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Childish storm in the Facebook teacup?

By johnboy 25 April 2009 36

[First filed: April 24, 2009 @ 08:34]

Younger members of the Liberal Party have a near limitless ability to revolt the general public. (Although it should be noted that young members of the ALP can be equally grotty but the party generally keeps them out of the public eye more effectively.

In the most recent installment on this theme the Canberra Times’ Victor Violante appears to have kicked things off with a story about one Brett Chant, formerly of Steve Pratt’s office who stepped adroitly to into the employ of Jeremy Hanson.

At issue is comments made by Brett on Facebook:

    In one comment, Mr Chant said of newly elected Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, who was the face of the party’s campaign, ”Do you think that Rat face Shane will be calling the shots in a coalition with Labor?

Jon Stanhope (who spent a great deal of time failing to sack a young staffer, by the name of Aidan Bruford, who made childish statements not on his own Facebook account, but in graffiti upon other people’s property which lead to a criminal conviction) is not above calling for the sacking of the foolish and humourless Brett.

At 6am this morning Zed Seselja’s office pushed out a statement on the matter from Jeremy Hanson:

    My position is that consequences for mistakes of judgement should be at an appropriate level. The actions in this case did not involve deliberate misleads, breaches of security or illegal behaviour.

    I believe that in this case, this young man deserves a second chance. However, I have made him aware that further lapses of this sort will not be acceptable.

    This decision was made in consultation with and agreement by the Leader of the Opposition, Zed Seselja.

So there you go. Brett will also be apologising for getting caught.

UPDATED: In relation to this on 666 this morning the Labor Senator Kate Lundy dropped a bombshell on Liberal Senator Gary Humphries. Senator Lundy was claiming Brett Chant was linked to a stupid and offensive spoof profile of the Deputy Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.

A great number of the claims made by Senator Lundy are in no way substantiated by the evidence available on the spoof profile. Senator Lundy also seems to have mistaken spoof-Katy’s “attendance” at a legitimate anti-labor “event” for October’s election as an indictment on every Liberal (or other person for that matter) ever invited to attend that “event”.

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Childish storm in the Facebook teacup?
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Furry Jesus 3:26 pm 26 Apr 09

I think it doesn’t matter who writes what, or says what. Childish behaviour grabs the attention – Labor or Liberal, voters don’t like it, and for good reason.

On the other hand, is there any point in expecting statesperson-like behaviour as a matter of course from politicians? Parliamentary conduct is simply a reflection of changes in standards of public and private conduct across society. in a world where Paris Hilton is considered newsworthy, Clive James’ vision of the future is here. If people can be famous just for being famous, the notion of earning public respect by behaving in a responsible manner is meaningless.

Bread and circuses.

RayP 1:20 pm 26 Apr 09

Having thought about this episode some more, I am a confused Furry Jesus.

If the issue is the quality of the comments, then as I recall, when Mr Hargreaves insulted Mr Coe in the Assembly because of his age, there was complete silence from Mr Stanhope and Ms Gallagher.

Do the rules now work so that if one of Mr Coe’s staff had made insulting remarks about Mr Hargreave’s age on Facebook, then that would be a serious offence that would require their sacking?

But that if insulting comments are made in the Assembly then that’s okay?

Or is the situation more specific than that?

Is it fine and acceptable to insult young people because of their age?

It might be that I am just getting confused here, but there does seem to be some inconsistency.

Clown Killer 10:45 pm 25 Apr 09

No wonder the Liberals went backwards in the last election despite the Stanhope govt being on the nose.

Steady Eddie, I suspect you’re logic is flawed. If the liberals went backwards then by definition the Labor party could not be on the nose. Under the ACT electoral system government is formed by the candidates who are most preferred by the electorate (a little wrangling with the loony greens aside).

RayP 7:35 pm 25 Apr 09

Furry Jesus you are probably right.

I guess that if the comments were an incisive and reasoned critique of ALP health policy then there would be much less enthusiasm for drawing attention to them.

Steady Eddie 3:42 pm 25 Apr 09

No wonder the Liberals went backwards in the last election despite the Stanhope govt being on the nose.

