absolutely agree with this comment. This is the fault of Tony Abbott who has brought about this disgusting behaviour with his budgies and his ape like walk and his uncultured attitude. A true bogan.
I agree with the sentiment, Helen, but it may be taking it a tad too far to blame Tony’s swagger and budgie smugglers, specifically, for the current situation! 🙂
Actually, although I’d readily conceed it’s not particularly scientific, a person’s walk can reveal quite a bit to those practiced in reading body language. As a young male growing up in Glasgow I was obliged to become adept at reading such signals and I can honestly tell you that, even if I’d never heard him utter a word, Tony Abbott’s gait would have led me to expect exactly the character traits he exhibits.
I am often amazed at the discussions about free speech around the world. Especially from the right wing religious. The right to free speech is a pillar of democracy. It is however not a pass against all possible consequences of your speech, only against official consequences. The government cannot block or freeze speech a-priori, and threatening you with arrest or fines would do that.
On the level of public discourse you take your lumps. Free speech allows voices to be heard in the public sphere. It allows the citizenry to carry on open discourse and deliberate on things. At the level of the public there can be, and are, consequences to people’s reputation and social networks. That’s what is supposed to happen.
Alan Jones exhibits nasty behaviour that does not enhance the public deliberation. I frankly stopped listening to 2GB a very long time ago. I’m saddened that many people still take notice of what he has to say since he behaves like an angry, loudmouth, authoritarian dill brain and has never made an actual reasoned argument that I’m aware of.
dandare2050, how well said!! Just like Gladly – articulate, awesome, and also funny :). Do you write commentary, too?
I agree with everything you wrote here. This incessant bullying must stop. We wonder why bullying is such a huge problem here in Australia, from kids in the playground and classroom to people in the workplace…here is an answer for you in the form of a broadcaster or “shock jock”, (whatever that means) being able to use his influence to peddle this bullying, nasty, mean attitude to listeners across Australia. On top of the bullying, Jones is a disrespectful misogynist, a grown man who should know better. I imagine he has been bullied for being gay throughout his life and I find it astounding that he would visit that hateful attitude toward another.
Another great article, Chrys. Right on the money.
I have signed the petition, and emailed the show sponsors.
I would like to see a petition calling on Tony Abbott to condemn the young Liberals for their remarks. The Liberal always used these shock jocks / extremist to set the tone then say the same things in a more “sophisticated” fashion. The immense discussion of Julia Gillards most personal life is not something we have seen with previous prime ministers and Tony Abbott and his colleges are driving this. The message should be to the Liberals “STOP EGGING THIS BEHAVIOR ON”.
On New Years day 2012, ex Pm Malcolm Frazer said “Politics in Australia has become toxic and destructive”….. It is this climate that has led some people like Allan Jones to think these kinds of statements are now acceptable.. What was he thinking?… yuk.. never mind that’s a place I don’t want to go. Alan Jones has done surprisingly, a lot of good of late, his bringing to public attention the CSG issue and foreign ownership of our farmland.. But he just went and destroyed his credibility, in one foul swoop.
But lets lot lose sight of the facts of the foundations of his “sewerage” politics remark. It was at a Liberal Party function (it could apply equally be Labor). Frazer was right on the money with his remarks and they have been backed up by many others including Ted Mack and Tony Fitzgerald.
As I have been saying for ages. Voting for Gillard and Abbott is like choosing between Cancer and Leaukemia…. There is a better way…..
Great Article Chrys
Thomas Brookes AIM
What price ‘freedom of speech’? Who in Australia can quote the law, the ‘bill of rights’ that says the kind of speech which is allowed its ‘freedom’? Where comes the constant call for ‘responsibility’ with ‘rights’? It is constantly banged out when it comes to the poor and the needy, the disenfranchised and the desparate, this ‘responsibility’, but obviously it does not even raise a murmur when it concerns the powerful and weathy, influential and ambitious.
This ‘freedom of speech’ that we all presume we have comes with the maturity of content. It is like driving a car, getting married, drinking alcohol or becoming a parent. Oh yes anyone will one day ‘meet the age’ critieria but that does not mean there is the maturity to hold such ‘rights’.
With ‘freedom of speech’ comes a duty of care like with all rights ( if we indeed do have it in Australia). Most ‘rights’ have to be earnt, considered against a sea of lowest common denominator stupidity and narrow-minded ignorance, as being worthwhile and held with due respect.
Some people lose their rights, through a lawful judgement.
