Free speech from the coal face: Update

14 Mar

Update: I’ve just been made aware of yet another article alleging I lied about Reist’s religious affiliations, and that a bullying campaign of lies is being conducted against her on the Internet.

The fact that there is a comprehensive record of her involvements with a variety of conservative Christian groups, based almost entirely on their own literature and available both on line and in libraries, makes these accusations and the people who make them look very dishonest or gullible, to say the least.

Along with the conservative Baptist group the Salt Shakers, Reist was also involved with the Endeavour Forum, formerly Women Who Want to be Women. The motto of this organisation, run by Babette Francis, is  “A feminist is an evolutionary anachronism, a Darwinian blind alley.” These people are seriously anti feminist and anti choice. Their stated aim is to “outlaw abortion.”  Their connection with Reist is   confirmed in their literature.

If Reist has changed her views and moved away from these groups and their philosophies, why not simply say so? Denying any connection with them is absurd – the sourced and referenced evidence is available for anyone to see.  Are Reist and her supporters claiming all these religious groups have falsified their records in a conspiracy to discredit her?

Most of us understand that people can change their views and their affiliations. What is more difficult to understand is why anyone would attempt to deny those affiliations, and co-opt others into publicly supporting them in that denial to the extent that they put their own reputations on the line when it is apparent  that the affiliations existed.

As I’ve said before, there are areas of Reist’s work that I agree with in part, and I applaud her determination to bring these to public awareness, even though I don’t always agree with her methods. It seems to me that her determination to deny her past is only doing Reist and her cause harm, and quite frankly, I can’t see the point of it. Suing me isn’t going to make her history go away.

We all change allegiances about something during the course of our lives. It’s no great offense. But it becomes a problem if we deny the allegiances ever existed, and that anyone who states otherwise is a liar.

The more Reist and her supporters persist with this farce, the less credible they appear. No doubt Reist’s supporters do their own work well, so why risk their hard-earned reputations?

While I don’t doubt Reist has been the recipient of unsavoury commentary, this is a separate issue, and has nothing to do with me. I have used reliable sources, the religious groups themselves in most instances, and I have not abused Reist. So it might be time to leave me out of the claims of bullying, lies and on line abuse.

This may sound bizarre, but when I learned that I can’t be forced by the law to apologise and retract my opinions about Melinda Tankard Reist, I experienced the most profound relief. She can still bankrupt me. But she cannot make me lie.

This caused me to consider what it means to take away someone’s right to speak freely, and the conditions under which it might be justified. There are not many, I concluded. I will defer to Russell Blackwell on what these might be.

I don’t know what it does to someone to be forced into publicly professing a position they do not hold, out of fear that otherwise something dreadful will happen to them. It sickens me to think about it. I also wonder what could be the satisfaction in wresting a false apology from an opponent, in the full knowledge that they don’t mean it and have only proffered it to avoid the trouble you’ve threatened them with if they don’t comply.

Impasses caused by wildly differing opinions and interpretations are not unusual. Civilised people must find ways to deal with them that don’t require one party to compromise themselves out of fear.

In the weeks since I received the defamation threat, I’ve read some dreadful things about myself, some written by people one would expect to know better, some written by people who are pitifully uniformed, some downright threats such as the one that advised me to dig my own grave. I’ve been hurt, angered, saddened and disgusted. I’ve also taken on board what seemed to me like intelligent critical commentary, and I’ve learned from it.

Much as I would like to be able to silence those whose observations have caused me distress and even anxiety, I can’t, and I’ve had to find other ways of dealing with my discomfort. It’s called standing on your own two feet, and my grandmother taught me all about it. Threatening legal action is the easy way out. Finding the resources within yourself to deal with what somebody says about you that you hate them saying is far more challenging.

What I’ve also learned is that determining what causes “harm” is complex. For example, many things that have been written about me leave me entirely unaffected, while some cut me right to the heart. This in itself is an opportunity for learning. What is it about certain attacks that hurt so badly while others, that someone else might find intolerable, are irrelevant?

