Hypocrisy in hysteria
THE ABC’s Q& A program ( June 22) gave Zaky Mallah some free speech. Such diversity of views was bad, according to the barrage of right- wing counter- attacks.
On Q& A in 2010, Prime Minister John Howard said of David Hicks: “Isn’t it a great country that allows this exchange to occur.”
Not any more, John. Mallah is a convicted criminal; but the Q& A program was about terrorism issues. His ideology is repulsive to many, but public debate is an arena where his views can be aired and rebuked soundly by experts and intelligent people.
Unlike LNP’s Steve Ciobo. Tabloid/ gotcha questions only work when the target has biases and hatreds bubbling beneath the surface. Ciobo took the bait with relish. Abbott and his Liberal ministers might decide who gets into Australia.
Thank God Ciobo et al don’t get to decide who gets kicked out. Thank God we still have a judicial system to determine that, despite Abbott’s concerns about the “perils” of relying on the courts to decide citizenship.
So, Mallah + ABC = bad. Like Pavlov’s dog, the papers, Andrew Bolt, Radio 2GB etc condemned the ABC. But hang on; Mallah has done this before.
In the past, he appeared on Channel 7, 10, and The Project, exercising his free speech. In 2012, The Australian interviewed him, concluding “he was reformed”.
These must be examples of acceptable use of free speech, because Bolt, Jones and Hadley did not consider this traitorous. Whose side are you on, Bolt? Whichever one suits your bias?
One remaining notion is irony. There are calls for ABC censorship, yet silence over Abbott’s ruling banning his ministers from Q& A appearances. ( Memo to Tony: Jeff Kennett banned The 7.30 Report back in the ’ 90s. That didn’t work either.) The ABC unwisely put a third- rate crim on the bronze medal dais.
The LNP reaction and hysterical headlines ensured Mallah stayed there and raised him to a celebrity, gold medal position.
Zaky Mallah, a one- time terror suspect, appeared on several networks besides the ABC.