Interview by Edward Taylor, Editor in Chief
What was it that compelled you gentlemen to start your own news and current affairs program?
Chris Censored: Well look, Kerry – there are issues out there that need to be dealt with by people. Let me rephrase. Journalists these days are either regurgitation specialists or noobs who are just jealous of Western civilisation. The Oak Point was formed to directly engage with uni students (like yourself) who, for the most part, are apathetic to our country’s political problems, either because they’re genuinely apolitical or because they’ve become disillusioned by the farcical nature that’s characterised Australian politics lately. We’re not shy about tackling controversial issues, but we’re also not naïve, and realise that you need a lighter, humorous side to news coverage in order to engage with people. That’s why we’re here to stop the lunacy and deliver an entertaining local program to Perth viewers.
Mitt Mckenzie: Models and bottles – but actually, stopping the lunacy.
So you say you’re going to “stop the lunacy.” Is this lunacy coming on the boats, or was it here to begin with?
Mitt Mckenzie: The lunacy has been building and has reached a crescendo in recent years under the Gillard-Rudd government, but it’s been around as long as anyone can remember – including the far- Left’s fear campaign against Workchoices, even though everyone knows Howard didn’t go far enough. Special interest groups are increasingly using avenues like social media to pressure society into poor policy, and the Left are so much better at it.
You both have very interesting names. Mr Censored is your name originally Russian, or does it come from somewhere closer to home?
Chris Censored: Pseudonyms are kind of cool, Ed – but unlike the Soviet’s with their GDP, Chris Censored is normally pretty good with getting the numbers right – although probably not as good as Bill Shorten. I believe that free speech has a lot to answer for and that self-censorship is an important (and beneficial) character trait in the age of social media where any quote or off-remark can be taken out of context. In summary, I’m just passionate about social issues and have a fondness for Mao.
And you Mr Mckenzie, did you affect your nickname because you often have baseball players’ hands inside you?
Mitt Mckenzie: Well, I’m not into being fisted, if that’s what you mean, but more power to you if that’s your thing I guess. ‘Mitt’ is basically a nod to the man who should’ve been US President last year, the man who had the plan to reverse the decline of a superpower, fix the budget and create 10 million more jobs. Sadly, a smear campaign from the left kept him from winning office. Also management consulting is pretty cool and so are the Olympics.
On a more serious note, The Palmer United Party was astonishingly successful in the recent Federal Election, what effect do you think that their three elected candidates will have on the balance of power in the Senate?
Chris Censored: Yer look, Kerry, I think Clive has got it right – we’re a country that has become weary of the two major parties making promises they can’t keep and policy they can’t deliver. We want grass-roots change and Clive is the Hutt to deliver it, and if this means less Chinese spies in the country then all credit to him.
Mitt Mckenzie: This is needed in a huge way. At the moment a lot of fools think that the Greens are the ‘centrist’ party and consequently vote for them as a third option. The Greens are like CO2; they are basically a toxic poison – unfortunately they’re not invisible or weightless, so hopefully people see sense and vote for a right-wing(ish) third party. Anyway, with a Senate majority in favour of the Right, the Coalition now has a clear path to exhume Workch… wait what?
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has created controversy recently by only appointing one female MP to his Cabinet. This means that, if you can forgive the invidious comparison, there are fewer female Cabinet Ministers in Australia than there are in an equivalent position in Iran. Does this suggest that sexism is inhibiting meritocracy, or are the sexists those who suggest that the Cabinet was not meritocratically selected?
Mitt Mckenzie: Well I’ve always been very clear that I’m a strong feminist, but I don’t think anything is to be gained by divisive politics – we need collaboration, finding similarities and successes, not the use of gender as a weapon. The Left use this weapon not because they care about women, but to win votes. It’s apparently okay to come out and say Gina Rineheart is a ‘fat [censored]’, but gosh forbid anyone criticise Julia Gillard, one of the most incompetent PMs in our nation’s history. It’s apparently okay for Obama to say that California’s Attorney General is the ‘hottest in the nation’, but not for Abbott to talk about sex appeal? If the Left really cared about gender they would criticise both sides equally. Personally I think actions are more important than words, so look at things like the Paid Parental Leave scheme instead.
The Prime Minister has lauded his recent diplomatic visit to Indonesia as a great success. Do you agree that it was such a victory, despite diluting his unequivocal campaign statement “We’ll stop the boats from day one”?