The answer of course lies in the individual psyche. In psycho babble terms, some attacks push buttons and the buttons they push are to do with personal history. Whenever my buttons are pushed, I’m compelled to ask why, and to track down the origins of the sensitivities. The good thing about this is once I’ve identified them I can defuse them, if only to the degree that when I next bristle I know why. This gives me better control over myself and my reactions, rather than yielding up that control to those who want to make me squirm and will be gratified if I do. It’s a long process. I expect to be in it for the rest of my life.

If I can get the law to just shut everybody up what have I gained? In my terms, nothing, and in the end one can only live by one’s own lights, no matter how bizarre they may seem to someone else. Demanding the law take care of something one can quite easily address oneself is like running to a parent when somebody’s said something mean. It’s fine for a certain phase of childhood, but after that it’s sad.

The moneyed (because it is only the moneyed who can embark on these actions, they are inaccessible to those without ample funds) who cannot deal with feeling offended, misrepresented, badly done by, wrongly described, wrongly judged, affronted, and so on ought not to be able to turn to the law in an attempt to resolve their injured feelings. There aren’t many of us who get through life without suffering these indignities, especially if we have any kind of public profile. To believe that we have the right to deny free speech to anyone as revenge for injured feelings is narcissistic overkill.  “You hurt me and I now have the right to destroy you, because I can afford to destroy you.” Or ” You hurt me and I will make you take it back by threatening to destroy you, because I have the money to do that.”

Mmmm. Wouldn’t a grown up just handle it?

I love free speech. I don’t love it blindly, and there are circumstances in which the speaker must be held legally accountable for his or her speech.I would like to imagine that anyone who is considering defamation action thinks deeply about what they are doing because what is certain is that one threatened action is like a pebble cast into a pond – the ripples are endless, and people not immediately involved are also silenced or restricted in their speech, out of fear. I would not like to be responsible for casting such a pebble without very good reason.

I can’t imagine a world in which everyone is always nice and inoffensive. It isn’t one of my dreams. What I do imagine is a world in which people stand strongly on their own two feet, because they’ve been taught how to do that. A world in which offense is dealt with by drawing on inner resources, because people have been taught from childhood how to develop the strength and character do that. A world in which something as precious as freedom of speech is not threatened by the disgruntled wealthy, but where there are legal safeguards for when it is dangerously abused.

66 Responses to “Free speech from the coal face: Update”

  1. lola March 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    After a really crap day at work, it is lovely to come home and read a reasonable person, thinking about how they are living their life, and being willing to reflect on their reactions and actions. Thanks Jennifer.


  2. Julia March 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    Defamation threats can also be a way form of free publicity. As has been seen lately, it gives all sorts of people a chance…a platform on which…to voice their opinions, defending the so-called “poor victim” of defamation from the “nasty bully”. Everyone loves the underdog, springing to defend, raising to populist hero status. So a relatively unknown leaps into fame. Gains gullible followers. Sells lots of copies of her books.”

    In this case…seems to be working.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

      Yes, I realise that now though it never occurred to me before. I like Chris Mitchell’s threat to sue someone for “deconstructing him.” That was original I thought!


  3. paul walter March 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    There is only one quarter any apology should come from and that’s from the perpetrators of the real offence, hidden behind a tantrum of anger at the individual daring to propose a variant interpretation of an issue not coincident with their own, expressed through farago of insinuation and malevolence.
    As with Andrew Bolt, their intellectual and moral credibility will be shot to pieces should they attempt to impose more suppression, more censorship, on issues quite appropriate for public discussion by affected parties.
    We are not living in Franco’s Spain, yet.


  4. Hypocritophobe March 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm #



  5. 730reportland March 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    First off, please stop feeling menaced if you can, as this is what the anti-choice pro-church lobbyists want. — Blackfords post seems to be a bit vague, on some points, playing down the lobbyist angle. I am pretty sure MTR has been introduced as `social-commentator` or `communications` blah blah on qanda, terms code for lobbyist. Being on TV and in the media does make her a public figure. We often hear the media claim movie stars are `public-property`. — I read some of the comments on the Blackford post, the thought-mud was thick and sniggy.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

      Yes, I’m going to be a bit more selective about comments I read. A few lately have been unsettling in their violence.


