Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Warren Entsch’

Trying for Pyne and Entsch accountability on @MRowlandMP baby leave

In Ideology, Industrial Relations, Liberal Party, Margo Kingston, Misogyny, Paid Parental LEave on May 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM
Refused leave to look after her sick daughter: Michelle Rowland with daughter Octavia Chaaya and husband Michael Chaaya. Photo: Supplied - The Age

Refused leave to look after her sick daughter: Michelle Rowland with daughter Octavia Chaaya and husband Michael Chaaya. Photo: Supplied – The Age

By Margo Kingston

May 21, 2013

I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about the Coalition’s May 16 response to the revelation of its decision to refuse Labor MP Michelle Rowland a pair to be with her ill baby.

Christopher Pyne, the likely new head of government business in the House of Representatives,  and Warren Entsch, the likely chief whip in an Abbott Government, made several false statements to the public about the matter which they have not withdrawn. Neither have apologised to Ms Rowland for relying on that false information to question her behaviour as a mother. Mr Abbott has not been questioned about their behaviour, and Mr Pyne has sought to erase his statements from the public record by failing to post the transcript on his website

http://www.pyneonline.com.au/category/media/transcripts

I believe it is a baseline responsibility of political journalists to require that politicians tell the truth to the public. If they don’t, more politicians will lie more often, and the public will be more misinformed than they already are. It’s an accountability responsibility of the fourth estate which involves seeking to uncover the truth and insisting that politicians who have not told the truth correct the record and explain the reasons for their falsehoods.

Last Thursday, May 16, News Limited papers published the news that Mr Entsch had refused Ms Rowland’s request for permission to return to Sydney early to be with her sick baby.

Press gallery journos on morning duty outside the doors of Parliament House, and the gallery, led by Fairfax media, Nine news and ABC radio, did a strong job getting most of the truth and the lies on the public record. Due to Pyne’s transcript cover-up, the record of his doorstop was missing, and I published it after Fairfax online editor Tim Lester kindly sent me the audio feed available to the Press Gallery.

But hey, the issue blew up on budget reply day and Press Gallery journos moved on. Fair enough – there’s a lot fewer of them these days, and they have many more platforms to fill.

So there’s a gap that new media needs to fill. We can’t do the job as well, of course, because we aren’t backed by big media employers and thus don’t have the power to pressure politicians to answer our questions. But we can put on the record the fact that politicians who have misled the people have been asked to correct false statements.

My first step was to DM Ms Rowland asking her to write a piece detailing her version of exactly what happened. And that’s when I realised that there is yet another factor in play in the brave new world of public affairs that I hadn’t comprehended – the social media pressure on politicians not to pursue stories to protect themselves from harm.

Ms Rowland said she didn’t want to write about her ordeal because she had already been falsely accused of playing politics with her child and needed to move on. As a result of statements by Mr Entsch questioning the quality of her care for her baby, she said she had been bombarded with tweets and emails saying, among other things, that she was heartless mother and would be referred to DOCS (the NSW Department of Children’s Services). ‘I don’t want crazies to mess with my mind on this. I’m a first time mother and this is the first time my baby has been this sick.’

She was happy to give me the facts as she knew them, and I talked her into letting me quote her for this story.

So here we go. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s it all about, the Coalition no show for disability, no to MP to care for sick baby?

In Federal Election, Health, NDIS, Noely Neate on May 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Gillardcard

By Noely Neate

May 16, 2013

If you missed it, see last night’s awe inspiring rant by Mr Richard Chirgwin about the Coalition not bothering to turn up for the introduction of the Disability Care Bill. I had hoped that our media would report this lack of respect this morning, but no.

Did you know that Mr Abbott’s reply speech to the budget is more important than a mother taking time off work to care for her sick baby? It is. The Coalition did not grant ALP MP Michelle Rowland a ‘pair’ so she could fly home to care for 14 month old baby: Opposition blocks bid to be with sick baby.

Audio

So let’s re-cap. In one 24 hour period, our Coalition Opposition and soon to be our Rulers as the Australian media keep telling me (personally I would prefer to actually vote first) have insulted every disabled person in this country by not bothering to attend the Bill’s introduction.  I am sure the Coalition will backtrack on Ms Rowland’s dilemma, and there will be excuses of “Not being aware of the seriousness of the pairing request” blah blah.

