Sunday, December 4

I was targeted by Murdoch-owned media for supporting independent candidates and their climate agendas | Blair Palese


This week I was shocked to discover myself on the front page of the Australian and other Murdoch-owned media where I was accused of being anti-Israel. This came as a huge surprise not just to me, but to my family, my neighbors and the many professional colleagues I have worked with as an editor and climate activist.

It was a shock because, while I’ve been targeted for years for my climate change work, I have never been the target of a politically motivated hit job designed to undermine the independent candidates I support.

It was also a shock to read that I am anti-Israel because I am not anti-Israel. I am not an anti-Israel activist. I am not an expert on Israel and don’t pretend to be. I leave that to those who do the hard work of making it their area of ​​expertise.

I have deep friendships and work closely with colleagues in the Jewish community in Australia, the US and around the world. Somehow, I am being used by Murdoch media to try to weaponise the issue of Israel, divide the Jewish community and turn them against sensitive independent candidates.

I am a human, not a tweet. But that is how the Australian decided to define me based on three retweets (retweets!) that I posted. Two of them were over 10 years ago. I retweeted about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign during this year’s Sydney festival because it was a campaign that cut through very quickly and was much discussed in the campaign world. I was not part of that campaign, nor did I call for people to boycott the festival. I went to a festival event myself.

As a citizen exercising my right to free speech, my two other retweets were about specific human rights abuses. It’s something I feel strongly about not just in Israel but around the world.

In the wake of this personal attack – and threats of more like it to come – what is not a shock to me is that it happened. Murdoch’s media and the Liberal party seem to specialize in intimidating and bullying those they oppose. It poses a real threat to fair elections in Australia.

Sure, I was the headline, but it’s not about me. It’s about smearing by association the dynamic, independent, mostly female candidates l support and I believe offer Australia the best chance for positive change at the May election.

I am simply a pawn to sacrifice in order for the Australian to defeat a powerful slate of independent candidates who believe in the integrity of government and want to change the toxic political culture in Canberra.

I fervently support these candidates because they are championing sound policies for the public good. I don’t write their policies on anything – that’s their job – and from what I’ve seen, they are very good at it. We’ve seen what they can do. Their medivac, climate and integrity bills are just the kind of policy Australia needs. I support these candidates because it’s time to see what independents can do.

What I am, to my great surprise, is a big enough threat to be front page news. It seems laughable and paranoid – that the Australian would pick on a lone volunteer for such scrutiny. The Liberal member for Wentworth, Dave Sharma, has taken to tweeting photos of me.

But that does not mean it hurts any less. As anyone who knows me knows, I have worked hard for three decades as a climate activist, journalist and businesswoman. I volunteer in my community. I have a family. After watching the painful interview with Michael Towke on The Project this week, I can’t imagine what he and his family went through when the prime minister, Scott Morrison, and his team went to work on him.

It is why I think it is so important to get the independents into power. And that is what this is all about.

This week global climate scientists said we only have three years to begin to reduce emissions for a livable planet. The independent candidates I support want to do more than send their prayers as yet another round of deadly flooding hits Lismore and Sydney, or when the next devastating fires burn across Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

The independents want federal government action that meets the urgency of the crisis. It’s time to vote for elected officials who will address this threat, not hide from it. It’s time to vote for independent candidates who have put addressing climate at the top of their agendas.

I ended up on the front page of the Australian because I dared to volunteer and to talk up these candidates and their priorities. As we head to the election in May, I ask my fellow Australians to focus on that, and not the Australian’s attack coverage.

I’ll be there with you. And I’ll continue to speak out, to tweet and campaign for climate solutions and policy. See you at the polling booth.


www.theguardian.com

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