  6. Hudson Godfrey March 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    This is one of those articles that once read seems entirely consistent with what you might have expected of somebody writing under similar circumstances. Yet to go so far as to belittle its predictability is to miss the fact that I could not and would not dare much less be capable of writing this on Jennifer’s behalf. The value of the piece isn’t measured in terms of the words themselves as much as it is in the lived experience that she relates.

    And so it makes me wonder about the lived experience of others.

    Maybe there’s a person somewhere whose experience is to be maligned for views that they feel deeply and genuinely to be self evidently right but which they also know are unpopular and subjective to such a degree as to be most difficult to defend in the face of attacks that are as rationally well crafted as they are uncaring about your feelings on the matter. How difficult would it be to know that debating the topic would be the one major political blunder that you absolutely have to avoid if you want to attract and maintain support for your cause? How frustrating to be limited to tactics that most of us would however grudgingly regard as effective if intellectually disingenuous?

    Add to that the fact that you’re deeply vested in this ideology to the point where backtracking seems like breaking faith with your many supporters. After all this campaign has become something that appeals to people, even if sometimes it is for all the wrong reasons. So you try to convince yourself that any support is useful support because the cause after all is a just one. Isn’t it?

    Then the personal attacks start. Most are unjustified but a few are stinging nonetheless. After a while all the attacks seem to blur into a singular mode of distaste for you personally despite the occasional one that appeals to your intellect in a way that frustratingly you can’t respond to because you know that to debate on that level is to fight a losing battle between competing ideologies that are bound to overrun you.

    Eventually it takes its toll just as a detractor emerges who rather than remaining anonymous identifies themselves with some comments you take real exception to. That’s when you make your first big mistake. You may feel you’re within your rights to silence them but despite that you know what you’re about to do is likely to backfire. Yet despite all that the strength of your sense of offence has so often been something that informs your actions that you decide to try anyway. You pick up the phone, and you call a lawyer!

    What happens next was as equally predictable in your case as in the case of the lived experience of your opposite number. Far from dimming the criticism of your tactics is now redoubled even including some quite public rebukes from people you’d previously admired. The chorus of “this time she’s gone too far” is deafening. You begin to wonder, “How am I going to get out of this one?”

    I am of course merely surmising here. Surmising and waiting to see what happens.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 14, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

      That is a very impressive surmise, Hudson. It’s giving me food for thought.

      There is a way out for this person.


  7. Jo-Ann Whalley March 15, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    Hi Jennifer – I have been quiet but not inactive! Reading your writing with the usual delight and enjoying the thoughts they provoke. I am still beavering away and will have another email for you on Friday (being a bit provocative there I know!) My thoughts on the above post – What on earth in MTR’s modus operandi would lead anyone to expect that she would do anything other than react? I am only mildy surprised that she resorted to Lawyers FIRST rather than an orchestrated Twitter and Social media Hate campaign against you (that came AFTER the lawyers letters lol) that is what she does!! Ban it! Shut it up! Make it go away! That is her answer to everything she deems offensive. Her resorting to lawyers and trampling on free speech is EXACTLY what she DOES – to everyone! Stay strong 🙂


    • Jennifer Wilson March 15, 2012 at 7:26 am #

      Oh, that’s a tease! Yes, from what several people are telling me, threats of legal action are the default position, there’s been others before me. Nobody else has gone public about them.

      I hadn’t thought about a social media campaign, but perhaps that wasn’t used at first because I’m not a public figure.


      • Doug Quixote March 15, 2012 at 8:23 am #

        Exactly – you could be shut up quickly and effectively without needing to mobilise the claque, and needlessly divert them from their god-given duties to ban truth, justice and the humanist way.



