Are private lives in the public interest?

Once upon a time, there was a minister in NSW and turns out, he was gay. Or bi-sexual. Or bi-curious. We don’t really know. Because an intelligent, measured debate about where people realistically lie on the sexual spectrum has never been attempted while covering this debate.

The man had children. Chances are, it’s not as black and white as ‘straight’ versus ‘gay’.

The man for those who have forgotten, or did not know of the story is former NSW Transport Minister David Campbell.

The man’s crime? Seven news found out that he went to a gay club in Sydney. They then attempted to find a way to turn this private information, into something they could doll up in that most tired of hack cliches ‘the public interest’.

What was the public interest? Well… it started off as ‘he used the his ministerial car’. He didn’t. Then ‘he campaigned on family values’. What were they thinking? He didn’t. And, what, going to some gay clubs means you don’t have family values? Please. And they assumed that his wife didn’t know about the visists. She may have, she may not have. I don’t know. What I do know is that the sex that politicians have is off less interest to me then any possible sex my parents have ever had. At least resulted in my life. Should we now be saying that people’s sex lives influence or effect how they do their jobs? Is this to be the next awkward interview question? “And so where do you see yourself in five years? Any possibility of sex thats not strictly man-on-woman missionary?”

Many people found this story abhorrent. I was one. Several people felt strongly enough to complain to ACMA. Which handed down a judgement that wasn’t even a slap on the wrist. It was… nothing. A complete waste of words when they could have struck down a firm judgement, drawn a line in the sand and said this, this here, what you’ve done, that’s just discrimination. It’s saying that a persons sex life is somehow an indication of who they are, what they can do and how they will do their job. They did it because they thought that our society of voyeurism would mean that we would all get a secret shiver of naughty delight to know this about someone in government. No one did. Most of us just felt sick. This was a real person, with a real family and a real right to a private life. And that was stolen from him. For absolutely no god damn reason.

Here’s a quote from ACMA’s pathetic ruling.

“The ACMA also found that the bulletin did not breach clause 1.9.6 of the code as it was not likely to provoke intense dislike, serious contempt or severe ridicule against the Minister on the ground of sexual preference.”

But the bit that made my blood rage in my veins, that made me want to write a slew of angry letters to the editor, the lines that actually made me want to howl with fury at this pathetic organisation was THIS:

“But while the broadcast invaded Mr Campbell’s privacy, the Authority concluded it was nonetheless in the public interest to use the material as it explained the Minister’s resignation.”

He wouldn’t have resigned if the story had not run.

What the hell is wrong with you ACMA?


One Response to “Are private lives in the public interest?”
  1. helenmahar says:

    people are stupid.

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