What the Coalition cannot backtrack on is their non-attendance in Parliament yesterday.  Yes a budget is important, but it happens every year. This historic Bill is a one-off.  It should have been a day of celebration for the disabled, their families and their friends, and a celebration of our nation shared by all!

The relief for so many in this country who live in fear that they will die and not be able to care for adult disabled children is more important than a budget response. The fact that a family with a disabled child will be able to move State to better their circumstances if the opportunity arises due to standard nation-wide care is more important than a budget response. The simple promise that carers of the many disabled in this country have some surety about the future of their families is more important than a budget response.

I could give many more examples.  The very least the Coalition could have done was attend this sitting to show that they supported these people.

It has been suggested this morning that the ‘No-Show’ is not really that big a deal, as it has already been made clear that they would support it. I am sorry, but I disagree. Our MPs are employed to represent US, the Australian people, in the electorates where they were privileged enough to receive a vote of confidence from us, that they would represent our interests to the best of their ability.  Unless all these members that did not bother turning up for Parliament do not have any disabled in their electorates, I fail to see how that is representing their electorate?

Mr Abbott will have nothing to offer in his Budget reply except to say ‘This is a bad Government, ‘This Government can’t be trusted” blah blah.  You can guarantee that all of the Coalition have bums on seats to cheer Mr Abbott on.

The media are already setting the stage for Mr Abbott’s wonderful reply speech, as it will be – just ask them. It has been the lead story on all the TV stations.  Not one whimper about the total lack of respect afforded the disabled community yesterday, barely a mention of the pairing rejection. though anyone want to take odds when they invariably backflip on that there will be plenty of airtime given to it.  The producers of these News shows that decided the lack of support for this bill and blatant disrespect shown to the disabled by the Coalition was NOT news should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Updated: Questions for Mr Abbott at the National Press Club

In Ashby Conspiracy, Margo Kingston on January 30, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Sky_Abbott_31012013.Still010

January 31 Press Club review: There are many reasons why the Canberra Press Gallery is failing to fulfil its democratic role. A collapse in media revenues, 24 hour filing, no time to stay with a story and investigate it, an atmosphere which sees journos run from one ephemeral topic to another in waves, an exodus of experienced practitioners with a corporate memory, the removal of quality newspapers as the bedrock of serious journalism…

When an institution is in trouble, leadership is required.

I was proud of the gallery I once belonged to today. It was on trial, and it delivered a solid performance. I was moved to tears, though, by the leadership of two of its most experienced, rational, hard-working, intelligent members. I know both of them. They are strong, fearless, and dedicated to the core values of journalism.

They broke Abbott’s silence on Ashby, and Laura Tingle also called Abbott on his policy of turning his back on hard questions.

As a result, they have opened a crack in the Coalition’s strategy of refusing to address the implications of the smoking gun Federal Court judgement on Ashby. Then another experienced press gallery journo, Lyndal Curtis, got an answer from Abbott on Thomson that removed all his clothes regarding his backing for Mal Brough. It is now up to the journo colleagues of these three women to pick up the ball and run with it.

Several days ago I urged citizen journos to find great MSM journos and support their work:

I think in terms of collaboration between Social Media and committed MSM journos. Old media is fighting for survival and new media can’t thrive without quality journalism reaching a broad audience. Flux. Each of us is helping shape what is to come.

The media silence post Ashby is system failure. Many MSM journos feel it too. If a way is not found to get the truth a dangerous line will have been crossed in terms of democratic checks and balances.

The Court has done its job. Politicians feel they cannot press for official accountability because of MSM silence. Social Media has demanded MSM action for 5 weeks yet even Richard Ackland’s column and the Sunshine Coast Daily’s devastating interview with Brough, in which he lied about the Press Gallery, drew nothing in response.

So Social Media must think laterally. And we are. And we must give maximum support to MSM journos who see their work as a vocation and are prepared to fight for its values.

Here is Laura Tingle’s question and Abbott’s answer, Lenore Taylor’s follow-up and his answer to her and Lyndal Curtis’s inspired question on Thomson. Abbott lied on Brough’s transparency. He promised that Brough would now answer questions. He promised to reveal the statistics on his press gallery press conferences. He failed to answer other points. And by his own words about the PM’s position on Thomson he condemned Brough to dis-endorsement – if journos keep the pressure on.