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My Mistake – Are the Right capable of learning?

August 12, 2018 - 19:18 -- Editor

This month I was reminded of a time when Russell Crowe got himself a crew cut, donned all the Nazi regalia and starred in a little flick called Romper Stomper. It was a film that was highly controversial and confrontational at the time. Now however people like Crowe’s character Hando are not such underground figures, in fact, thanks to the likes of Channel 7 and Sky News, neo-Nazis like him are now becoming mainstream commentators. Perhaps it’s fitting that Foxtel has made a current series of Romper Stomper.

After all of the controversy when Channel 7 aired the views of neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell, Sky News’ decision to invite Cottrell on air for a chat had the appearance of deliberately dog whistling to racists. It is not clear what kind of legitimate political commentary Sky were expecting from a bloke who thinks every school classroom should have an Adolph Hitler portrait in it, and brags of physically intimidating women, but fair to say that no words of wisdom left his lips that evening, or ever for that matter.

This interview came shortly after Sky News commentator and News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt wrote a piece that talked of Australia losing its identity, taking aim at many races as well as Muslims and Jews. News Ltd in their wisdom chose to publish the column and accompany it with a cartoon that is reminiscent of a mural in England that has been widely criticised for being anti-Semitic.

Mural Merge

The outrage to the Cottrell interview was no doubt expected, and Sky reacted quickly to try and stem the bleeding. Craig Emerson quit his position at Sky. The online activist group Sleeping Giants promptly starting lobbying advertisers like Qantas to dump Sky after social media went into meltdown. Blair Cottrell reacted to the controversy by putting out a Tweet that joked about raping Sky host Laura Jayes.

However it was the reaction of Victorian Transport Minister Jacinta Allan that caused the most controversy and perhaps showed us just how remorseful Sky News truly were, and what they’d learnt from entire ugly episode.

Jacinta Allan made a decision to change the channel on the televisions at railway stations in Victoria that were airing Sky News. Allen stated:

“Hatred and racism have no place on our screens or in our community.”

Rather than Sky News sitting down with the Minister and seeking to put forward a plan to ensure the promotion of neo-Nazi’s wouldn’t happen again, they instead aired guest after guest who stated that Jacinta Allan’s actions were nothing less than fascism. Apparently airing a neo-Nazi and normalising his views is forgivable, but changing the channel somehow makes you a fascist.

Seems like Sky News have learnt zip.

Blair Cottrell & interviewer and former NT Coalition Minister Adam Giles Image - Twitter

Blair Cottrell & interviewer and former NT Coalition Minister Adam GilesImage – Twitter

Someone else who appears to have learnt zip is shock-jock Ray Hadley. But perhaps now he’s catching on.

Ray’s son Daniel, a police officer, was busted for trying to buy drugs earlier this month. Ray’s desperate and teary pleas to be seen as some sort of victim at his press conference had some in the media reaching for the violins, and many others reaching for the barf bag.

Hadley wanted the world to know that his son Daniel had been battling mental health issues, and claimed he hadn’t seen any of this coming.

For me it was a strange spectacle watching Hadley having a public meltdown. As much as I don’t agree with him on virtually anything, at the same time I don’t like to see anyone go through this kind of mental trauma. If anything good can come of this, it is that Ray Hadley may learn to take his angry hat off from time to time and replace it with an understanding hat. However, I won’t be holding my breath waiting.

Ray Hadley struggles through his press conference. Image - News.com

Ray Hadley struggles through his press conference.Image – News.com

This public airing of the Hadley laundry took me back to October 21st 2014 when Ray Hadley put me “on notice”, primarily for publishing just some of the allegations regarding his son Daniels behaviour. These allegations I wrote about  for Independent Australia in 2013 could, and in hindsight perhaps should, have been taken as a sign of trouble with Daniel, given they involved allegations of bullying behaviour, intoxication, and violence, but instead Ray chose to direct his attention to attacking anyone who didn’t take his word as gospel.

Daniel Hadley was busted for attempting to purchase cocaine, and was found with 0.79 grams of cocaine in his possession. Given that NSW probably doesn’t need a coked-up cop with multiple allegations of bullying and a self-claimed mental health issue on the streets with a gun and a badge he has understandably been suspended.

Ray should perhaps consider himself and Daniel lucky that it was cocaine and not ice given the often-violent side effects ice brings about.

Ray may remember ice? It was the “epidemic” that Peter Dutton and so many of his fellow right-wing commentators used to talk up before someone thought up the idea of black gangs in Melbourne. It hasn’t had a great deal of air time since.

But back to cocaine. It’s the drug of the common man. The affordable high. At least you could be forgiven for assuming so if Daniel Hadley can afford it on a humble cops salary right? Or perhaps Daniel had another source of income?

Maybe we need a reminder that cocaine is not the common mans drug? Perhaps someone from the silver spoon could remind us all that cocaine should still be considered the Dom Perignon of drugs, like it was in the 80’s and 90’s.

Well, the Prime Ministers family is here to help.

Malcolm Turnbull’s nephew, Harry Hughes, a former staffer of Liberal MP and NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts, also hit the news this month after being busted with a similar amount of cocaine to Daniel.

The Australian, in reporting this cocaine bust, once again displayed where their bread is buttered, describing Mr Hughes as the “nephew of Lucy Turnbull” and leaving the PM out of the picture. Perhaps News Ltd don’t understand how relatives work and think family trees are something to do with potential logging sites?

The amount of cocaine found in Daniel Hadley and Harry Hughes’ possession has an estimated street value of $200, meaning a gram of it would cost someone about the same as a Newstart recipient is meant to live off for an entire week. Think about that next time you hear Ray Hadley talk about welfare recipients being drug addicts and bludgers, or Malcolm Turnbull saying that Newstart payments are enough to live off. It looks like they wouldn’t even cover a night out for his nephew.

If Daniel Hadley’s issues are indeed mental health related then I certainly hope he receives the appropriate care and rehabilitation and makes a full recovery. I also hope that his father may gain a better understanding of the consequences of stress and take that into consideration the next time he thinks about bullying someone, or stigmatising part of the community on his radio programme.

As for his fellow commentators at Sky and News Ltd, I fear nothing can change their attitudes.

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