Chris Censored: Abbott and Rudd – Two guys with different policy, but only one which will stop the deaths at sea. Rudd used immigration as a prop, inventing a PNG solution with little thought or consultation while more boat people arrived. Abbott promised, from an early stage, to return to the Nauru scheme which had worked under John Howard. The majority of Australians ultimately decided that budgie-smuggling was cooler than people-smuggling and voted in Tony. As for your inference that Tony has not actually ‘stopped the boats from day one’, then I agree – it will be very difficult to entirely shut down the illegal (but highly profitable) backdoor immigration networks overnight and will take a lot of strong-minded policy and patience. However as long as we’re stopping the deaths at sea and not encouraging these people to take the treacherous journey to our country through lowlife people-smugglers, then I think we’re moving in the right direction.
On the topic of unequivocal campaign statements, Tony Abbott declared vehemently that a Liberal government would not raise the GST. Do you think that the government are making a prudent decision by not doing so, or just a politically expedient one?
Mitt Mckenzie: Well, Tony is a bit of a moderate I guess so it comes as no surprise. For me, decisions are always about the about workers, the unemployed, and marginalised people in society. They would be significantly better off if we cut corporate taxes and raised the GST.
I say that with rhetorical flourish but the facts are crystal clear on this one – taxes on capital impact upon workers and consumers disproportionately, through lower wages, higher prices and fewer jobs. I talk about this stuff on the show in my Money Minute so watch this space, Kerry.
It’s Ed, not Kerry but whatever. Crossing the Pacific now, the relative lack of progress in any direction during Barak Obama’s presidency is usually attributed to one of the following three: the “House” Democrats, the “House” Republicans, or President Obama himself. On whose shoulders do you think the blame should mostly fall?
Chris Censored: I’m going to surprise you a bit and say that the GOP really need to focus here, and by that I mean the Government shutdown is not a good thing – at all – and only bipartisanship can end it. Obama’s lack of negotiation is not helping either, but we should remember that Obamacare was approved by Congress and has already been made into law. The retrospective attempts to ‘defund’ it are nothing more than a hindrance to responsible governance. The people of the US voted Obama as President for a second term knowing full well that Obamacare was his flagship policy. I have my criticisms of Obamacare from an ideological perspective, but a law is a law (just ask the Supreme Court) and must be respected as such, at least until it is repealed.
Mitt Mckenzie: I’m not saying the GOP haven’t gone far enough but I think their requests are pretty reasonable. Hold off on the fines for folks not buying insurance for one year – just like Obama has done for big business. Why won’t Obama agree to compromise on this one small thing? Luckily for him, he has the US media on board, so he can just do whatever really. But the US needs to have a bit of a think to be honest – they are borrowing nearly a trillion dollars a year. Everyone is upset that some national parks are temporarily closed down? We need to go bigger picture style really.
Over the course of your programme’s run, you have never really touched on issues in the Middle East so I’m sure our readers and your viewers would be interested in hearing your opinion on the international response to the Syrian conflict. Please enlighten us.
Chris Censored: Well I’ll have to take issue with you there, Kerry. We have focused on the Egyptian crisis earlier this year and our conclusion was that maybe Morsi had it right? Yeah, Morsi mismanaged the economy to some extent, but he protected the oil and kept the tourism industry afloat. As for Syria, I wrote an article on The Oak Point’s Blog essentially arguing in favour of the US’ plan for punitive strikes on Syria and that Russia. China and Iran were (to borrow Kim Beazley’s phraseology) nothing more than ‘obfuscating myrmidons’. All those nations who opposed surgical attacks have financial interests in preserving the status quo, even if this means condoning (or turning a blind eye to) the atrocities committed by al-Assad on his own people.
This one is a little left of field, but please bear with me. The noted amateur historian and Holocaust-Denier, David Irving was recently allowed to recommence public lectures in Germany after having been banned for two decades and having been imprisoned in Austria for asserting his historical ideas. Being controversial critics yourselves, do you believe that any political opinion or assertion is so egregious that it should be entirely censored or even criminalised?
Chris Censored: Look, Ker – Ed, sorry. Censorship has a place in society, but only in the form of self-censorship. I don’t believe in a nanny-state mentality and I think individuals can make their own choices, but we have to admit that there are a lot of people out there who are just loons – look at GetUp for example. I am totally against Austria and (to a lesser extent) Germany’s policies on censoring holocaust-related arguments such as Mr Irving’s. Even if his facts are proved to be inaccurate, does this mean we need to censor every scientist or academic whose hypotheses are found to be wrong or misguided? Of course not and any argument to the contrary is just idiocy of the highest order – just ask some guy called John Stuart Mill.
Thank you both for coming in.
Chris Censored: A pleasure.
Mitt Mckenzie: Thanks for having us
The Oak Point airs on Channel 44, Saturdays 10pm with a repeat show on Fridays 11pm. Follow them on facebook.com/TheOakPoint or stream the show live on wtvperth.com.au/watch.