This loss lets the rest of the citizenry know what will and won’t be tolerated.
‘Freedom of speech’ is a duty of care…to care for our community, our nation and our collective psychie…like with ‘freedom of movement’ and ‘freedom of congregation’ these are a part of a healthy and rich democracy. Already there are curbs to both of these freedoms brought about by the so called need to keep us ‘safe’.
What price ‘freedom of speech’?
What price the freedom of our peoples to be kept safe from the bad mouth, the bullying, the crassness of those with too much influence who have too little (old fashioned) etiquette, respect, consideration of others and basic regard for our collective humanity.
Great article – let’s hope more prominent Australians denounce such abuse. However, as for Vicky’s comments we are most certainly not 5. I have a 5 year old and spend much time with 5 year olds. I find them to be kind, fun, gentle, inclusive, non judgemental and compassionate. Whilst I totally get what she meant about us growing up, a counter argument could be maybe the grown ups of Australia and our politicians and public presenters could learn from the decency of our small children. They have not yet succumbed to the adult world that fears difference, uses superiority and abusive tactics in place of genuine curiosity in all things and problems to be solved.
Oh equally great concern to me are the vile people who invited him to speak, and how brayed with glee at his statements, the group of young Liberals coming up through the ranks, ie Alex Hawke etc, are vile, and they are to be feared.
Sorry, my last post was a typo au go go 🙂
Loz, who is Vicky and where do we see her comment?
Vicki O’Brien is a very talented emerging writer from the Sunshine Coast. You can see some of her work here: http://www.sunshinecoastatheists.com/2010/04/20/big-bang-barbecue-in-the-smart-state/
The remark is not from Vicki’s writing but occurred when a tradesman was doing renovations at her house. She happened to mention that she was an atheist, to which he responded, “Do you realize that means you’ll go to hell?”
Completely taken aback, Vicki, with typical forthrightness replied, “What? Are you fucking five???”
It’s such a useful phrase and fits far too many occasions.
LOVE IT! Must remember that phrase.
Terrific post! I had to share this on FB for my friends who may not know of your blog. Personally, I am not a huge supporter of Ms Gillard’s politics, in fact I feel politically she has been no great shakes. However, as the woman who broke the ‘glass ceiling’ and became our first female PM she deserves respect, both for the office and her courage.
Any woman who is ‘first’ knows she’ll be attacked on levels men will never have to face, and in Gillard’s case the pressures have been cruel and unremitting. She has come to power at a time when the right here is slavishly adopting the ‘astroturfing’ and other strategies of the US right wing, much to the detriment of Australian political life, and she is paying the penalty for daring to be a strong woman who uses her voice publicly.
I do agree with some of the comments here that those attending the dinner, who did nothing to remonstrate with Jones, in fact laughed at and apparently revelled in his comments, also deserve censure. Let’s hope that especially the elected officials who were in attendance get some heat. Saying “I was there but not listening” is just not good enough, really, although I suppose as Abbott uses “I was there but unaware at the time” so often, it’s par for the course now.
It’s another well-written article, I agree. But I wonder why you seem to feel, as per the title, why you’d need to justify defending anyone at all from this type of remark? I wonder why you felt you had to ‘look to evidence’ to show it wasn’t ‘true’? Even Andrew Bolt managed to simply condemn the comments in two lines.
I have no respect at all for Tony Abbott’s politics, but that doesn’t mean I’m in agreement with absolutely everything that’s said against him or done to him. Is your reaction perhaps symptomatic of an attitude towards Julia Gillard from those who disagree with her policies?
This is a genuine question, not a critical statement but I don’t expect a direct reply, just want you to ask yourself. Thanks for the space.
Jeremy, this is not a ‘justification’ but an explanation. Some of those supporting Jones last night, seemed to believe that those who found Jones’ remarks offensive must be Gillard supporters or, at the very least, be ignorant about her policies. Their tweets suggested that if I only understood what a [insert misogynistic swear word here] Gillard was, I would see that Jones’ insult was absolutely justified.
As it happens I am not a Gillard supporter and I felt strongly that the ‘she was asking for it’ defence should be quickly, loudly and comprehensively challenged.
I am not one of those who believes Gillard should be given the kid glove treatment because she is a woman. I am not one of those who believes I should support her because I am a woman. I am someone who believes in plain speaking and eschews the need to couch criticism that can be backed with evidence in ‘polite terms’. I am also someone who has a pathological hatred of liars. None of these was relevant in considering my reaction to Jones’ remark.
