Quick Post: Should Ministers provide a transcript of their press conferences?

Some things are beyond doubt.  The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, is actually a terrible human being.  I don’t know how he convinces himself each day that he’s not a terrible human being.  If I had his job and I was implementing the policy that he advocates, I would do little else but sob.  I really would.

Part of his policy is to block the media from doing its job.  It’s a stupid policy because it’s abandoning the public debate to the megaphones and outrage-stirrers.  If you don’t have the Government giving an authoritative account of what’s going on, the public is left with rumours, whispers, and innuendo.  Worse, the Minister appears to take delight in frustrating the media.

Being such a toxic guy, it’s difficult not to believe him guilty of every conspiracy.  The Guardian‘s Oliver Laughland has drawn attention to the transcript provided by the Minister’s office of the weekly Operation Sovereign Borders Press Event:

[tweet https://twitter.com/oliverlaughland/status/415341371742900225]

The criticism that is emerging from this is that quite a number of the questions asked by journalists aren’t being recorded.

Continue reading “Quick Post: Should Ministers provide a transcript of their press conferences?”

We clawed, we chained our hearts in vain… Why you should use the phrase ‘illegal entrants’ #auspol #asylumseekers

Language is important.  Over at AusOpinion, I’ve argued that claims of ‘neutral’ and ‘apolitical’ language are dangerous lies (link broken).  There is, in fact, no way of describing something in completely neutral terms (whatever ‘neutral’ may mean).

As part of my set up to discuss something even more interesting than language — images — I made a quick mention of the asylum seeker debate.

The Government — perhaps inspired by Genesis 2:19 — has begun a process of renaming the policy issues formed of the air, land, and sea.  Under the ‘Call A Spade A Spade‘ policy, ‘asylum seekers’ (already a contentious term — are all people who arrive by boat seeking asylum?) will be called ‘illegal entrants’ (a term the minister assures us is analogous to ‘stolen goods’).  Shadow Immigration Minister, Richard Marles, complained about the terminology, stating that it was ‘language being used for a political purpose’ which ‘clouds the debate and it acts to work against trying to achieve bipartisanship in the area of immigration policy.’  He didn’t explain what he meant by implying that language could be used for a non-political purpose, or why bipartisanship was the most important goal of immigration policy. [Source]

One day, I’ll learn my lesson and be sufficiently wise to leave well enough alone.  That day’s not today.

Many people are — entirely understandably — outraged at the new terminology.  They believe — entirely incorrectly — that other words and phrases are more ‘neutral’ or more ‘correct’.  Blinded by outrage, they don’t see that the change in terminology provides an excellent opportunity for asylum seeker activists to change the course of the public discussion.

Continue reading “We clawed, we chained our hearts in vain… Why you should use the phrase ‘illegal entrants’ #auspol #asylumseekers”