Dick Smith and the writer have disagreed about almost everything since we became friends, and rivals, as rock climbers in the 1960s, after being part of successive attempts on Balls Pyramid near Lord Howe Island.
But the prime time censorship of his Australia Day ‘Dick Smith Foods’ TV commercial is ridiculous and creepy.
You can see it on YouTube, and viewing by your children is recommended too, although maybe a first viewing without them would be wise.
Dick is a supporter of Australian ownership of as much industry as Australians can hang onto, but also a supporter of the current Qantas management, which is giving part of it away to Emirates, so we do disagree, a lot about Qantas. And about a more nuanced approach to foreign ownership, free trade, and why the days of Black Jack McEwen and the protectionist era are over and not coming back, and …. the list goes on and on.
But he is the only conservative I know who has actively supported the Greens on a wide range of issues, including his crucial support of the purchase of Recherche Bay and its forgotten garden, and his support for David Hicks, an Australian citizen abandoned by an Australian government complicit in his politically convenient framing by the most recklessly dishonest American administration in living memory.
There are many other things he has done to the betterment of this country that are in confidence until or if he chooses otherwise.
For Smith to offend the sensibilities of those who want to limit media freedoms ought to be a badge of honour on Australia Day. And Yes, the ad does ‘exploit’ the plight of boat people, in the sense that it makes fun of them. But, that’s the point. It is an hilarious part of the commercial. It isn’t inciting the sort of venomous hatred that is concocted by and massaged for the political ear of the meanest and most ignorant sections of our society by the policy directorships of the major parties.
Why can’t we be generous and good natured about such things? And have a laugh, even if we must also weep a lot.