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VEXED: If a joke about boat-phone is big news, an inappropriate use of kids to promote sex should be too

nickmack2 Our story on Australian Union of Students lesbian militants embracing Julia Gillard briefly brought down VEXNEWS under the weight of traffic this morning. Our Canberra insider Nick Mack has strong views about the yarn’s newsworthiness.:

Today’s scoop by the VEXNEWS Investigation Unit is a test for the fourth estate.

In the last week of the campaign, Annabel Crabb, Samantha Maiden and The Daily Telegraph have distorted a crystal clear interview with Tony Abbott printed in yesterday’s Melbourne’s Herald Sun as a ‘boatphone’ story.  ‘Beatup’ is a generous word for it as the ‘boatphone’ story is not reflected in anything Abbott mention. It is clearly meant mockingly.   (Not that Liberal CHQ will be worried).

The question here is newsworthiness.

Last week, controversial Australian photographer, Bill Henson, defended his art which uses ‘consenting’ naked children to large sympathetic audience at Federation Square, Melbourne.

Readers will recall the 2008 remarks of by the then PM, Kevin Rudd, who described Henson’s offending works as revolting and devoid of artistic merit. Some will recall that then Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, was a conscientious Henson collector.

In arguing in favour of his very expensive photos of naked minors, Henson humbly implies they are modern masterpieces. Naturally he takes some time to condemn commercialism while he collects fat cheques for his modern marvels, some collected by Liberal lefty Malcolm Turnbull no less, some say Ted Baillieu is also a collector of Henson’s work.  In gullible art circles, such comments always seem to reinforce reputations for authenticity.

Moveover, Henson still believes that the models were consenting and the experience had ‘strengthened’ his convictions.  Henson elevates provocative art’s educational and moral purpose while his critics expose themselves as panic mongers working against the welfare of children.

Henson raises some important points about the role of the nude in art and few can doubt his sincerity.

Henson and his supporters, nevertheless, lack nuance. He seems to be unaware the consenting argument is the rock spiders’ classic defence.  They are uninterested in the reasonable community expectation for an abundance of caution when it comes to their children.

Artists are entitled to be out of step with legitimate community concern; their rights to express their exotic ideas are to be defended but they are not beyond scrutiny.

The Australian Union of Students’ photo of two underaged girls to promote ‘The International Year of the Lesbian’ is in an entirely different category.

The minors were deliberately juxtoposed for the propagandising of the Women’s Committee of AUS for a political purpose.   The photo of two girls showing physical affection would be innocent in any other context; but the political context deliberately sexualises the girls without being legally pornographic or pretending to have artistic merit.

Overrun with communists, Gilard’s AUS campaigned against the abolition of marriage and equated marriage with prostitution. The prevailing ideology of the far left in the eighties was to attack mercifully the patriarchal mores of the status quo and have them replaced with ‘alternative lifestyles’.

Fair play to them but the use of minors for political purposes is well out of bounds.

Some could argue kids are used in campaigns all the time. That is relativistic nonsense as politicians and kids on the hustings represent the implied intergenerational compact between the elected and the electors.

Many will claim, as predictably as Abbott will, that the exuberance of student politics is a legitimate defence. ‘Nothing to see here, move on, move on.’

Using children in this way to promote assertive same sex lifestyles is not substantially different from the use of bronzed Aryans by Nazi propogandist Leni Riefenstahl.   (Leni Riefenstahl was one of the most celebrated artist of 1930s. When she won the 1938 Venice Film Festival for Olympia she became the most acclaimed woman in film direction.)

There is no unofficial statute of limitations for the use of minors for propaganda, let alone diabolically poor taste, as VEXNEWS demonstrated when it published an excoriating and very tough account on the LNP candidate for Dawson, George Christensen, for views he no longer holds but published over ten years ago.

The AUS publication represents dreadful political judgment in 1983. Little wonder AUS soon collapsed under its own radical hubris in subsequent years.

Gillard’s role in the publication and in AUS reasonably invites questions of character of the current Prime Minister.  At least, Gillard can explain what her role in the whole affair happened to be. Did she approve of or fund the publication that described her as “glorious”?

Lastly, where are the mainstream journos? Once again, VEXNEWS has to be the first with the worst.

This is of public interest but the fourth estate has steered clear of this material for reasons which deserve elaboration. This is no ‘boat-phone’ beat-up.

To paraphrase the deceased American lesbian, Gertrude Stein: ‘Newsworthiness is newsworthiness is newsworthiness’.

Some news appears to be less equal than others.


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  1. 7.30 PM report – great lesbian/Kim Il Jong joke by Tony Moclair

    yes, this is problematic … silly Julia

    Posted by amused! | August 16, 2010, 13:52
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    Posted by Tweets that mention VEXNEWS 2010© | VEXED: If a joke about boat-phone is big news, an inappropriate use of kids to promote sex should be too -- Topsy.com | August 16, 2010, 13:55
  3. Posted by amused! | August 16, 2010, 16:57
  4. Gillard has had the very easy ride through this election eg all the farcical beatup about her and Latham!
    Gillard just gets away with it because she is a woman its not fair so not voting for her she does not deserve the vote based on the lousy dismal performance of her money wasting government
    Gillard is out for one thing herself and not the Australian people
    its always all about her choice her dominating ways axing anyone she can to get to be PM
    not good enough we have formed a View just like she did to knife hard working Krudd! so bye Gillard oof you go to opposition

    Posted by FORMAVIEW | August 18, 2010, 16:51


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