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Dutton Calls For Journalists Who Dare Question Border Force To Be Sent To Re-Education Camps

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/08/2020 - 9:01am in


Australia’s Minister for the Dark Arts, Peter Dutton has called upon journalists who dare to question either him or his minions over at Australian Border Force to be sent to re-education camps so that they can understand how things now work.

”What this country’s journalists need to understand is that Australian Border Force and myself are doing our best to make the country safe,” said Minister Dutton. ”And you do not question those in charge.”

”I cannot believe the audacity of journalists, daring to challenge the almighty Peter Dutton and his minions!”

When asked why he was so reluctant to take questions, a livid Minister Dutton said: ”You really are starting to get on my nerves, little man.”

”You need to maybe start thinking about whose side you are on – Team Dutton or Team End-up-on-Christmas Island?”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, you’ve got me all rattled. I need to calm down by strangling a puppy or three.”

Mark Williamson


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What’s wrong with “cancel culture”?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 30/07/2020 - 4:34pm in

“Cancel culture” has recently been in the news as a threat to free speech and open debate, most notably with the publication the other week of that open letter in Harpers. Cancelling is essentially a kind of crowdsourced attempt to boycott and ostracise individuals for their words or actions, sometimes including calls for them they be fired from their jobs or denied contracts and opportunities by media organisations. In the democratic space of social media this can sometimes tip over into unpleasant mobbing and sometimes bullying. But is “cancelling” people always wrong? Is the practice always an attack on the norms of free speech and open debate? Might cancelling some people be necessary to ensure others get the voice and platform to which they are entitled?

One objection to “cancellation” is that it chills open debate and makes people self-censor. But the problem with this critique is that some speech should be chilled and sometimes people ought to self-censor. A society that refuses to tolerate speech like David Starkey’s recent racist remarks about “damn blacks” and the slave trade is better for it, and it is a pity that Starkey didn’t think twice before uttering them. Now that he has come out with such language, he’s been cancelled, and rightly so.

It is easy to think about free speech and open debate as just being about whether people are censored or punished by the law. But the cancel culture furore tells us that such a model is inadequate. The barriers to speech are not just about the threat from the state but also about the social atmosphere in which speech is conducted and about who has the standing to speak and what kinds of speech are acceptable to others. People can have their voices amplified or silenced by their wealth, connections or prestige but also by other speech which aims to deny them the right to participate on equal terms with others.

As Jeremy Waldron has argued in his book The Harm in Hate Speech, racist speech aims not just at hurting the feelings of its victims or expressing a view but at reconstituting the public arena of democratic debate and argument so that some people are not seen as forming a proper part of it. It says that those people are not a part of “us” and that their opinions and arguments have no place as we decide where our country should go. Racist speech by some also legitimizes and emboldens racist speech and opinion by others, telling bigots that they are not alone, that others think as they do, and strengthens an ideal of exclusive community based on ethnic or racial lines. Anti-racist speech, has the opposite effect, it affirms a view that those targeted by the racists, be they black, or Asian, or Muslim, are full members of the democratic political community in good standing with as good a right to a say as anyone. It also reinforces a social norm about what may not be said, telling those who are tempted to stigmatize migrants or minorities that they will pay a price for doing so.

The role that speech plays in defining who is and isn’t included in our vision of democratic community can have powerful real-world consequences. If, for example, some people come to be seen as “not really British” on the grounds of their race or religion, notwithstanding their formal citizenship or lifetime participation in society, then their interests matter less in political conversation and it becomes easier to subject them to cruel and exclusionary policies. One way to understand the ease with which the victims of the Windrush scandal could lose their jobs, their homes, their liberty or be deported to far-away countries, is that in the public imaginary that is partly constituted by speech, many people did not see them as proper members with equal standing to others.

Racist speech is just one example that makes clear how the practice of open discussion isn’t simply a matter of unfettered conversation among people who are already present but also involves choices about who gets to speak and involves sensitivity to the way that speech by some has the effect either of depriving others of a voice or of making it impossible for others to hear what they say. A society which is full of highly sexualized messages about women is also a society in which it is harder for women to get a hearing about sexual violence and income inequality. A society where trans people are the objects of constant ridicule, or are represented as dangerous, is one in which it is also more difficult for them to argue for their rights and have their interests taken seriously.