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone more self-reflective than me, and I can assure you that my reaction to Jones’ statement would have been exactly the same if it had been directed against Abbbott, Bishop, Pyne, Fred Nile, Jim Wallace or Pauline Hanson – all of whom I find almost as despicable as Jones, himself.
My point was that *no-one* deserves this kind of treatment. At some level we are all human beings and where basic respects are abandoned in the course of public debates, the nation suffers.
I live by the maxim, “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing”. Jones did evil. I refused to sit on my arse, say nothing, and be part of the problem. That’s the long and short of it really.
Brilliantly put. Nothing more to add.
Hi guys. I sent protest emails to that list. However, Harris Partners responded with a lengthy email noting that they similarly condemned Jones’ comments, and have never in fact paid to advertise on Alan Jones’ show. So, maybe if the author would like to check in with them, and perhaps remove their email from this list.
I have considered this but they are still putting money into 2GB.If they object to Jones’ comments let them put pressure on 2GB to sack him. As 2GB sponsors they have more clout than us and can use the flood of emails to argue that 2GB must take immediate and decisive action.
When I emailed the sponsors, I received this response from Harris Partners Real Estate.
Would you please remove their email address from your blog?
Thanks for your email.
In order to set the record straight, we do not advertise with Alan Jones. I am perplexed as to how or why Harris Partners Real Estate were added to the petition that is now doing the rounds.
Both my wife and I felt Alan Jones’ “shame” comments in relation to Prime Minister Julia Gilliard’s father John Gilliard passing away, were disgraceful and offensive.
Harris Partners does pay to advertise on Ross Greenwood’s 2GB Money News programme from time to time. It is non-political and in line with our target audience.
Any Harris Partners ads that may have run during Alan Jones’ programme were unpaid advertisements. Other than the complaint emails I received from telling me that we advertise on Alan Jones’ programme, I was totally unaware that we were ever featured on Jones’ show.
If you get the chance to forward this email to the person that associated us with Alan Jones and added us to the petition mail-out, I would be grateful.
Harris Partners Real Estate
This is an excellent commentary. I am not a Gillard supporter, but I am a supporter of basic human decency
Ms Gillard is a big girl and will get over it. As for apologies being given for the hurtful comments others have levelled at Mr Jones in the past? Oh yes, deafening silence.
Further, as for this sibscriber’s comment:
“However, as the woman who broke the ‘glass ceiling’ and became our first female PM she deserves respect, both for the office and her courage.”
I don’t give a toss if she is a woman or not. We need the best at the top. Ms Gillard will receive respect when she demonstrates she has ‘courage’ and isn’t a bare face liar.
That’s all folks.
You have cleverly missed the entire point of this article,Josh. Did you read it or did you just skim it?
There’s a difference between being disrespectful, and exhibiting a complete lack of empathy.
Australia does not have a black and white right of free speech; it is implied by the Constitution from the direct election of politicians. We have a ‘Right of Political Free Speech’ so that we can discuss politics freely and vote based on facts as we see them. Alan seems to have taken that several steps further to become the right to say whatever he likes about a politician.
I follow American politics to some extent and the degree to which some politicians there are utterly beholden to shock jocks is terrifying. Without compulsory enrolment and voting, mobilising a bloc of voters angry about some issue and ready to vote in a particular way becomes an important tactic in the US; lies and insults can influence elections there.
I think that Alan Jones is about to find out that there’s a limit to how far you can push the bullshit envelop before even his most Pavlovian listeners start to think that Julia Gilliard does not deserve to be treated like that.
Alan Jones speaking at SULC… is that nominative determinism?
I wonder – some time ago ( ABC classic FM) a ‘figure of education’ said: ” we do have to introduce RESPECT into schools again” … if it were not utterly sad, one could laughe… where has it gone ? A Jones and many more should lower their heads in shame – instead of being ‘role-models’ their dirty their own nest’ and the nations. It is always ‘ the little people ‘ who have to clean up after them. I truly like to ask about the values the parents of A Jones and the same minded have instolled into them – and I do believe only the best. We are our own makers.
And – ‘to be or become a Prime Minister’ one cannot study – the LEARNING is on the JOB. Ergo, mistakes are made and only with the distance of time HISTORY will tell us ……….
