Wednesday 2 September 2009

Politcal censorship in the community

Werner Schmidlin, a resident of the northern beach community of Yorkeys Knob, has accused the local Residents' Association of muzzling freedom of speech.
In his latest blog, he says he approached the Yorkeys Knob Residents Association, to put a short note in their newsletter to advertise his new blog, and they refused.
"Their reason, I quote: 'Upon reading the blog, we discovered that it contained items of a political nature.'," Werner says. "Well, well, well, they are in effect suppressing freedom of speech. No wonder, it is alleged that they are the sub branch of the Barron River ALP branch."
"And, talking about politics, Wettenhall and Turnour constantly feature in this rag," Werner Schmidlin, a prolific letter writer to the Cairns Post says. "Non political? You would have to be kidding. Of course, Wettenhall is printing this rag for his sub branch."
I have to concur with Werner's sentiments. I've blogged about this subject in the past, especially in the months leading up to an election, the local politicians all grab their free monthly column and spout on all about their "achievements".
It's tantamount to advertising, no question. Why any politician is getting a half a page every month in the residents newsletters in Machans, Holloways and Yorkeys, and elsewhere I'm sure, is because the local committees are blind.
Werner says that he cannot see mentioning a blog in their newsletter, and he was prepared to make a donation, would politically compromise a local residents' newsletter.
"Nobody would know what is in it until they open it and - if the reader doesn’t like what is in my blog he/she simply deletes it and never opens it again," he says. "This is like advertising for shops, you don’t know about everything they sell, until you go there – and if you don’t like what you see you don’t go there again, the same would be the case with my blog."
You can read Werner's ranting on his blog.


Yorkey's Knobber said...

The resident's association, as a private organisation, can approve or deny any advertising it wants.

Everything isn't a "free speech" issue, Mr. Moore. That's why there are elected officers and directors.


You obviously don't understand the concept of "representative democracy". Every wackjob view is NOT required to be presented by private organisations. (And this is a private association, with an elected board and rules). Sure, all residents are allowed to join but that doesn't mean that one individual's ignorant views are espoused by the organisation.

Perhaps you and Werner are confused about the "right of free speech" - a right NOT enshrined anywhere for Australians. It is for Americans.

Bryan Law said...

The Yorkeys Knob Nazis and Commissar's Association is fully entitled to its rank humourless censorship of all they disagree with. And it's clear they have the ability to be very disagreeable indeed.

I don't need any more reasons to agitate against Steve Whatsisname or Jim the Useless. I reckon incompetent hacks ought be found for Parliament who can at least be entertaining from time to time.

The only two times I've found myself agreeing with Werner Schmidlin is his take on Australia' war in Afghanistan, and his desire to start and advertise a local blog.

As for Trinity Tony: Maaaate, getting any success fees lately Comrade?

Clifton Ratbags Rule said...

Yo, Bryan

It's a well-known fact that the first to trot out the "Nazi" or "Hitler" metaphors has lost the argument.

Given the brain cells you've got to work with, it's surprising you can even do that.

Stan V. said...

I can't get my head around what 'sediments' you concur with this person. Is there something more about you two that you aren't telling us about?
By the way Brian Law, I hope you aren't referring to Mr Schmidlin's ethnicity with your cheap 'Nazi' shot.

Bryan Law said...

Yo yourself Mr Roool, and thanks for your concern. You're completely correct. It's been a life-long struggle for me to get by on the brain cells I've been allocated. They've been adequate to recognise the nature of some self-righteous thought police unwilling to have any kind of honest debate, but totally inadequate as to how we might bring said bozos undone.

Unlike Mr V (the brave), they've also been adequate to understand that Nazism is a political philosophy as distinct from a national characteristic. I notice that, in Australia, most Nazis wrap themselves in the flag as a substitute for thinking. Cowards and charlatans mostly.

I'll prefer Werner's direct honesty any day.

Jude Johnston said...

I understand that the Yorkey's Knob Association is an incorporated entity, and as such will have a Charter and Objectives of the Association lodged with Office of Fair Trading. The Committee will be duly elected and will have the authority to monitor the newsletter it produces. Our local Associations are run with committed and dedicated volunteers, most of whom also have day jobs. Funds to operate do not come easily and rely on the generosity of their members for donations and memberships and also any advertising revenue they can get for their Newsletters. Our local MP's have a resource that can be used ie paper and photocopier - it just so happens that the MPs are Labour, if the Liberals were the MP's the facilities and resource would still be available for the Associations to use. Rather than start "bagging" this Association, perhaps Werner would volunteer to go on the Committee at the next AGM.

Bryan Law said...

Hey Jude! I hear what you say, but I'm sensitive to the assumption that "a blog" has political content, and therefore can't be advertised, even in general terms - but a report from a local MP is (what...?) administrative, and therefore commands regular space and attention.

Printing and distributing information has never been cheaper or easier than it is now. The Yorkeys Knob group ought have a long hard think about just how much they give away to Whatsisname and Useless for $20 (of taxpayers' money) and how much they compromise their goals by refusing to support a local citizens' efforts.