Much of the pushback against cancel culture has come from prominent journalists and intellectuals who perceive every negative reaction from ordinary people on social media as an affront. Ironically, while being quick to take offence themselves they demand that those less powerful than they are should toughen up and not be such “snowflakes”. But if we take seriously the idea that speech can silence speech or make it unhearable, then a concern with whether the heckling of cancel culture makes it harder to say some things also has to take account of the fact that saying those very things can make it harder for other voices to be heard.

A one-sided view of the row about cancellation risks having real-world consequences for open debate and free expression in the UK as writers on the political right, convinced that those who stand up against hate speech only do so because indoctrinated at university by talk of intersectionality and oppression, demand government action in higher education or against the BBC. If such attempts succeed, far from making speech freer, they will cause a narrowing of the space of public discourse and a silencing of significant viewpoints in a way that “cancel culture” has not.

Coronavirus dashboard for July 28: the “pain threshold” exists, and leads to a decline in new cases

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/07/2020 - 11:45pm in

Coronavirus dashboard for July 28: the “pain threshold” exists, and leads to a decline in new cases   Total US coronavirus cases: 4,275,188 Average daily cases last 7 days: 65,896 Total US coronavirus deaths: 140,309 Average daily deaths last 7 days: 1,004 (Source: COVID Tracking Project) Several months ago I wrote: my forecast over the past […]

How the Pandemic May Change the Way We Get Our News

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/07/2020 - 7:17am in

Print editions of newspapers and magazines have taken significant hits across the world as financial setbacks caused by COVID-19 rip through newsrooms. Will they disappear after the pandemic? Reporting from The Journalism Crisis Project Continue reading

The post How the Pandemic May Change the Way We Get Our News appeared first on

Just Some Conversation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 28/07/2020 - 9:47pm in

“Republicans finally get “death panels,” Hullabaloo, Tom Sullivan, July, 26, 2020 Dr. Jose Vasquez, the health officer for Starr County, Texas located on the US-Mexico border “The situation is desperate.” At the only hospital in the county, over 50% of patients are testing positive for the COVID-19 virus — 40 new coronavirus cases were reported […]

Journalism Students Told To Sleep With Barnaby If They Want To Work In The Industry

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 27/07/2020 - 7:00am in


Aspiring journalists have been told that instead of university or TAFE, they should instead consider sleeping with the Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce to progress their journalistic careers.

“The days of cadet-ships and graduate positions are over, as newspapers and magazines are struggling to survive,” said a journalist who wished to speak off the record. ”If you are a young journalist keen to land a column that isn’t paid for by Patreon, then your best bet is to have a fling with Barnaby.”

When reached for comment on his influence on the world of journalism, Barnaby Joyce said: ”Anything I can do to help a lady get a leg over, er a leg up in the world, I’m happy to do.”

”In fact, just this afternoon I was talking to the University of New England about adding a unit to their journalism degree that allows students to work closely with me.”

”Any students wishing to apply should just send me a copy of your measurements, err I mean resume, and I’ll be in touch.”

Mark Williamson


You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook

We’re also on Patreon:

The (un)Australian Live At The Newsagency Recorded live, to purchase click here:

Dig Him Up!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 25/07/2020 - 11:38am in

Dig Him Up! by Ken Melvin On our TV and computer screens we saw right-winged protesters armed with semiautomatic weapons displaying swastikas, nooses, and replicas of supposed confederate battle flags guarding the entrance and filling the chambers of Michigan’s State Capitol. How did they get by with this? Does the Second Amendment of the US […]

School openings need….

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/07/2020 - 8:50pm in

Via Diana Ravitch’s blog on a Time magazine article What the U.S. Can Learn from 3 Countries About Reopening: TIME Magazine just published a story about school reopening in Denmark, South Korea, and Israel, with lessons for the U.S. Lesson #1 from Denmark: Get the virus under control before reopening schools. Unlike Denmark, the United States is bungling […]


Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/07/2020 - 10:36pm in

Selection by Ken Melvin The times they are a changing. And they are changing at pandemic speed. Five months ago is ancient history. Now is a but a fleeting interval. From now, the future. What will our world look like six months from now? What will it look like in three years? So much for […]

The 2020 Presidential election nowcast based on State polling: Trump support deteriorating even in red States

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/07/2020 - 8:40pm in

The 2020 Presidential election nowcast based on State polling: Trump support deteriorating even in red States For the past four weeks I have posted a projection of the Electoral College vote based solely on State rather than national polls (since after all that is how the College operates) that have been reported in the last […]