In Australia, there is the Law of the Nation: there are fundamental human rights: there are standards of moral decency, and then, there is journalism and the depraved political standards to which some journalists have sunk.
[Some written language in this opinion piece is brutal and confronting ; it details some actions by men and deserves public shaming. Nothing written here means to offend but this how it is and if we are going to deal with it, we must be able to say it!]
I did not want to write this. I hesitated and prevaricated; in the end, I knew I had to write something because although I am not a qualified journalist, I have material published in a public forum, and that puts me, in my opinion, in the same box as the rest of them.
These words came to me as I contemplated the weirdness of it all.
I refer to the utterly appalling political depravity displayed by individual members of the electronic media, some in the print media and the opportunistic, grab bag, of fringe Senators and MP’s from the minor parties and the Australian Labor Party.
And you will know, those that are reading this, that I refer to the orchestrated, sordid, morally bankrupt campaign to remove a man from his role in the Government because of unsubstantiated allegations about an event that occurred over thirty years ago.
Before I began to collect the words in my mind, I wondered what motivated the two or three journalists, from a public broadcaster, to act in this manner.
They claim to be investigative journalists, one of them wrote highly emotional stories about Cardinal Pell – and we know where that all ended – on the floor of the Australian High Court, chucked out, seven to nil.
Bond University lists as core subjects for its Degree in Journalism – Responsibility, Integrity and Civic Discourse.
Obviously, these journalists pay no mind to these requirements, and, in acting in that fashion, they tarnish the rest of the profession with their grubby standards.
This is not journalism. This is not investigative reporting.
This spiteful and devious misuse of the electronic media, to lower the standards of criminal justice in Australia.
The journalists involved do not like the fact the NSW Police have declined to pursue the matter due to lack of evidence.
In their judgement and having facts available to them that are not public knowledge, the NSW Police have made their decision.
This decision does not suit the journalists creating this toxic story; so they set out to corrupt the process of law.
All major current affairs journalists in the country have fiercely criticized these journalists’ actions.
As do I !
Why does the ABC allow this to continue?
Evidence of them withholding information about this story, which does not suit their case, has been detailed by other journalists.
It is clear, from even a casual examination, that the ABC News and Current Affair collective are engaged in advocacy for causes rather than journalism.
That is no secret, and I call it for what it is.
As I write this, legal action for defamation has been launched by Christian Porter against the ABC and one of their journalists in the Australian Federal Court.
I shall make no further comment on this matter until the Courts have determined the issue.
In a much broader sense, this whole matter, the disrespectful treatment of women by men, rumbles on across the streets of the nation, in the sewer of the social media and in our Federal Parliament.
More and more examples of sexual harassment, sexual assault and crimes of rape are being reported by women from the Federal Parliamentary employed staff, by women from the corporate world and by women from the entertainment world.
In the last twenty-four hours matters of men filming themselves, masturbating on the desks of female parliamentarians has been reported.
I stare at these reports and shake my head. I ask myself, What has happened to these males? What makes them do this?
I grew up in an Australia that was a different country to the one in which we now live. I was a Police Officer in South Australia for a very short time, but I spent most of my working life in the military as an Army Officer in the Australian and New Zealand Armies.
We saw combat. We knew S.E.Asia pretty well. We played hard, and we drank alcohol, lots of it!
After the military, I returned to the bush, living and working throughout remote regions of the outback, growing cattle, owning bush pubs.
Hard, challenging workplaces seemed where I was meant to be, along with plenty of other Australian men.
We respected women as equals in the demands of life in the bush; many times, they were better at it than we men were.
Vietnamese women in Communist combat forces were ferocious enemies and soldiers; we respected them as equals in that business.
Only in the last ten years, when I was the CEO of a very large organization did I experience the issue of workplace disrespect for women.
I was shown mobile phone photos from female executives who had received pictures of men’s erect penises! There were pictures of men’s penises plonked in wine glasses!
The owners of the penises were summarily sacked. I kicked them out! They threatened wrongful dismissal, I threatened court photos of their penises!
They slunk away, but I could not and still do not understand what caused these men to do this.
What has caused the moral standards of our communities to collapse into this grubby swamp.
I suppose it is fair to say that we are talking about 5% of the male population of the country who conduct themselves in this fashion. Maybe not even that much?
Millions of Australian men form wonderful partnerships in life and make our country what it is.
Discounting the media’s fascination with lascivious human behaviour, the elephant remains in the room, a huge grey presence, unmoving.
What makes a man think that he owns a woman and can beat her, bully her, dominate her as he feels like it?
What makes a man think that anyone would want to see his erect penis on a phone image?
What makes a man think that plonking his penis in a goblet of wine and sending the image out on Whatsapp is good.
I don’t know the answers to these questions.
I do know that these men have no place in my world or in the world of the men I knew and grew up with…I have treated them like the garbage that I think they are!
I do know that I become angry when I see the media running stories screeching that all men are bad, sexual predators; they are not, and the matter will not resolved by megaphone insults between men and women.
These matters are not for the education system to resolve; these are matters of parenting for young boys and girls; of teaching them respect for each other and the essential and different roles, each of them plays in our community life.
Standards of behaviour and respect for women when I was young, was a part of my life, and my behaviour was closely examined by my parents – who both worked hard and long in rural Australia.
Have our standards changed that much? Not in my house. Not in the houses of my friends.
But something is wrong: only open, honest and respectful discussion will deal with it.
It is my opinion that the answer to this resides in our homes and in the way we handle our children.
It is not for the Government to fix this – Government’s can’t!
Just like you cannot tax your way to prosperity – you cannot legislate your way to moral decency!
You just cannot!