Australia’s political clown gallery cannot get themselves to restore free speech. For that, not necessarily only for that, Tony Abbott was elected. He had a mandate, he dithered and Turncoat stabbed him in the back. Now we’re stuck with Turncoat and without free speech.
“I have heard it stated that ‘this issue doesn’t create one job.’ Neither does the Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform bill. But we’re still doing that,” Mr Christensen said.
“I have also heard it said that it’s not the issue people are talking about in pubs or in farm sheds. They weren’t talking about the Australian Building and Construction Commission either, but we still brought it back.”
Mr Christensen said that 18C was political correctness enshrined into law and that it stifled freedom of speech.
“Nothing could be more of an affront to Australian values.”
The IPA checks the polling on this helluva “niche issue”.
I am shocked that a senior journalist Dennis Atkins, has so little respect for free speech or the facts.
It seems he’d rather trash innocent students than defend a freedom – or admit he was wrong to cheering a wicked law:
Then a group of Queensland University of Technology students ignored rooms full of available computers and sought to use the ones in an “Aboriginals only” room and complained about it on the internet. An exchange led to a section 18C legal to-do and ended in tears.
This is viciously false, and yet again makes innocent students seem like race-baiters – which is one of the pernicious ways this law works. No wonder so many innocent people accused under this law secretly settle rather than defend themselves publicly and be smeared by the likes of Atkins.
Thankfully, Q&A gives Atkins the fact-checking he deserves:
Rooms full of empty computers, huh? Here’s Alex Wood testifying before the free speech inquiry, February 10, 2017:
There were two buildings that had been recently built at the university. One of them was full of computers and we exhausted all options there, so we thought we would go to the other building and search for another computer lab. We walked straight in. There was a computer lab that looked like any other.
An empty computer lab at a university campus? You’d have an easier time finding Atlantis, Dennis. The free speech inquiry continued:
We sat down and about five minutes later a lady came towards us and asked us if we were indigenous. We said, ‘No, we are not’, and she quite brusquely asked us to leave, because they were reserved for indigenous students, and that we had to go. We promptly left …
It’s not like Alex stood there and screamed. He left, he found another room. But let’s crucify him for a Facebook post. The free speech inquiry, continued:
I found another computer where I posted on a Facebook page to a couple of thousand other QUT students. I said: “Just got kicked out of the unsigned indigenous computer room. QUT stopping segregation with segregation.”
Nah, let’s just leave it. Atkins in The Courier-Mail, yesterday:
Now a parliamentary committee has said the Act is not ideal … Scrap 18C, toughen the test for offence or leave it as it is, says the committee. If the government has any sense, they’ll go with the third of those options. This does not rate on the top 100 issues of concern for the overwhelming majority of people … This mad echo chamber shouting match inside the lunar right is not about any genuine free speech argument. It’s just another branch of the culture wars.
How has leaving 18C as it is worked for Alex? The free speech inquiry, continued:
I come to you today as a young bloke who has gone through an incredibly tough time, and I offer a unique perspective on how a small and innocuous statement can lead to drastically changed lives, hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills and years of court and legal proceedings.
Sure, most people want the government focused on jobs. The Courier-Mail, continued:
Give it away, people, and get back to creating jobs.
But this silly, unjust law has hurt Alex Wood’s chances of getting any job. We need to fix 18C. The free speech inquiry, continued:
At that point in my life, it all sort of hit me at once. I was afraid. I felt that uni had been for nothing. I had studied quite hard and had a GPA of 6.3, and I thought that was going to go down the drain. I thought I was going to lose my job and potentially not be able to get a job after uni. I thought my friends would shun me if they thought I was a racist. I honestly believe 18C was extremely close to ruining my life and still has the potential to do so.
It strikes me that Alex Woods is to Atkins merely collateral damage in his ideological commitment to the Left’s politics of race – and belief that the public is vicious and needs taming by their betters. I also rather suspect he thinks that a law used to ban two of my own columns must be good.
But that is the Left, isn’t it? Committed to grand visions but never counting the bodies.
Tony Abbott today shows leadership – another reason for Atkins to rage against any change:
“Three things need to be done as a minimum,” Abbott says. “Drop ‘insult and offend’. Second, include a reasonable person test. And third, overhaul the Human Rights Commission’s processes to ensure procedural justice.”
It is astonishing that so many journalists are buying the spin of scared Coalition MPs that this is a “niche issue” that “will not create one job” (Scott Morrison) and is of no interest to voters (Barnaby Joyce).
Same-sex marriage won’t create a single job either. Renewable energy targets actually cost jobs.
And don’t values count to Liberals?
If this is such a nothing issue to “ordinary” voters, why have populists taken it up: Pauline Hanson, George Christensen, Ray Hadley, Alan Jones and more?
Is no one listening to the ordinary voters? Ray Hadley certainly seems to have our backs. When inquiry member Julian Leeser MP tried to dodge the 18C question, Hadley gave him a red-hot roast. Having voted against repealing or reforming 18C, Leeser then tried to insist that he wasn’t agreeing with the Greens of the ALP: they were agreeing with him. Theologians do that kind of thing well.