I came home tonight to find my husband in tears.
He had just deleted a post on social media, on the LGBTIQ community page Pokolbin Pride, slating the LGBTIQ community and he and I personally (as the organisers of Pokolbin Pride) as bullies. At the same time my husband banned the FB user responsible for the post from the page. Minutes later a friend and what looked like family member of the banned user reposted the same rant.
My husband has now removed himself from social media. “I’m logging out of social media until this whole plebiscite is over. I’m physically and emotionally drained. My mental health has suffered immensely and I can’t look at any more comments or shares regarding the no vote. I have tried my hardest to push the yes vote but can’t do it anymore. If you need me, Call or message me or contact Jimmy on Facebook,” Matty Kerr.
The Turnbull Government has made it illegal for broadcast media to refuse to run campaigns. The legislation excluded print and online media.
I will leave to one side the wrongness of the government getting involved in private decisions between legal entities on political advertising for now.
If a media owner wants to back a particular view or refuse advertising from a political group they should be allowed. Their customers will decide if it was a good decision.
Two weeks ago the Cessnock Advertiser owned by Fairfax Media chose to allow the Kurri Kurri Congregational Church through Rev. P Graham to run a full page advert promoting No to Same Sex Marriage.
Our community, the local LGBTIQ community, were and remain hurt by the untruths in the advert and frankly un-Christian tone it took.
We took to social media to share the hurt and chose as a group to review the Cessnock Advertiser’s decision via their Facebook page. Within 12 hours their review score had dropped from more than 4 stars to less than 2. The Cessnock Advertiser then decided to remove the opportunity for public review from their FB page.
An additional response to the running of the No advert was a local crowd funding campaign to run a Yes advert. Funds were raised and the advert ran today. The Cessnock Advertiser happy to take Yes money as much as No money.
Another full page No advert ran today at the same time as the Yes advert.
There were no reviews two weeks ago from the local community supporting the Cessnock Advertiser’s decision to run the No advert.
The review functionality remains turned off on their FB page. Perhaps if this feature was turned on again the readers would be able to share their support or otherwise for the advertising decisions made over the last few weeks.
Through our businesses my husband and I had committed a fairly significant sum to advertising across Fairfax’s titles on and off line. As a result of their decision to run No adverts we will never spend money with Fairfax again. We encourage Yes voters to boycott their titles and cancel any planned advertising.
The editorial and advertising team were well within their legal rights to refuse No money and they decided otherwise.
Today we were contacted by the Newcastle Herald another Fairfax title as they are planning to run an LGBTIQ feature pull-out on the weekend of Pokolbin Pride.
Their salesperson wrote this “The format of this feature is strictly non-political in relation to the current postal survey. Its sole focus is to support the LGBTIQ community in the region, inform interested readers on the history of the Pride movement in the region and cover events, venues, support services and other related articles of general interest to the LGBTIQ community including the float entry for the next Mardi Gras.”
I wrote back explaining that Pokolbin Pride was a not for profit community festival the only one of it’s kind the Newcastle and Hunter Region. Did we need to “pay for advertising to get coverage in the pull out.”
The response “As with all our features we invite editorial submissions from supporting advertisers…. Pokolbin Pride will be covered whether you advertise or not but we cannot guarantee the level of coverage it will get. Along with the general interest editorial our supporting paid advertisers, some of who are non-for-profit organisations, will get priority with their events and services as well.”
Our feeling is that the pull-out is a shameless attempt to extract dollars from LGBTIQ groups on the back of the plebiscite and neither our businesses nor Pokolbin Pride will be supporting it.
The only winners of the Plebiscite are Australia Post and the media running the campaigns.
- Turnbull regardless of the result is done for at the next election.
- The public’s lack of faith in the political system has definitely increased.
- The Yes campaign, whilst it looks like a positive result, have not so far rebutted the No campaign with the vigour that is needed to protect our community properly.
- The No campaign will likely and hopefully go down in history as one of the last times inhumane, fascist, sexist, racist and homophobic views were given airtime in a seemingly civilised democracy.
Matty and I encourage YES voters of any sexual or political persuasion to join us and hundreds of others at Pokolbin Pride on the 20-22nd October for music, fun, great wine and food and a celebration of love and kindness.
Yes that is plug for our Festival, this is our media channel and we will do what we like with it.
Love will win,
Jimmy & Matty Kerr