A correspondent has sent to me a document from Shane Bryant who is seeking election as a WHS representative. In the document attached he reproduces a post that appears on this blog – RFS volunteer exercising rights as a ‘worker’ (August 27, 2016). That post was about legal proceedings that Mr Bryant brought before the Industrial Commission. It appears that his election paper reproduces my post in full, it is not an edited version though he has made some text in bold to emphasise points that I made. The questions that were put to me were:
- Did I know my post was being used in this way?
- Do I endorse Mr Bryant?
My answer to both questions is ‘no’ but that simple answer hides many other issues which I’ll explore as separate questions.
Did Mr Bryant ask for permission to reproduce the post?
No he did not.
Do I think Mr Bryant needed to, or should have asked for permission?
No, I do not. This blog is public. I write my own opinions. The material that I wrote is my opinion and Mr Bryant has not misrepresented or changed what I said. Others have reproduced my blog posts and provided I am acknowledged as the author (that is my moral rights) are recognised and the post is not edited to change the meaning I have no objection. I reported on Mr Bryant’s case and he has reproduced that report. I do not see that there is anything improper in that or that he required permission.
Do I endorse Mr Bryant as a candidate?
No, I do not. I don’t know Mr Bryant personally and I am not an elector in this election. My views are irrelevant. I don’t endorse Mr Bryant’s candidature nor do I disendorse him, I have no opinion one way or the other on whether he should be elected. That is a matter for the members of the RFS who are called to elect their WHS representatives.
I did say “Regardless of the merits of Mr Bryant’s claims, he is certainly committed and dedicated and willing to put his money and his effort into what he must see as the best interest of the RFS and its workforce.” I admire that effort. I also admire Pauline Hanson. She was a shopkeeper who rather than complain about politicians ran for election – she was elected, prosecuted, convicted, gaoled, acquitted on appeal and re-elected. I would never vote for her but you have to recognise and admire her commitment.
If electors read what I have written and think ‘he’s the sort of guy I want as WHS representative’ then so be it.
Do I think Mr Bryant has done anything wrong putting my blog on his election material and related to that, do I think he is implying that I endorse him?
No, I do not. To repeat what I said above he has reproduced the post in full. He does not refer to it or make a claim that I have expressly endorsed him. He says in effect ‘Eburn wrote …’ and I did write that; and I stand by what I wrote. If that makes electors think they should vote for him that is a matter for them.
Mr Bryant took a matter to court for a principle he believed in. I admire that, but what I want to make clear is that I am not saying that I would, or anyone else should, vote for him nor am I saying that I would not, or anyone else should not, vote for him. I am making absolutely no comment one way or the other.
I do say that I have no objection to Mr Bryant reproducing the post in the way that he has done. I wrote it and I stand by it. What I wrote is in the public domain, he has not edited it (other than to add some emphasis) and given due credit to me as its author. He has not made any claim about it that is not true. He could have said ‘For a discussion on the case I took to court see https://emergencylaw.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/rfs-volunteer-exercising-rights-as-a-worker/’. That would have been to the same effect and would also be unobjectionable.
- I express no view on whether the RFS electors should elect Mr Bryant nor do I think Mr Bryant implies that I do express a view.
- I do not think he has done anything inappropriate in reproducing my blog post in his election material.
- I wish Mr Bryant, and all the candidates well in the election and I trust this process will enhance firefighter safety within the RFS.
Very well articulated Michael, again. You continue to encourage others to actually think about their actions in an appropriate way.