New South Wales has the oldest Parliament in Australia.
The State has a lower, government-forming chamber called the Legislative Assembly. It is dominated by the major political parties and runs rather like a smaller version of Australia’s Federal House of Representatives or the British House of Commons.
Reverend Fred Nile, Father of the NSW Legislative Council. Likes well-researched moral crusades
The State of NSW also has a Legislative Council – an upper house akin to the Federal Senate – to which members are elected by a form of proportional representation. Other parties, such as the Greens, are currently represented in the Legislative Council. In fact, there’s a smorgasbord of political flavours in the NSW Upper House, because the quota for success is relatively low. One of the long-standing beneficiaries has been the Reverend Fred Nile and his Christian Democratic Party.
The Reverend Nile has been an MLC since 1981. He’s ‘Father of the House’. In fact, he the longest-serving NSW Parliamentarian.
Views tend to polarize on the subject of Fred Nile. His supporters believe he’s a valiant defender of traditional Christian values. Opponents tend to view him as a moralizing reactionary hypocrite.
Yesterday yet another NSW Government Minister was forced to resign from Premier Keneally’s beleaguered Labor Government.
An audit of Parliament House computer use turned up the fact that Ports Minister Paul McLeay MLA had been accessing gambling and porn sites on his parliamentary computer. Embarrassed, the Minister stood down immediately, even offering to resign from the Labor Party.
The same audit also established that one of NSW’s largest Parliamentary visitors of pornographic websites – a much larger porn consumer than Paul McLeay – is the office of the Reverend Fred Nile.
Far from resigning or showing contrition, the Reverend Nile pointed out that his staff are required to research pornography.
Legislative Council President Amanda Fazio: opposes internet censorship
How can he know what he’s so vehemently against if he hasn’t studied the subject?
Quite so. The Daily Telegraph’s headline Christian MP Fred Nile engulfed in net porn scandal is unfair in the circumstances. That’s News Corp, at it again. Sleazy sensationalists!
A mandatory ‘filter’ was put on all Legislative Assembly computers in July, so weak-willed MLAs are now assisted in their internal struggle with moral depravity.
Legislative Council computers, however, will not be filtered. President of the Council, Labor’s Amanda Fazio, is reportedly opposed to internet censorship. She believes MLCs should be free to research what they like.
It’s a fascinating instance of two different models of democracy running in parallel, within the same building.
When it comes to debating online pornography:
- MLCs are expected to do copious amounts of research and its anticipated their contributions will be well-informed.
- MLAs are expected to be ignorant; their speeches attract suspicion if they show any indications at all of knowing what they’re talking about.
Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I’ll go for the Legislative Council approach.
I also love to see consensus across the political divide. How nice that a senior Labor politician – and a noted conservative Christian – apparently find areas of agreement.
- Politicians and their staff should not be summarily dismissed for viewing pornography.
- Like the rest of us, they should be free to carry out research using an uncensored internet.
Friday 3rd Sept. I am deeply disappointed.
My optimism that the anti-censorship cause has found an unexpected new ally was rapidly deflated.
Today’s Sydney Morning Herald reports:
“…At his news conference yesterday (Fred Nile) explained his need for the research. It was part of his campaign against pornography, which had included support for the federal Labor government’s proposed internet filter.
“Such a filter, he said, should be imposed on all computers at state parliament.
“This might interfere with his research…
Opponents of mandatory censorship cannot, as I had cheekily claimed, count on the support of Fred Nile.
Au contraire. Nile demands the freedom to access whatever he wishes from his own computer and face no legal consequences; the rest of us, however, should have access limited by Nile’s “research”. Presumably he thinks we should feel the full force of the law if we ever enjoy equivalent success in our own ‘research’.
In short, Fred Nile has a very un-Christlike tendency to do what he says – not follow his example.
Best of Fred
The Herald’s story tells us Nile has at least stood by his office staff. They have not, he tells us, been “sitting there perving”.
Perhaps not Fred. Who knows and really, who cares?
What I do know now, Fred , is that you most certainly ARE a moralizing reactionary hypocrite. As readers have pointed out, you are also an Islamophobic bigot.
Indeed, you are such an unctuous hypocrite that your membership gives the NSW Parliament a bad name.
In our day and age, that takes quite some doing.