A debate between Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and Australia’s would be Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, was held last night. Surely you’ve heard about it; how can such a major debate be kept unheard of?
Well, it can. It can because the debate was accessible to Christian churches and church organizations alone; in order to view it you had to find a church broadcasting it near you.
Sure, I’m annoyed that Australia’s leaders are conducting their debates before a crowd made exclusive solely through their accident of birth. Sure, I’m also generally annoyed by the Australian Christian Lobby because of the wide gulf between our political views. Yet I will concede that Rudd and Abbott have every right to debate whenever they feel like and choose the crowd before which they do their debating.
No, the thing that annoys me the most about this debate is the way it was kept quiet. It’s not like the debate dealt exclusively with purely Christian affairs and had no interest to the general Australian public: On the agenda were the handling of asylum seekers, abortion policies and education, issues at the focal point of public attention. If this debate was to be held in any other way it would have been headline news; instead it’s passing by with hardly anyone aware of it taking place.
Where did I hear about this debate? On a blog, here, to which I was referred through Twitter. This indicates two things to me:
1. That, as I previously discussed here, what passes for journalism in Australia is a pathetic joke. Australian media is so poorly resourced it has to rely on media releases rather than investigative journalism, and those media releases are under the total control of spin masters.
2. As people and their democracy lose power to the Murdochs and their likes who control our weak media, they hunger for bigger and better things. Currently, their answer lies in the blogosphere, with Twitter being the main distribution facility.
The power of knowledge and its maintenance is in the process of shifting from the central authorities of old to individuals, and this is facilitated through that tool called the Internet. This power shift is not only a nice to have, it is essential for a healthy society made ill through the corruption that too much money brings into affairs.
Obviously, I’m not the only one who figured this power shift out. The likes of Stephen Conroy have seen it before, and this is exactly why he’s waging his quixotic war to censor the internet: at its core, the struggle over the internet is just another struggle to keep old powers powerful; it's extreme conservatism. Nowhere is the battle best represented than with Wikileaks, the organization that exposed Conroy’s list of banned websites and showed how much of a sham it was. Wikileaks have become great heroes of mine, but they’re currently weak and small numbered, especially with US authorities seemingly hunting them down over the knowledge they might have concerning dodgy American operations in the Middle East. While Wikileaks is small and relatively lacking in resources, they are still our flag bearers; in the long term there is no way those old powers chasing them are going to withstand them and the power of the individuals behind them. It comes down to a numbers game, and in this game we will win.
Oh, and it’s not odd at all to note Conroy’s biggest supporter in his crusade to censor the internet is the Australian Christian Lobby. They’re also an old power that’s growing weaker and weaker as people become more and more knowledgeable.