Again, I appreciate the sentiment, but we have to be careful about insisting on ‘respect’. Lies and studied ignorance deserve no respect. I do not think we should have to pussy foot around people who are dishonest, people who spread harmful propaganda, or people who seek to discriminate against others. But there is a world of difference between bluntly pointing out falsehoods and maligning the dead in order to attack someone. This is the point of this article.
I am not calling for ‘respectful debate’. I am calling for debate based on evidence, not ideology, and certainly not on personal, hurtful attacks.
What needs to be respected in public debates is ‘the truth’. By all means argue vehemently and passionately. If your opponent is lying, expose it! No-one should expect to come into the public square with propaganda, lies, half-truths and ‘evidence’ drawn from ideologically based ‘think tanks’ and expect to be treated with respect. No!
But, if in exposing your opponent’s flaws you are reduced to attacking them with their dead father, you have exposed yourself as a hateful, dishonest, propagandist and lost the debate by default.
How come no one has remarked about the twisted personality of of this horrible excuse of a man ? Your piece is a brilliant retort to the sewer politics of this man and those who support him and call him a friend. Has everyone forgotten about Chris Masters’ s JONESTOWN. The man was arrested for soliciting in a West End, London, men’ s toilet even though the charge was later dropped. AJ has proven he is a vile man, with massive internal personality difficulties as manifested in his public utterances over the years. Should we continue to berate his loud-mouth, smart-assed, vituperations ? Or, should we just simply pity this pathetic excuse of a man and never forgive those who calls for and celebrate his support.
Whether or not Jones was (allegedly) soliciting for sex in London really has no bearing on anything – in much the same way as Gillard’s father has no bearing on her political policies. It’sl a red herring. Focus on the lies, the hyperbole, the lazy, personal attacks which substitute for real debate based on evidence and reason. Focus on THESE. Whether Jone is straight, gay, asexual or a straight man who likes to have sex with men says absolutely nothing about his character. His words, do. Let’s focus on that or we are no better than he is.
Hin, there have been comments about his personality for some time. Take a look at his wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Jones_(radio_broadcaster)#Controversy
For a man who aspires to defend Australia and all that is good and holy he sure spends a lot of time defending Contempt of Court charges. Oh, and defamation of the armed forces… and Indigenous Australians.
Pity or contempt? I’d like to say that I pity him, if only because that would be a novel concept.
People like Alan Jones are the ones in our society who incite racial, cultural & gendercentric violence in the public arena. He is well aware of the small percentage of the public who do not need much encouragement to react in a way that the majority of us would never consider. They are socially & politically naive, not well educated & are easily lead astray by his racist, misogynistic & bully boy remarks. Shame on him & even bigger shame on 2GB if they do not remove him permanently from the public arena.
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Regarding the advertising/sponsorship issue: 2GB has been happy to pay Jones for years to spout hatred and vitriol. It seems to be in his DNA to behave like this and they are fully aware of it. Any company that sponsors 2GB is sponsoring a broadcaster that seems happy for such views to be espoused in its name. It’s a bit rich therefore for sponsors to say they don’t directly advertise on his show, therefore they are innocent. It will not be surprising if 2GB now axe Jones, but what about their culpability in this?
As for Jones: I’m quite happy for him to air his views from a soapbox somewhere as long as nobody pays him to do it. For his own good maybe he should be concentrating on some form of rehabilitation (is it possible?) so that one day in the future he might become a decent member of society
petition signed and shared.
Yet another excellent article well written.
Sadly, while I believe many of the comments above quite adequately deal with the pathetic and ignorant comments made by Jones, none appear to address what I see as the real problem – his “apology”. We all make mistakes from time to time [although Jones seems more prone than most].
In this case he could have said “I made a mistake in this case and I apologise unreservedly” – end of story. He did not do that. His apology was nothing more than a mealy-mouthed piece of self-serving ‘wriggle” which, in my estimation was rather self-justification than any form of apology. He was trying to “explain” the inexplicable. He shoud be doubly condemned.
He does not in my view represent Australian culture or the Australian sense of fair play. His “good” efforts referred to in previous articles are far outweighed by “bads” undoubteldy based on his sadly mistaken view that he knows all there is to know about everything worth knowing and that everyone should therefore follow his lead.
Regrettably, he does appear to be influential and that is a potentially dangerous state as he influences distrust, hatred, mysogny and negative partisan conservative views [I am conservative but stop way short of Alan Jones] among many, including our young people. He no doubt feels supported and justified by those conservative politicians he calls friends such as those who attended the function where the comments were made and either thought his remarks humourous or didn’t have the b…s to object.