      • Hypocritophobe March 15, 2012 at 9:51 am #



        • Jennifer Wilson March 15, 2012 at 10:12 am #

          Apropos of nothing: today is my birthday. Beware the Ides of March. Pass me the entrails. And keep anyone called Julius at home.


          • Hypocritophobe March 15, 2012 at 11:16 am #


            1) Keep your peepers out today. The irrepressible beauty of the natural world will deliver a serendipitous display of her appreciation of your connection to this amazing place.

            2) Frisk whoever jumps out of the giant cake(as often as the urge requires)

            3) I take it fish is off the menu then?


          • doug quixote March 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

            Happy Birthday!


  8. silkworm March 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Happy birthday, Jennifer. I thought some humour might make a nice gift.

    The first link is to a series of Doonesbury cartoons that were banned by papers in several conservative Christian states of the US.

    The second link is to This Modern World which ran a cartoon a couple of weeks ago and which upset a lot of Catholics.

    Do you know when MTR’s birthday is? I’d like to send her a “shaming wand” for her birthday.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

      Thank you. I really enjoyed both those strips. I also like the idea of compulsory rectal examinations for those Rep. men who are waging war on women.

      I’ve no idea about Reist’s personal details. I’m sure you’d find it somewhere on Google. Unless it’s been cleaned up like the Wiki page!


  9. Matthew March 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    As for KF2BK, Julie Gale has been connected with MTR since she was director at Women’s Forum Australia. She can’t exactly claim ignorance in regard to MTR’s connections with the religious right. As for Dr Michael Carr-Gregg in the same article claiming you and anyone else who speaks about MTR’s faith is bullying her, here he is at the ACCESS Chaplaincy Dinner in 2010;

    They’re all the fucking same aren’t they? They can call you or Leslie Cannold or me or anyone else a bully, but they’re still knee deep in the religious right and no amount of playing the victim is going to change that. They seriously shit me to tears.


  10. lola March 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    Hippo birdie two ewe!

    Oi! You have gone too far – the party is over here 😛

    I shall make a cake in your honour to share at work tomoro with my stressed out colleagues – we shall toast you, as we salute all who stand up to bullies.


  11. Julia March 16, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    Happy birthday Jennifer. I hope your thoroughly enjoyed your special day and you received at least one prezzie you actually wanted. May the year ahead be your best one yet.


    • helvityni March 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

      Hi there Grandma Julia, you are such a huggable person, do not forget to clip those chin hairs 🙂


  12. Julia March 16, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    So much touted concern for women and children, including references to objection to medical eugenics…yet so far, not word word anywhere in any media from any of this mob about the new laws being introduced in W.A. whereby a psychiatrist can have a child sterilised…against her and her parents’ wishes…and not having to bother asking permission from the courts. The same shrink can force the child to take dangerous anti-psychotic drugs and electro shock therapy….a proceedure that is NOT anywhere else allowed to be used on someone under 18 and even then only as a last resort.
    Where are the scream from KF2BK, the Dr Carr-bloody- hyphenated-Greggs, the Gales Dines and the MTRs etc. So concerned for children, are they? Yet their collective…as well as individual…silence is deafening.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 16, 2012 at 7:22 am #

      I thought the same thing – they are very selective about what they protest aren’t they?
      Thanks for the birthday wishes – a video of my baby grandson leering and grinning at me pretty much satisfied all my wishes!


  13. Julia March 16, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    typo * that should read : not one word in any media.

    The mention above re: Catholic morality…
    here is a perfect example:


    • Jennifer Wilson March 16, 2012 at 7:20 am #

      Well, that’s interesting. A class action against the Catholic church for forced adoption. Will follow that case.


      • Hypocritophobe March 16, 2012 at 11:04 am #

        JW Check out the plague of Catholic articles over at Scott Stephens advertorial,today.
        Pretty soon we will need to sip wine and break bread to comment.

        Hope the birthday was enjoyable.And that you blew out ALL the candles.MHR,again.


