||[Jun. 13th, 2008|07:31 am]
As posted to the "No Censorship" list late yesterday evening in response to the following observation....
>Hetty Johnston's Crikey piece on Monday about the need to subordinate
>artistic freedom to human rights provides a new perspective on Johnston's
>own decision to accept support from the adult entertainment industry in
>Johnston (who didn't return Crikey's call before deadline) accepted
>donations from adult industry companies Club X, Adultshop and Gallery
>totalling more than $4,000 for her Senate campaign in the 2004 election.
>Johnston attracted 0.18% of first preference votes in Queensland.
I have just returned from the Art Censorship debate and when Hetty
Johnston mentioned that the NSW Federal Attorney General seemingly
agreed with her that Henson should have been convicted (or something
like that). I asked Hetty whether she was aware of the shops selling
unclassified and falsely rated "X" material.
She asked "Do you mean adult shops ?" and I answered in the
affirmative suggesting that while she's in New South Wales she could
possibly check them out. She mentioned that she wasn't terribly
interested in adult shops only in "child abuse" material - and she
made it clear she regarded and regards Bill Henson's works as being
pornographic despite the decisions of the classification board and
that she is DETERMINED to have the matter resolved by the New South
Wales State government.
She mentioned that one other person had mentioned adult shops to her
previously but explained she is mainly interested in child abuse
material and unless material involves underage children it isn't a
major avenue of interest to her.
I explained that under our present laws there are no labeling laws
with regards to age other than those which prevent the display of
adult material to minors and that there are no laws (as they have in
the United States) certifying the age of the participants and that
perhaps some of the material on sale involve people who could be
I asked if she'd taken the issue up with Bob Debus, to which she
answered "Bob who ?" and I explained that he was the Federal Attorney
General in New South Wales prior to the election and that he was now a
Federal Censorship minister. I pointed out that I tended to disagree
with her viewpoints with regards to the Henson art works.
I now have her business card.
Clive Hamilton waffled on a fair bit much as Clive is prone to...
In summary of the order of speakers...
Ian Howard (University of New South Wales) spoke about military
censorship and how it took him to the Pentagon and mentioned the
images from the Viet Nam war of a naked child fleeing from Napalm.
Tony Bond (Art Gallery of New South Wales) spoke about artistic
integrity and how galleries take an ethical approach to material they
place on display.
Hetty Johnston read from the prepared document she was asked to
prepare (everyone had to do that) explained she spoke mainly from the
heart and was more comfortable with speaking her mind rather than
reading from prepared manuscripts. She wants to know how to determine
if someone is a legitimate artist - and not just John Smith
(pedophile) posing as a legitimate artist and it's this issue she is
taking up with the government. Artists have to prove they are
legitimate artists and not pedophiles pretending to be artists.
The most interesting and vocal (anti-censorship) speaker was lawyer
Julian Burnside QC who spoke passionately from a legal anti-censorship
Clive Hamilton tended to waffle on about "civil libertarians" and how
they were "all wrong" and "mixed up" or words to that effect.
There was question and answer between the attendees and then
questions from the audience who were mostly in the anti-censorship
David Marr didn't say a great deal but orchestrated the debate.
Margaret Pomeranz did the introduction and wound up by thanking
people for being there (the hall was crowded) suggesting the conveners
were worried they would only get 10 people. I didn't count but the
room was full.
I was asked to donate so I did. The event cost about $3,000 and the
lady I donated to explained that some of the expenses involved
accommodating Hetty in a hotel in Sydney. I explained that it was my
belief that Hetty was domiciled in New South Wales for at least two
months while she gets stuck into the New South Wales government.
It appears some report being prepared by Justice Wood is now being
delayed until September following the Bill Henson saga.
I now have Hetty Johnston's business card. I understand she may be
I wonder if she is a potential client for my fledgling business under
the NEIS scheme.
Debate: - interesting, well attended and lively (but civilised).