This I can do without

It’s election season in South Australia, and the stobie poles are adorned with candidates’ advertising paraphernalia. Fine, whatever, that’s how elections go. But there’s one set of advertising that I’m finding hard to stomach.

Trevor Grace (how’s that for a misnomer?) is standing for the upper house. He has no real platform, no plan for state, no ideas about how he could use his vote to influence say, water policy, or transport, or health, or education. All he wants to do is to stop abortion. He has used the impending election as an excuse to slather his advertising all over the arterial traffic routes in Adelaide. Some of the advertising isn’t too bad; it merely shows a newborn baby (because Trevor thinks a group of cells is exactly like a newborn baby). But another of his placards is very difficult to look at. And I say this as a woman who has had neither an abortion or a miscarriage, nor lost a child. It shows the face of a fetus, with four cracks running through it (photo of it available here).

I find it distressing. I imagine that it could cause huge distress to a woman or a man who has taken the decision to terminate a pregnancy, or who has had a miscarriage, or who has lost a child.

I value the freedom of speech in Australia. I like living in a country where people are free to voice their opinions, free to try out their ideas in public. So in that spirit, I want to exercise my freedom of speech, and say that I find Trevor Grace’s advertising loathsome, and detestable, and entirely lacking in love. He has taken no care for people who have been caught up in the storm of a pregnancy ending. I can not imagine ever voting for someone who has so little compassion and care for others.

As far as I can tell from his website, which I am not linking to, Grace claims to be a Christian. Enough said, really.

14 responses to “This I can do without

  1. Ugh. It’s horrible how political campaigning can be twisted like this. A couple of years ago I received a pamphlet from an anti-choice group in my letter box. It was inflammatory, inaccurate, offensive and disturbing. I remember a lot of people complaining that their children had collected the mail and been upset by the images – as, no doubt, many adults also were for the reasons you’ve outlined above.

  2. Free speech is not enshrined in any law though in Australia, as I understand it. I would complain to the local council and ask for those posters to be removed because they are offensive for the very reasons you name. With freedom comes responsibility.

  3. Is there any law against ripping them down? If I were not flat out working I would be out in the streets methodically tearing them down as he puts them up and making a lot of noise about how if he’s got the right to put them up in a public space then I have an equal right to remove them.

  4. Argh… that’s just awful.

  5. that picture just makes me sad, and as a christian it annoys me when people use that as an excuse to tell people what to do, I was taught that we are to be like Jesus in how he treated others, not to tell people that choice is wrong…. grr at that man grace… and rant over… ps I have lost a baby (and at the time that it happened if I had seen that pic I would have cried….)

  6. My partner is fond of saying that he rather likes Christians; he just hasn’t met very many. People who try to live and work and relate in a manner that follows the teachings of the Christ of the gospels are usually wonderful people. I can’t believe that this man follows Christ at all.

  7. There is a freedom of political communication which is implied into the constitution. The cases about it are mostly about media communicating about politicians, but I think this would be covered, as the principle which underlies the implication is the idea that the right to vote requires the right to be informed about who you are voting for. (There may actually be a case about pollie advertising, I don’t remember off the top of my head.)

    As far as I can recall, though, there has not been a case which discusses the limits on the freedom of political communication and whether those limits are analogous to the limits on the express freedom of expression/speech in countries which have such an express freedom. IOW as you say: with freedom comes responsibility.

    So yes, it’s worth asking. The council may agree to at least ask him to take down the images, or to require him to do so. You never know, it might end up being a very interesting High Court case ;)

  8. PC, those kinds of people wouldn’t be above doing you a violence, even as they maunder on about teh baybeeeez.

    I’m surprised no-one’s expressed the desire for a definition of “stobie pole” yet. One icon of my childhood I never see any more.

  9. Well, at least he’s being more logically consistent than you lot.

    If he believes abortion is murder, then using a picture of an aborted foetus is trivial when measured against the cause of preventing murder.

    But if you believe a foetus is just a collection of cells and not a baby (or not human), the horror you feel looking at an aborted foetus hardly seems logical.

  10. PaulW – that is a live baby whose photo has been photoshopped. It is not and never was a picture of an aborted fetus. It is horrifying for anyone who has lost a baby to see crap like that. And you might want to do a little research about when most abortions happen and what the “baby” actually looks like at 12 weeks, because that photo is a big fat lie. Do some fact checking before coming here. If you don’t like abortion, then take precautions so you are never the cause of one.

  11. There’s times when I resent having a common name. PaulW, how about you not trash the perspectives of others’ and instead politely make your point?

  12. T’other one’s on moderation. I’ll disemvowel if necessary.

  13. Restricting political communication on grounds of ‘offensiveness’ is legally dubious. Personally I don’t believe in open slather speech, though I’m surprised to hear netizens supporting banning ‘offensive’ images.

    That said, no law exists to stop private censorship. Thus the broadcasters in the UK banned a party ad that showed aspects of partial birth abortion. And Australia Post here refused to handle an anti-war pamplet that showed a mutilated victim of an allied bombing (despite the same picture having been displayed in newspapers).

  14. I keep getting tempted to go around and alter some of the posters.

    Everytime I see one of TG’s posters, I want to put a big sticker over it that reads “I hate women”.
    I also want to cross out the ‘family’ in family first and replace it with the word men.

    I’d probably be busted and thrown in the clink though, as it is illegal to alter or remove them.