Published first on Online Opinion

Friday 20th April 2012

Fourth estate in fine state

By Jim Wallace

Following the Finkelstein Inquiry the press was ablaze with the dangers to freedom of speech and expression the report carried in wanting to impose a government regulator on the media.

Henry Parkes was invoked for his belief that, "The newspaper press affords the truest safety to the infant liberties of the Australian people." The indignation was particularly strong given, as former Howard government minister David Kemp put it, the proposal came from an ex judge, and therefore a "profession that had been relied on to protect our liberties."

And yet that same press has allowed an outrageous travesty of free speech to pass almost unchallenged by its own Press Council in a ruling against Margaret Court giving her opinion on gay marriage and particularly the widely spread and unproven assertion that homosexuality is predetermined - that it is not a choice.

Never mind that the Genome Project mapped the genetic makeup of the whole human body without finding a gay gene or that even homosexual activists and academics like Prof John D'Emilio in the US have said the scientific evidence for predetermination is "as thin as a reed". Still it seems you are not allowed to advance even the idea that it might be a matter of choice. The profession that we might have expected to protect our liberties has decided against this idea.

Presumably it has independent and indisputable scientific evidence not available to the rest of us. Evidence so secret the very future of the world would be threatened by its being made known, and certainly so devastating that it is prepared to sacrifice its commitment as a profession to the freedom of speech it is otherwise always quick to claim is the bedrock of democracy and free societies.

Now having worked for years in Defence, I understand that in these cases we have to accept instead a bland statement devoid of detail, and in the interests of protecting our covert academic sources and national security. This appears to be what the Council has done here.

While it ordered the insertion of its finding in the online version of Court's article it excused the printed version because it had published in parallel an article by Doug Pollard, a broadcaster on gay radio station Joy FM, asserting that science proved homosexuality was not a choice without offering a shred of evidence. Certainly having branded Margaret Court's opinion as "very probably inaccurate and potentially dangerous" and needing to have an "accompanying rebuttal (preferably from an authoritative source)", I can be sure they will have carried out their due diligence on Pollard's article despite its obvious evidence-free rhetoric. Or can I?

This lazy ruling by a Council against whom there is no avenue for appeal is an outrageous capitulation to homosexual activists aggressively intolerant of any position which does not line up with their views. It is bad enough that we have the public demonization of any alternate voices by charges of bigotry, gay hate and homophobia, without the profession we rely on most to protect freedom of expression aiding and abetting its public propaganda.

The issue of gay marriage and perhaps more importantly what our children are taught about homosexuality, is critical for our society. It is to decide how we value the essential functions of motherhood and fatherhood and whether an aggressive minority can impose a new definition on an institution defined by biology since man and woman first procreated.

But with this decision it has become a deeper matter of not only truth, but on what topic our freedom of expression will be limited.