  14. paul walter March 16, 2012 at 2:21 am #

    Southpark and Cartman are of course the originators of the rectal probe popularisation notion.
    The Tea Party types of course have dreamed up a real doozy in a number of “cracker” states over there: the Magic Wand trick whereby women seeking termination are subjected to physical invasion through the insertion of a cattle-prod like ultra sound wand. The Virginia legislature tried to push it through (unfortunate terminological alignment, here) but it was finally reckoned this would constitute rape.
    This was after quite some violence meted out to peaceful protestors, btw.
    Low and behold, if another redneck state, Mississippi, I think, is not now trying the same antic.

    It’s your birthday? Happy birthday, Dr Jennifer Wilson!


  15. gerard oosterman March 16, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    Happy Birthday Jennifer from Him and from me too!

    Regards, Helvi

    Sorry for being late, but we have been celebrating another March Birthday in Sydney.


    • helvityni March 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm #



      • helvityni March 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

        thank god, it’s finally working, only I seem to have a new name…


        • doug quixote March 16, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

          Welcome back.

          I acquired an avatar as well as signing up : the serious explanation is that it is Don Quixote’s view of himself, the grand knight on a grand charger (Rocinante never looked so good!) – rather than the reality of an old senor on a sway-backed nag.

          It may look like a teenage wank, but I thought it amusing, and quite pretty,


          • helvityni March 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

            DQ, it’s a very nice picture, I wish everybody chose their own…( now you all look like ants and I get you all mixed up) 🙂


          • Jennifer Wilson March 17, 2012 at 7:15 am #

            I’m very taken with your avatar. It’s quite lovely. It doesn’t look anything like what I imagine a teenage wank looks like. 🙂


            • Hypocritophobe March 17, 2012 at 10:43 am #

              In that case you have narrowed the search for any new avatar I acquire.
              It’s off to a suitable Google Image site.
              Those two words should throw up a few warning windows.


        • paul walter March 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

          Julia, you’re right and many who have followed WA politics for years are aware of some of the egregious responses to different social issues that so seem to parallel affairs in the ” Deep North” state of Queensland (and parts of NSW).
          Like yourself, many are baffled at the crudity of aboriginal affairs, for example, so resonant of the mid west and deep south “red” states of the USA.
          Very “cracker” these places, to go with some sort of level of informational, educational or mental inadequacy, and much hard religious ideology alibiing for some quite vicious treatment of scape goat “others”.


          • doug quixote March 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm #



    • Jennifer Wilson March 17, 2012 at 7:16 am #

      Thank you Helvi and Gerard, for your good wishes. I seem to be surrounded by Pisces people. This is the season of the fish!


  16. DontSueMeMTR March 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    I applaud this post. Especially the bit about people needing to grow up instead of running to a “parent” every time their feelings get hurt. Sums up my feelings pretty nicely.

    Happy birthday for the other day.

    And those cartoons were fantastic.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 19, 2012 at 10:07 am #

      Thank you. Some of those cartoons were banned by a large number of US media.


  17. Gruffbutt March 23, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Hi, Jennifer,

    A belated happy birthday from me too. Life keeps getting in the way of my reading…

    I’ll post something one day when I’ve got something worth adding (apart from birthday wishes and such). Keep up the fine articles, as well as your chin (but not for punching…and how many cheeks do they think you have? Bastards…)

    Hang in there and other cliches.


  18. Beste March 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Jule Gale has updated her article in response to Jennifer Wilson & Matthew

    she take issue with matthews “knee deep in the religious right” comment


    • Hypocritophobe March 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      Sour little bint isn’t she.Perhaps she is setting an example for the kids on tantrum chucking?
      No confession as to whether she gets gigs via the network of the religious right and their invisible champions.(Faceless men/women)
      In other words her confession is not worth the paper it’s not written on.
      And just because she says she isn’t ‘knee deep’, does not mean she isn’t.
      That stuff is all a state secret.Wiki has been ‘cleansed’.
      Only Clive would know,now.


