Thursday, May 22, 2014

Treasurer Hockey Sues Fairfax Media - 'Freedom Of The Press' Storm Doesn't Erupt

Flashback: Hockey was so close to winning Liberal Party leadership, this story was published online, a bit early
By Darryl Mason

Treasurer Joe Hockey wants people to know that just because he attends dinners at the North Sydney Forum, where 'regular people' can pay $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 or even $50,000 to get varying levels of access to the man who controls the nation's purse strings....

 ....that doesn't mean that decisions made by him are in any way affected by the demands of those who've paid big money to get his attention, or that he is 'For Sale.'

Of course not.

That would be an outrageous level of corruption. And would demand Hockey immediately resign.

So of course he's upset by this Sydney Morning Herald front page:

And he's upset by this image box that went with the stories in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that go into detail on how the North Sydney Forum and those 'fees' work:

 So upset, he's launched defamation proceedings against the Herald publisher Fairfax:
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey is suing Fairfax Media for defamation over a series of articles about a fund-raising forum that offered access to the Treasurer in exchange for donations of thousands of dollars.

Mr Hockey claims that, as a result of the articles, published on May 5, he has been "greatly injured, shunned and avoided and his reputation has been and will be brought into disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt".

He says Fairfax Media's "over sensational, extravagant and unfair presentation" of the articles indicated an "intent to injure" him.

He is claiming damages, including aggravated damages, interest and costs, although the amount of damages is not specified.
So aggrieved by Fairfax's claims is Hockey, he even tweeted that Kevin Rudd was known for doing the same. Or not the same, because Hockey says he doesn't do that. And to tweet something like that about his old mate Rudd, if he was actually doing the same, would be intensely, insanely, hypocritical:

Get the feeling Hockey is going to really, really, really regret tweeting that when, or more precisely, if, the defamation case gets to court, and is pursued to the end.

Anyway, that's for later. Right now, Treasurer Joe Hockey is facing a monumental public backlash, from all strands of Australian society, over the brutal Budget 2014, which leaves pensioners, students, the disabled, the unemployed, all worse off than the wealthy. Oh but, says Joe, we've introduced a 'debt levy' that will mean the wealthy will have to pay up as well. Yeah, not exactly....

One immediate problem for Hockey is he doesn't even know detail of his Budget 2014 you'd expect to be front and centre in his mind. He keeps making mistakes, "bloopers" or is simply 'lying through his fucking teeth' if you want to use the general opinion of many on Twitter:
Embarrassing bloopers by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have revealed they don’t understand who will be forced to pay their controversial new $7 GP fee.

And their mistakes have undermined the government’s attempt to sell a tough budget to angry voters.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Melbourne radio listeners yesterday an average person would only have to pay the $7 GP fee ten times and then they would be bulk billed.

In fact the government has put no limit on the number of times an ordinary worker will pay the $7 charge, however, there is a ten visit safety net just for pensioners and children.

The Australian Medical Association accused Treasurer Joe Hockey of also getting it wrong when he says the chronically ill won’t be hit by the $7 GP fee.

The Treasurer told Korey Gunnis who suffers from eight chronic illnesses on Monday: “You wouldn’t be hit by the so-called Medicare co-payment. You wouldn’t be affected.”

Mr Hockey, on the ABC’s Q&A program, went on to say: “No, you wouldn’t, because you’d be on a care plan with your doctor. Obviously you’ve got a number of chronic diseases. In that situation you are not affected by the co-payment,”
And he was wrong.

Hockey, and his fellow politicians are meanwhile copping it in the throat because after all the talk of 'The Age Of Entitlement' being over and everyone having to "do the heavy lifting" it keeps looking like the only heavy thing Joe Hockey is lifting is silver cutlery:

But oh, says Joe, pay rises for politicians have been frozen (after across the board pay rises in recent years of up to 40%)...for a while. Nobody really buys it, or cares.

What is odd, though, is just how quiet the Liberal-allied, or conservative-focused, media and columnists and radio hosts have been about Hockey suing Fairfax.

Isn't this an attack on the Freedom Of The Press?

Doesn't that make them outraged and angry and disgusted?

Apparently not. It's tumbleweeds out there on this lawsuit.

Couldn't this be seen as Hockey using lawyers to have stories he doesn't like, or disagrees with, disappeared from the internet?

Of course.

Funny, our 'Freedom Commission' and the usual chanters for press freedom have been curiously quiet on their favourite subject of 'Let Media Freedom Reign!' since Hockey launched his lawsuit.

Very quiet indeed.

And on the subject of Joe Hockey, dug up this piece of 2009 gold from Andrew "I'm Usually Wrong On Nearly Everything" Bolt, where he predicted Hockey would win the Liberal Party leadership because, in his words, Tony Abbott was "unelectable."

From the archive:

December 3, 2008: Joe Vs Julia - Hockey Smells Blood In The Water

Does Joe Hockey Mean Wilson Tuckey Is About To Drop His Pants And Start Singing Cold Chisel Songs?

Feb 13, 2010: The Joe Hockey Experience

Stop Laughing At Joe, This is Serious