If Vera Figner were the ABC Ombudsman, the outcome would’ve been very different for a complaint about an online article ABC News published on 16 April. 

Said article is kind-of about the Western Australian government’s announcement of its intention to abolish its Gender Reassignment Board and introduce sex self-ID. Except for much of its length it’s just a puff piece about the ABC’s new fav man-who-says-he’s-a-woman, Danielle (Dean) Laidley (who’s also on the ABC payroll, just incidentally), given he featured at the Perth press conference on the legislation’s introduction. 

This got the goat of a mate of ours, who complained to the ABC: 

And this is what she got back from the Ombudsman:

For pity’s sake, Ombo! How limp and lame can you be! How totally and thoroughly disingenuous! 

This is what Vera would’ve done:

  • She wouldn’t have taken what ABC News Management said at face value. After all, the ABC Ombudsman’s supposed to be separate and independent, right? Not a messenger for the content-making areas. 
  • So first she would’ve decided whether the information about Laidley’s stalking was relevant – a point ABC News Management (and the Ombudsman) apparently opted to sidestep. And she would’ve decided that the issue of men’s violence towards women is relevant to any discussion to sex self-ID. For the same reasons as stated by the complainant: sex self-ID makes it easier for men to access spaces in which women are vulnerable to male predation and which have been, for that very reason, designated as women-only. 
  • So next she would have turned her mind to the issue of spent convictions. Suppose, she thought, there was a celeb who’d committed a petty theft as a teenager. It’d be unfair to bring that up every time said celeb was in the news, frustrating his/her chances of maturing and moving on. But this is different. This is a case of suppressing a recent (2020) case of harassment and stalking by a bloke whose public persona was being made – at the very event reported in the article – into the poster-boy for an initiative that involves the invasion of women’s spaces. Accordingly, Vera would’ve argued, Laidley’s stalking is relevant to the topic of this article, and needed to be referenced in order to give the public the full picture. 
  • So then she would’ve done a bit of digging, and found the plethora of articles that mention Laidley’s stalking that are still on the internet, ie in the public domain, apparently unhampered and unhindered by Victoria’s Spent Convictions Act
  • So she would’ve gone back to ABC News Management and asked them some thorny questions. Like: Are they saying it would actually be a contravention of the Spent Convictions Act to mention Laidley’s stalking? If so, just what section of the Act would it be a contravention of? 

Is it actually be a contravention of the Spent Convictions Act to mention Laidley’s stalking alongside his promotion of sex self-ID?

  • Our guess is that this probing would be enough to expose ABC News Management’s real reason for concealing Laidley’s past conduct, which – as surely even Blind Freddy could see – has nothing to do with the Spent Convictions Act and everything to do with the ABC’s thralldom to the powerful gender-identity lobby, which causes it to suppress virtually any information that might be contrary to that lobby’s interests. 
  • With that sorted, Vera would’ve pinged the Laidley article for breach of the ABC’s impartiality requirements
  • But she wouldn’t have stopped there. She would’ve sat down, rolled up her sleeves, and tackled all the other things wrong with the article. Starting with: No comment from opponents of the proposed legislation, like the Western Australian Women’s Action Alliance, or Women’s Forum Australia. Another ping for lack of impartiality. 
  • And going on with: No qualification of the WA Attorney-General John Quigley’s erroneous claim that his legislation is just bringing Western Australia ‘out of the dark ages, up to a level of social reform that the rest of the country already respects and enjoys’. Not quite the rest of the country, John – New South Wales hasn’t succumbed to sex self-ID either. (Yet.) The article should comment on and correct this inaccuracy, not let it stand in a way that would make readers think it a fact. After all, the ABC isn’t supposed to be a PR company for the WA government. (Just as the ABC Ombudsman isn’t supposed to be a mouthpiece for the news desk.) Ping for misleading. 
  • Next: repeating Mark Butler’s comment on the Cass review (‘clinical treatment of transgender children in Australia [is] very different than in the UK’) without adding that the Cass review doesn’t exactly give Australian practices the big tick – quite the contrary. Second ping for misleading.
  • For good measure, Vera would’ve tackled another ABC article about Laidley, the one hyperlinked to the article our mate complained about. This article – incomprehensibly categorised as a news story – is nothing more than a fawning and free plug for Laidley’s doco about himself on Stan. Third ping on impartiality – Lisa Millar makes not even a flimsy gesture in that direction – and a ping on Editorial Policies 11 and 12,  advertising restrictions and commercial references. 
  • Fired up by her efforts so far, Vera wouldn’t have rested till she’d written to John Quigley telling him how inappropriate it is to have a stalker as an advocate for his legislative initiative, especially when the country’s experiencing a veritable epidemic of femicide
  • As she’d chewed on the metaphorical end of her metaphorical quill, she would’ve reflected on what a load of bollocks gender-identity ideology is, and what a lousy misogynistic legislative initiative Quigley and Laidley are pushing, and she would’ve told him that too. 
  • Reaching for a metaphorical new sheet of paper, she would’ve then metaphorically penned an epistle to Mark Butler telling him how badly we need an independent inquiry into youth gender medicine, and then another to Kim Williams telling him how hollow his pontificating about impartiality sounds while the ABC is still in ACON’s AWEI scheme

I daresay Vera would’ve been sacked as ABC Ombudsman after all this, but at least she’d have the satisfaction of a job well done. The following weekend she’d be out at a Women Will Speak rally, joining hands with everybody else who’s determined to reveal the havoc gender-identity ideology is wreaking on society, and help bring about its end.

Because the stakes are too high not to.