Hypocrisy in hys­te­ria

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION - DAVID BOWKER, Bush­land Beach.

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.

That’s dumb.

Pic­ture: CHAN­NEL 10

Zaky Mal­lah, a one- time terror sus­pect, ap­peared on sev­eral net­works be­sides the ABC.

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