KEVIN Rudd's word police have banned the Opposition from describing his Government as disgraceful, inept and reckless under new printing entitlement regulations. The Opposition has cried foul as a team of "black marking" bureaucrats are voluntarily vetting letters, newsletters and Hansard in a bid to explain what words are in and what words are banned under the regulations.
Under the new regulations, MPs may not use their printing and communications allowance to disparage or denigrate another political party. Federal Liberal Gold Coast MP Steven Ciobo labelled the regulations as absurd, accusing the Rudd Government of censorship. The words Rudd's word police have banned:
"These sets of rules only benefit the Labor Government (and) Queensland constituents should be very concerned about the mass political interference in the role of federal MPs," Mr Ciobo said. "These are rules that we would point at (within) China and say 'How disgusting'."
Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig hit out at the Opposition, but conceded some bureaucrats were being overzealous. "This is not about what parliamentarians can say, it is about what they can spend taxpayers' money on," Senator Ludwig said. "There is no doubt that the Department of Finance and Deregulation has been overzealous in its application of the rules, (and it's) an issue the Government is working closely with the department and a cross-party consultative group to address. "What is clear is that not one word in these regulations prevents policy criticism by any member of Parliament. "What it does is stop the taxpayer picking up the tab for personal attacks and denigration."
But Michael Ronaldson, the Opposition's spokesman on the contentious issue, accused the Government of taking too long to address the problem. "Unfortunately, the officials in the Department of Finance who are vetting the material have taken this to mean that any strong criticism of Labor policy is forbidden," Senator Ronaldson said.
"We all agreed with the Audit Office findings that the old entitlements system was open to abuse, lacked clarity and needed reform. "Unless we get changes which protect our freedom of speech, the Coalition will have no alternative but to disallow Labor's unfair regulations."
Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here