Friday, 4 January 2013

Media's Interpretation of "Head of State"

Last year, Channel Nine's 60 Minute show screened "The Good Wife" - a story about the anti-feminist crusader Samantha Brick.

In that story, Liam Bartlett used the phrase "Head of State" when asking a question of feminist Germaine Greer in respect of an earlier comment about the Prime Minister's bottom that Miss Greer had made on the ABC's Q&A programme. Liam's question was in the context of a discussion about the Prime Minister and, therefore, inferred that the Prime Minister is Australia's Head of State as did Miss Greer as well in respect of David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

An extract from the relevant part of the THE GOOD WIFE transcript follows:
GERMAINE: Can we just work this one out? Do they open doors or shut them? First of all she says oh, I’m being discriminated against ‘cause I’m so lovely. Now she says I’ve used my looks to get where I am. Just shut up, Samantha, for God’s sake. 
LIAM BARTLETT: Something Germaine herself significantly failed to do when the temptation to be bitchy was dangled before her - in the shape of the Prime Minister’s posterior. 
GERMAINE: You’ve got a big arse, Julia. Just get over it.
LIAM BARTLETT: I mean, you’ve been guilty of it yourself - critiquing people on the basis of their physical attributes - when you were talking about the Prime Minister’s bottom.
GERMAINE: I wasn’t talking about her backside, I was talking about her jacket. 
LIAM BARTLETT: You were talking about the size of her bum.
GERMAINE: I said “so you’ve got a big arse, get on with it.” Most of us have big arses. 
LIAM BARTLETT: Can you imagine a bloke saying that about a head of state, talking about their backside? Can you imagine a bloke getting away with that? That’s exactly what Samantha Brick’s talking about. 
GERMAINE: You can say whatever you like about a head of state. Have you see the cartoons of David Cameron as a condom?
An extract from the relevant part of the THE GOOD WIFE 60 Minute story follows:

Interestingly, the phrase "Head of State" is not mentioned anywhere in the Australian Constitution. Nor is that phrase mentioned in two outriding constitutional documents - The Statute of Westminster 1931 and the Australia Act 1986. The Prime Minister may be referred to as the "Head of Government" but never as "Head of State".

But Liam Bartlett is not the only reporter in the media who has made this mistake. Hellen Dalley made a similar inference in respect of John Howard on the Nine Network's Sunday progam, and which later aired on Sky News on Sunday, 16 March 2003.

In the following movie Helen Dalley implied that John Howard was a Head of State:

It's a pity that such high standing reporters do not fully understand our system of Government. Then again, most in the media are of the belief that we actually elect our Prime Minister - another furphy pushed onto the Australian people!

1 comment:

  1. As a CONSTITUTIONALIST I take the position that the British monarch is the Head of State, represented in the Commonwealth of Australia by the Governor-General, who appoints Ministers of the Crown being his "advisors" and run departments as the "responsible Ministers". To declare war or peace is the prerogative power of ther Monarch exercised by the Governor-General in the Commonwealth of Australia. Hnece the armed invasion into Iraq was a war crime, etc, as a Prime Minister has no powers to declare war, and no declaration of war was published in the Gazette to authorise the armed invasion