Quarterly Essay 26 His Master’s Voice: The Corruption of Public Debate under Howard
Page count: 100 pages
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John Howard has the loudest voice in Australia. He has cowed his critics, muffled the press, intimidated the ABC, gagged scientists, silenced NGOs, censored the arts, prosecuted leakers, criminalised protest and curtailed parliamentary scrutiny. Though touted as a contest of values, this has been a party-political assault on Australia’s liberal culture. In the name of “balance”, the Liberal Party has muscled its way into the intellectual life of the country. And this has happened because we let it happen. Once again, Howard has shown his superb grasp of Australia as it really is. In His Master’s Voice, David Marr investigates both a decade of suppression and the strange willingness of Australians to watch, with such little angst, their liberties drift away.
“More than any law, any failure of the Opposition or individual act of bastardry over the last decade, what’s done most to gag democracy in this country is the sense that debating John Howard gets us nowhere.” -David Marr, His Master’s Voice