Yorkey's Knobber said...

Funny that Schmidlin screams "free speech" because a private company won't advertise his rants, and yet his blog doesn't allow comments.

Typical of the right-wing wackjob community.

Jude Johnston said...

Bryan, I wish it was only $20 to produce a newsletter. Out here at Clifton Beach, the Combined Beaches Community Ass Inc, (CBCAI), produce a regular newsletter, which relies on advertising to cover the cost. Sometines conflict of interest does arise and it comes down to the Committee to vote according to their Charter. If for example Glencorp approached the Association to advertise their Apartments on both sides of Clifton Road, the Committee would find themselves with a conflict of interest and a moral dilemna.
As an aside, CBCAI were derided by the ex Mayor and ex divisional Councillor Sno Bonneau as being a politically motivated labour party front. In the end Councillor Bonneau had to publically retract his comments after a complaint to the Broadcasting Authority. Incidentally, CBCAI don't publish MP's news letters or news releases.

Sir Humphrey said...

Dear Bryan,

I just loved the steve whathisname and Jim the useless line. People have been trying to tell me you are a red sock wearing commissar for years!! Glad to see you are no apologist for Labor hacks though - good on you. Should be no mercy for non performance whatever the hue or stripe! As for YK res vs Werner - another never ending story!

Werner's Warriors said...

Don't worry Sir Humphrey, we are all just one big LNP love in at this blog. C'mon, give us a big hug.

Unknown said...

why is it ok for politicians to post on this blog, as they have done, and for you to promote politicians, as you have done, and for you to control what is said on this blog, yetit is not al right for a private community group to allow politicians to write commentary, and to control what is in their newsletter?

hypocrisy? heaven forbid!

and don't you think it's time that the likes of werner schmidlin, bryan law, ross 'pockets' parisi, robert 'backstab' pyne and syd whatsisname from kuranda got the boot from your own blog?

they're boring, publicity-seeking, noise-generating machines much beloved of the compost.

i'd much rather read the wonderful posts from ordinary citizens, even brain-dead tories like the slut and the warrior, than the shit-for-brains commentary from them.

Bryan Law said...

Unda the Wunda blogger said I'm one of the "boring, publicity-seeking, noise-generating machines much beloved of the compost".

Beware Mr Wunda, this is a totally scurrilous and defamatory accusation.

I am not beloved of the compost, and if you say I am once more, it's lawyers at 50 paces for you! I'll see your WeetBix and honey permanently seperated from your tonsils by way of defamation suit.

OTH thankyou Sir Humphrey (or can I call you Humpy?). As an anarchist, my socks R black.

George Lawson's Wife said...

It's a darn shame that the YK newsletter people couldn't find it in themselves to at least pop in a link to Werner's blog, just as an interesting bit of local goss, especially as Werner has been such a long-time local resident. As Werner says himself (above), it's up to people whether they want to click on it or not.
And (I live at Yorkeys) and the local newsletter is indeed half or more full of columns from Wettnoballs & Jim 'The Invisible Man' Turnour. All the editor seems to do is copy the whole of their PR email newsletters & paste. It makes very boring reading, apart from anything else.
I don't mind so much if there is something of direct interest to the local community, but it's all about "Anna's going to give us 18.5 million for 'X'", or Rudd is going to give us 31.7 mill for 'Y' ". Werner could very well be mistaken that the YK Association is a Labor hotbed, the way the newsletter goes on.
The standard reply to this one from the YK mob is that "they are our incumbent pollies, we should allow them a conduit to the community". Yeah, fine, but you've only got to look at the finesse & punch of "Machanations" (Machan's newsletter see to see the difference. They (MB) manange to edit the Labor Loonies contributions, & from time to time throw a few challenges/barbs out to the LLs & also Marg Cochrane. Whereas all the YK mob seem to do is have a love-fest with whomever is in power, & pose for lots of photo-ops with their local pollies/councillor. (see, & scroll down to the end of page & click on "Yorkeys Knob Matters". Don't go to sleep though, reading it - which is a risk.
But in the larger sense here at YK, it seems whenever someone in the community brings up a criticism of some aspect of the Residents Association, all the committee close ranks, & tag those people 'angry', or 'troublemaker', or just don't respond to the complaint at all, if it doesn't speak to their own perception of themselves.
A couple of us complained about the pro-Labor bias in the newsletter in the last year, & there was little or no response, only negative response if any, & endless Wettenoballs & Turnours screeds continue to appear. Two editions ago, there was not one, but two photos of Wettenhall in the one little newsletter (3 pages, A4, mind you!). The previous edition there was a photo of Steve with a Bicycle! Jee, hot news, maties.
They were a kick-arse committee a couple of years ago, but lately it's just seemed to morph into some kind of 'local dignitary love fest' mush.
The entries above from Yorkeys Knobber about 'private companies with directors', well, that's a worry. I thought the local Residents Association was a community organisation open to all members of the YK community, with an elected committee, to represent the interests of the community. And Yorkeys Knobber - you can comment on Werner's blog, it's just below the text, so I don't know what you're going on about.