  19. Beste March 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    This comment from Elizabeth Handsley (from Kf2bf facebook page) says alot

    “Good one Julie! But really … so what if you are however deep in the religious right? Does that make it OK to bully you? That seemed to be Matthew’s argument.”


    • Matthew March 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

      I feel a little embarrassed that my comment was used by them in this way. I was really pissed off at the time I wrote it. Crap, I certainly don’t want to inflame anything further. Sort of regret saying it now. Sorry Jennifer… I’m not sure why MTR’s supporters keep harping on in articles about the “horrible oppression” of MTR by Jennifer. Wouldn’t it be in their interests to keep quiet and let everything blow over? I’ve read more than a few tweets from people expressing surprise that MTR worked for Senator Brian Harradine (I’m sure MTR wishes death on Brian Baxter). Then again nothing in this saga has made a great deal of sense to me. It’s a flipping PR disaster for her, well at least in the twitterverse. Q&A and the Morning Show still want her.


      • Jennifer Wilson March 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

        Don’t worry Matthew, you won’t make anything worse. You think they would keep quiet, but now it looks like Hetty Johnston is threatening parents with lawyers as well. See the Drum today.


        • Hypocritophobe March 23, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

          I wonder if Handsley’s name pops up in support of Bravehearts next week.On the list of 3 supporting Reports.
          If any real list is forthcoming.

          Gut feeling_They (Bravehearts) will probably defer for legal reasons, if they have Reist fever.
          (Not so Braveheart thing to do)

          And as an aside..It’s amazing how HUGE this ‘women and girls industry’ has become and the entanglement and the internal back-scratching, connections therein.(Legal/religious etc.) Most cosy and lucrative by the look of it.
          (eg I wonder, how much would the Hetty Johnston Empire earn/control?Julie Gale? Bet they don’t drive around in clapped out Nissan Skylines)

          The Womens/Girls industry. Is it the Girluminatti?
          {Oh well, in the end it’s probably still another wavering house of cards.}


      • Jennifer Wilson March 23, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

        I just had a read of the update – it’s silly. I’ve never had anything to do with Gale but she seems to want to be involved in the drama. I don’t know anything about her or her work. Situations like this always attract drama queens who want to make it about them, and perhaps she’s that type. Who knows? I don’t feel any need to engage with her – she’s not a player.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

      I don’t do Facebook, Beste, so I haven’t got a clue what’s being said there! Thanks for filling me in.


  20. Hypocritophobe March 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    This “profit from children modification operator” also quotes this.:
    “It is incumbent upon writers to check their sources and “not believe everything they read online”, no matter how many lemmings repeat it.”

    And yet she appears to take offence at anything bruising her thin outer membrane.

    I do hope that all ‘her’ supporting documents are fully accountable and available for scrutiny, and not sourced from that evil entity the ‘interweb.’.

    Reminder for Julie ;

    No Place For Sheep
    Politics, Society, Satire, Fiction, Fun Stuff


    • Hypocritophobe March 23, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

      Well it ‘is’ the weekend

      And this one below (SLAPP) is highly recommended for JW (as well)


      • Jennifer Wilson March 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

        Are you all aware of the Bravehearts’ Hetty Johnston “threat” to a parent who questioned literature from them his child was given in school?


        • Hypocritophobe March 23, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

          I am aware JW,and I am hanging out for next week to see whether this Incorporated body will do the right thing,or play silly buggers.How Johnston could claim to not have resources to answer a simple request and then engage lawyers is dubious to say the least.

          From what was written at The Drum,this is certainly not a good look.
          One must ask why it took so long for this question to be raised,and if there is any substance to it,why has a solitary parent raised the issue and then one lone blogger,and no media orgs?

          Parents either AWOL or unaware or misinformed until now?????.
          Quite bizarre.


        • doug quixote March 24, 2012 at 12:01 am #

          Wow! I noticed Hetty’s short note in commentary, but then the list of replies lengthened – and present company were not even involved.

