Deja vu

Re reading The Fatal Shore when this caught my eye.

Governor Darling is having an argument with the media in 1826.  He is losing to Wentworth and Hall who are pressing for trial by open jury and representative assembly so he;

…makes a clumsy lunge against the opposition press. He tried to muzzle the Australian and Monitor by imposing newspaper licences, which would be withdrawn if they printed a ‘blasphemous or seditious libel”  John Macarthur also urged him to kill their circulation with a stamp duty of 4 pence per copy.

186 years later they’re still trying it on.

 

One Response to Deja vu

  1. HRT says:

    One of Cyril Pearl’s books is Wild Men of Sydney, first published in 1958.  It is about some of the notorious characters involved in politics and newspaper publishing between about 1890 and 1920 in NSW and Victoria. The following extract is relevant: ”Crick finished his apologia to the House by handing in Meagher’s resignation from Parliament.  Within a day or two a deputation had called on Meagher to ask him to present himself for re-election, in spite, as the Sydney Mail wrote, of “the enormity of his offence…. in  deceiving the House with perhaps the most extraordinary tissue of falsehoods to which a legislative chamber has ever listened!”  The significance of this should not be lost on later generations of Australians, who have seen this acceptance, even admiration, of lawbreakers, especially in public office, grow into a national characteristic.”  

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