Furry Jesus 3:02 pm 25 Apr 09

I’m sure the quality of the writing is a hidden factor in this. What if it had been at a standard equivalent to some of our better journalists instead of the ‘poo-poo you’re a wee-head’ standard he thought was so incredibly funny? we might be seeing a different story and perhaps no news at all.

Woody Mann-Caruso 2:04 pm 25 Apr 09

You’re blonde and stupid and have a vagina and cooties so there and John Howard could kick your dad’s bottom he’s so dreamy.

Where’s my Liberal staffer pay cheque? Where’s my applause for upholding democracy?

RayP 12:55 pm 25 Apr 09

I am concerned about what is starting to look like an ongoing witch hunt for people who make comments in public debate.

This could be a problem for politicians staffers but mostly because it might confuse the message rather than because it is in itself some outrageous heinous crime.

I think that Canberra needs robust debate and respect for the role of robust debate in a democracy.

That means respect for the right of people to say things that politicians don’t like being said. I think that citizens have a responsibility to say what they believe and to voice their concerns in a democracy. And that right must be respected by politicians, Otherwise demoacracies don’t work.

So, I think that Canberra needs people willing to speak out, and respect for that right to speak out, much more than it needs people who have been intimidated into shutting up.

And what do Stanhope and all the others involved in this saga think of Alfred Deakin?

According to Wikipedia, Alfred Deakin “wrote anonymous political commentaries for the London Morning Post even while he was prime minister”.

(I think Wikipedia is accurate on this. I think this is general knowledge for those who have had a passing interest in Australian history.)

Nevertheless, again according to Wikipedia, “Alfred Deakin was almost universally liked, admired and respected by his contemporaries”.

Does anyone think that any of the current players in this saga are in line to be accorded the same respect and standing in Australian history as Alfred Deakin.

Should Alfred Deakin have been rooted out and hung?

I think that if politicians don’t like what’s being said about them, then the best response is reasoned argument, or even better, obvious performance.

Roadrage77 10:45 am 25 Apr 09

Nothing makes me shudder more than those two seemingly innocuous words “young” and “liberal” put together.

Gungahlin Al 10:08 am 25 Apr 09

Any time there’s an outing of this sort of stupidity, there’s always the risk that it just gets people digging and digging for more.

And so it seems with coverage in CT today about anonymous postings on RA (possibly as alluded to by Jakez?). Staffers in Gary Humphries’ office this time it appears. His Chief of Staff Louise de Domenico has left “to pursue a career outside politics”, and Gary is vigorously claiming it had nothing to do with RA posts.

And that was always on the cards after Gary went hunting for the guy on Kate Lundy’s staff for writing (NOT anonymously) to CT Letters pages on matters political.

Gary has apparently thought since then to ask all his staff whether any of them have been posting on websites, and apparently was assured by all that they had NOT. Guess this is something only the RA overlords could confirm from RA’s perspective. But perhaps such a staff grilling would have been smarter to do before launching onto Lundy’s staff?

Granny 11:02 pm 24 Apr 09

Meetings sound dreadfully organised for those with the anarchist bent …. I must confess to being somewhat disappointed!

aelliso 10:57 pm 24 Apr 09

I think an “All of the above” option was necessary for that poll.

johnboy 10:13 pm 24 Apr 09

C’mon Jakez, it’s hard enough being an anarchist without you coming along to the meetings to annoy us.

jakez 9:30 pm 24 Apr 09

Rat face?

Jesus Christ, you can’t do anything these days.

Now I’ve expended many a post on the stupidity of the faceless Liberals who use obscure usernames to propogate foolishness on this website, so please do not accuse me of any partisanship when I say that both of the ‘incidents’ in this topic are not even worth reporting on, let alone sacking/media releases/blasts from Kate Lundy.

Party politics is a joke. No wonder I’m on the cusp of becoming an anarchist.

I-filed 8:41 pm 24 Apr 09

Freedom of speech, and freedom to make rude satire over self-righteous drudges, please, any day!

fabforty 8:00 pm 24 Apr 09

This Facebook prank has all the wit and creativity of something thrown together at a 10 year olds sleepover after too many hot chocolates.

If this is the best a political staffer can come up with we are in more peril than I had thought.

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