          It seems bizarre to me to say to small children that their mouths and chests are “private parts”, as appears to be the case.

          We really do risk throwing out the baby with the bathwater if children are not to be touched at all by any adult not their own mother – for that is where it is heading.


          • Hypocritophobe March 24, 2012 at 12:18 am #

            She could easily have defused this whole thing by posting the so called 3 supporting reviews.
            I’m not sure if Greg Barns approached her about this before placing the Drum article,but I would guess that between him and the parent concerned,they would both have backed off had she done the right thing.

            It smacks of arrogance.

            “How dare anyone question me!”

            Sound familiar, DQ?


            • Jennifer Wilson March 24, 2012 at 8:02 am #

              Yes, Hypo, it sounds alarmingly familiar. I’m interested to see the Monday response, because I’m totally flummoxed – why not just answer the father’s very reasonable questions?


            • Jennifer Wilson March 24, 2012 at 8:12 am #

              I think we are about to witness another practical demonstration of the Streisand Effect in the Hetty Johnston situation. It has already begun – if she’d answered the dad’s questions the Drum article would never have been written.


          • Jennifer Wilson March 24, 2012 at 8:05 am #

            I know, we’ve all been very restrained. I got a couple of small observations up. I haven’t read the Bravehearts’ material so cannot comment on that. I’m just amazed at the involvement of lawyers. I really think there’s going to be a backlash against all these legal threats sooner or later. I wouldn’t be donating to Bravehearts if I thought they were spending my money on lawyers instead of answering perfectly reasonable questions.


            • hudsongodfrey March 24, 2012 at 10:29 am #

              Sadly Jennifer there won’t be Monday comments….

              The dear old folks at unleashed shut down the topic right on cue Friday evening so that nobody has to work over the weekend.

              I’ll grant Hetty that she did at least attempt to comment, weasel words though they may have been. Had the thread remained open then the challenge to make a better defence of her actions, that others including myself threw out to her, might have remained open.

              I think it insulting of these self appointed arbiters of child welfare to treat anyone who disagrees with them like they’re the enemy. Effectively staring down their self righteous noses at parents with legitimate questions as if to accuse them of either being child abusers or at least giving succour to those “rock spiders” we’ve all too easily been given permission to hate!

              I have sympathy for her cause as I think do most people, but I don’t think she understands the first thing about the psychology of child abuse. It isn’t that I’m any great expert either, but the points that the parent Daniel Jeffares made resonate more with me than do Hetty’s reaction, which was simply to lawyer up and refuse to even discuss it with him.


  21. Hypocritophobe March 24, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    HG if I read HJ’s comment right,the Drum is putting up her response to Barns on Monday.
    If she answers the relevant queries the concerned parent had, satisfactorily,it is likely to be a miracle.
    Why would she not have done that prior to next Monday?
    I think she will either:

    1) NOT answer.(Because the 3 reviews don’t exist)

    2) Not answer (because the 3 reviews may actually not be what Bravehearts want in the public arena.
    (Possibly, an embarrassing association,or not independent advice or not conclusive, or Church sourced)
    If she chooses to withhold,she will probably use the ‘excuse’ that it is legal advice,because of her instigated actions, for as long as she can hold out.(Hoping it will all go away)
    This of course would bring on a massive follow up wave of queries, which will impact on government,media and public servants,as parents (and others) demand answers.

    3) Answer satisfactorily (Best option, but looking like the lowest % chance)

    Either way, a lot more people are going to be doing a lot more watching and asking of Bravehearts, going forward.
    Any damage they do/have done to their brand is totally self inflicted.
    Jeffares has my sympathy.He will be having his phone rung off the hook as the spot fires break out.(If I were he I’d also be seeking legal advice long before talking to HJ or her lawyers)

    Hetty Johnston is quoted somewhere as saying,
    “I am a born lobbyist.”
    No doubt she will try to use any clout / contacts she has to snuff out the current controversy.
    I’m glad for Jeffares, they (Braveheart) are beholding to a written signed Constitution.


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