NATIONAL AFFAIRS: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
Left demonises opponents on environment, same-sex laws
, June 23, 2012
Australians have a healthy dislike of abusive or violent behaviour, as seen in the public criticism of Labor MP Belinda Neal, and negative reaction to Kevin Rudd’s treatment of an unfortunate RAAF flight attendant on a VIP flight a few years ago.
The left have exploited this sentiment by claiming that those who oppose the carbon tax and legalised same-sex coupling are engaged in threatening behaviour.
One instance came in allegations, first printed in the Canberra Times in June 2011, which stated that unnamed climate scientists at the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute had been subjected to death threats, and as a result had been moved to more secure premises.
These reports were picked up by ABC News, and various Australian TV and radio networks, and then by various international media, including the UK Guardian newspaper and Nature magazine.
The ABC News report, according to its website, headlined it, “Death threats sent to top climate scientists”.
It said, “Several of Australia’s top climate change scientists at the Australian National University have been subjected to a campaign of death threats, forcing the university to tighten security.” (June 4, 2011).
The clear implication was that what the ABC calls “climate sceptics” engage in violent and threatening conduct against the hapless scientists.
A blogger, Mark Hendrickx, then applied under Freedom of Information laws for access to the emails from the Australian National University, but it refused to release them.
Mr Hendrickx then lodged an appeal which led to an astonishing result. The ANU released 11 emails received over a two-year period, which showed some abuse but none of them contained death threats. They were examined by the Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim, who confirmed that there were no death threats in them.
The Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, told the Australian, “For the record, there were no alleged death threats except when journalists picked up the story.”
How did the ABC report the matter?
The ABC said, “Following the release of specific emails under Freedom of Information request, climate change sceptics have claimed that the released emails contradict suggestions that any death threats were received, but a spokesperson for the ANU says the university is standing by its claims that death threats were received.”
In other words, despite clear evidence that the claimed death threats against ANU scientists were incorrect, the ABC continued to claim that they were received.
The Australian, which has published several reports on the saga, submitted a series of questions about the issue to the Canberra Times, which published the original article alleging that the climate scientists had received death threats. At the time of writing, there had been no response from the Canberra Times.
The next case involves the push for “same-sex marriage”. After the 2010 federal election, Greens MP Adam Bandt moved, with the ALP’s support, that members of parliament consult their constituents on the issue.
Subsequently, more than 20 MPs reported to Parliament on the issue. Most said that their constituents did not want any change in the law.
Notwithstanding this, Mr Bandt has moved to amend the Marriage Act. There are now three bills before federal Parliament on the issue. Currently, there are both Senate and House of Representatives inquiries, to which the public have been invited to make submissions.
The huge public interest in the issue is seen in the fact that over 75,000 submissions have reportedly been received by the Senate inquiry.
Having launched a campaign which attacks people who support the present law on marriage as “homophobes”, several of those supporting the change have denounced what they claim as “anti-gay marriage hate mail” by supporters of the present law.
Greens MP Adam Bandt was quoted in the National Times as saying, “The attacks and homophobia we have all experienced on Twitter, Facebook and the street will not deter us from standing up for what is right.”
Bandt said he had received dozens of “vitriolic emails”.
Melbourne’s Sunday Age carried a report headed, “Pro-gay marriage MPs get hate mail”.
It said: “Federal MPs advocating same-sex marriage have received a barrage of hate mail, including accusations they are supporting sexual dysfunction and taking away free speech.
“Several MPs from all sides of politics, including senior ministers Penny Wong and Anthony Albanese, Labor MP Stephen Jones, Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young and New South Wales Liberal MP Catherine Cusack, have received angry responses to their support for same-sex marriage.”
Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported Mr Bandt saying that “he’s worried and alarmed by the hate mail he’s received over his support for same-sex marriage” (March 16, 2012).
The implication is clear: it is acceptable to abuse critics of same-sex coupling as homophobic; but supporters of the present law who express their views to their MPs are engaged in “hate mail”.