Free speech must not include the right to inflame hatred or to make unjustifiable, unsupportable personal attacks on others – there is a balance to be had and Jones neither understands that nor cares to even consider it. He cares only for his personal notoriety and self-importance.
I agree Chris. I am a fierce advocate of free speech and I believe no-one has a ‘right’ not to be offended, but I do not hold that free speech should be completely unfettered.
Free speech is, by its nature, absolute. Who decides whether you, Chrys, are allowed to express a particular opinion? Is it Jim Wallace? Is it Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
If you do express an unpopular opinion it is on you to wear the social and commercial consequences that arise from such an expression. However, the State must not ever restrict you from expressing it. Because that would not be freedom of expression.
Ken, I agree that there should be very limited fetters on freedom of expression and agree also that the main quid pro quo is a willingness to accept the consequences when the court of public opinion indicates you have got it wrong. Mr Jones seems a little short on that and I suspect that one of the things that gets people so emotional about his comments is that they understand deep down that while campaigns such as this may have a temporary effect on him, in the end it’s just the kind of notoriety that allows him to continue and to be more successful. That’s the sad part in my view.
In passing it should be noted that there is not unfettered freedom of speech in this country – federal legislation [quite properly in my view] impinges on freedom of speech in relation to racial discrimination and vilification and includes things said in public as well as things done. I do note that Jones has recently been ordered to apologise for comments he made some time ago which I think must have gone close to offending in this regard.
There is a freedom of criticism of those who abuse their right to free speech, such as Alan Jones whose diatribe goes far beyond what the majority of civillised people will accept.
Well said Chrys, an excellent piece to which there is really very little to add. I’ll just say this on the subject of freedom of speech: as you correctly point out, it does not extend to the right to a radio show (more’s the pity, I’d love one). Having a radio show is inevitably based on certain criterea, including the purpose to which you put that soapbox. In the case of commercial radio, if sufficient people are sufficiently offended by your remarks, and are prepared to pressure sponsors over them, that is a commercial reality. I am extremely heartened by the extent to which this is happening. Let’s hope we can rid the airwaves of this vile creature and his obnoxious utterances.
This is not a freedom of speech issue as such. I do not challenge his right to hold or to express offensive opinions. He can express them to his family and friends just as any of us can. He can tweet them. He can get himself a blog like this one and see how many people he can get to read it (though one suspects his listeners aren’t big readers). However, I (and clearly many others) do not believe that views so far outside of the norms of basic human decency have any place in the mass media, and our own right to free speech allows us to say so in the strongest possible terms. And if that means he loses the privilege of his own radio show, so be it.
That said, freedom of speech is not, has never been and can never be, absolute. If it were it would infringe other rights, at least as fundamental, such as the freedom not to be killed. This is why, even in the US, which takes an extremely hard line view on the subject, courts have held that freedom of speech does not extend to the right to yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theatre. In most of Europe it has long been accepted that it does not extend to hate speech. In Britain, Jones would have been liable to a jail sentence for his part in the Cronulla riots. What he said would constitute an offence (Incitement to Racial Hatred) under the Race Relations Act. I find it difficult to understand that those comments resulted only in a slap on the wrist from the media regulator.
Jones has accepted the consequences. You are not calling for Jones to accept the consequences, you are just unhappy with what those consequences have been.
While you may wish that Jones either resigns or is dismissed, you respectfully have no say in whether these consequences occur or not.
It is 2GB’s right to decide how they run their business, who they broadcast and which consequences–if any–they apply to a broadcaster who has caused you outrage.
I’m not defending Jones’ comments. I am simply pointing out that Jones has–so far–accepted the *actual* consequences of his speech. He is under no obligation to accept any third party’s recommended consequences.
Christopher Hitchens considered yelling “fire” in a crowded theater just fine, and for very good reasons. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzoaFQfBO4U
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I thought the Gruen Report & the Hamster Wheel, last night, dealt very well with Mr. Jones!
I have belatedly added my name and comments to the petition to sack Jones
Below is the reasons I have given:
“Mr Jones is often reported to call for more of the old styled traditional values that made Australia a great country.
2GB should respect his wishes and sack him for his disrespectful comments.
I am old enough to remember when radio broadcasters were both polite and respectful of anyone in an official office especially the leader of our country. This kind of behaviour would not be tolerated in the Australia Alan Jones wants us to “