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Bush visit media exclusion.

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Michael Organ

Press Release

22 October 2003


The refusal of the White House to accredit members of the Australian Parliamentary press gallery to cover the visit of US President George W Bush is a fundamental affront to free speech, Cunningham MP Michael Organ said today.

"The White House has refused to allow members of the Australian media access to the grounds of our Prime Minister's official Canberra residence, The Lodge, although American journalists have been granted that right. Australian journalists are also being denied a place in the Presidential motorcade press pool", Mr. Organ said.

"This is not the action of a country with which we have a special relationship, it is the action of a country which has something to hide and it is an egregious affront to our nation."

"This is not the much vaunted American democracy, this is the action of spin-doctors who want to control what you see and hear."

"The Prime Minister, who wants us to show appropriate respect to President Bush, would be well advised to ask his 'great and powerful friend' to extend the same courtesy to the Australian people."

"It is breath-taking hypocrisy for a nation which enshrines freedom of speech in its constitution to engineer a situation where the Australian people are solely reliant on US journalists for coverage of the Bush visit", Mr. Organ added.

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