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Defamation, bigotry and censorship

Michael DANBY(9.01 am)-Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation

SPEAKER-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


SPEAKER-Please proceed.

DANBY-This is the first opportunity I have had since the last session of parliament and the busyness of yesterday to respond to a story that ran in the Melbourne Age, ‘ALP interest in funds probe', on 21 June 2008. Unfortunately, the Age did not speak to me prior to publishing this article, which implied I was linked to the former Director of the Australian-American Association, Tony McAdam, who is being investigated for fraud. The central implication of this article is false. In seeking to link me to this alleged fraud, the article states:

It is understood Mr McAdam has assisted Mr Danby on some of his political campaigns.

Far from having any current association with Mr McAdam, I ceased contact with him years ago, prior to the events described in the article.

The Age article suggested I had a defensive ‘interest in the police investigation'. It is quite the opposite. I encouraged solicitors to financially liquidate this organisation if it failed to produce financial reports. Further, the Age claimed that I retained an influence after 2002 on the Australian-American Association, where I sought to protect Mr McAdam. The article says:

... Mr Danby, a former association president and committee member, retained considerable influence over the organisation ...

To the contrary, I have not been a member of the organisation, involved in its management or attended its meetings since 2002.

During the parliamentary break, I did the normal thing: I sought correction from Mr Jaspan, the editor of the Age, whose response was to quote from a letter to the editor by Mr McAdam. The Age response quotes Mr McAdam:

It is true I have had a long-standing friendship with Michael Danby-

but the Age left out the rest of the sentence, which was-

... although we have not talked for some time.

Mr McAdam also admitted:


That is, Mr Danby-

has had no involvement with the AAA for many years and to suggest otherwise is quite wrong.

I will leave aside the bigotry identified by Senator Robert Ray when he referred in the Senate to the obsessive focus on me by the back page of the Age. Senator Ray referred to the Age's gossip columnist as:

a sneering anti-Semite kind of journalist that I detest.

I will set aside the fact that the Age has censored every opinion article I have submitted since being elected in 1998. My constituents and the tolerant liberal majority of this country can decide for themselves what motivates this pattern of defamation, bigotry and censorship. Lastly, at least I can respond here in this great parliament; what is the fate of the reputation of any ordinary citizen who takes on such a media behemoth with their millions of dollars of defamation insurance?


Andrew Jaspan and Fairfax Chairman Don Churchill in happier times

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Tell us what you think

(I'm celebrating Andrew Jaspan's sacking...)

Posted by sandgroper on 2008-08-30 04:38:55 GMT

Great news...good riddance!! I'll drink a l'chaim! to that....

Posted by sandgroper on 2008-08-30 04:37:03 GMT

One small step. Many steps must be taken to clean up al Age but a good start.

Posted by Wazza of Oz on 2008-08-28 08:25:49 GMT