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June 01st 2014 print

Christopher Carr

A Coalition Of Cowards?

Feckless and afraid, the alleged conservatives now galloping away from their promise to scrap or amend Section 18C present those who believe in free speech with two choices: Hold your nose and vote for them anyway, or hold these Quislings to account

betrayalIn June, 2013, the Canadian Parliament finally repealed the notorious Section 13 of its Human Rights Act, so that people would no longer be prosecuted for the equivalent of our Section 18c.

If the Canadian Parliament can repeal Section 13, which was used to prosecute Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn, why can’t we do the same with Section 18c and take a stand for personal freedom alongside Canada and the United States? Will the allegedly conservative Coalition’s pre-election commitment to free speech become non-operative?

In addition to the usual suspects in the multicultural industry, we now see Liberal state governments committed to the betrayal of personal freedom. A joint submission from the New South Wales and Victorian State Governments contains the following remarkable statement:

…the proposed changes threaten the social cohesion and well-being of not just our states’ culturally and religiously diverse communities, but also the wider Australian community.

Hello? Think about this statement very carefully. Is it a celebration of a successful multicultural policy or is it telling us backhandedly that our society is so dangerously fragmented and tribalised it can no longer afford the robust free speech of yesteryear? In a previous piece, I referred to the likes of Barry O’Farrell, Campbell Newman and Coalition backbenchers as useful idiots. Now I must accuse both the Baird and Napthine governments of repudiating the central tenet of free speech, which we thought had triumphed with the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

All this is betrayal pure and simple.  Liberal Party hacks at the state level have decided that if it is a choice between “social cohesion” and personal freedom, to hell with personal freedom.  They have chosen to stand in opposition to the likes of Andrew Bolt, Mark Steyn, the Institute of Public Affairs and Quadrant.  To paraphrase Bernard Lewis, they have shown themselves to be harmless to their enemies but treacherous to their friends.

Sadly, the end of the Soviet Empire did not usher in a new era of personal freedom.  After a short interlude, a new authoritarian coalition has formed under deceptive labels.  Andrew Bolt lives with this dispensation day by day.  There are invisible boundaries of opinion which he dares not cross, lest he face punishment under a law with no clear boundaries (except those arbitrarily defined by some or other aggrieved group).

Probably, as I suggested in a previous article, Liberal premiers and backbenchers feel driven by what they perceive as electoral imperatives.  If so, this represents a cynical abandonment of a fundamental principle which has sustained the Liberal Party from its birth.  If, indeed, they feel impelled to abandon free speech, this reflects a terrible failure of so-called multiculturalism and portends a darker authoritarian future.

I know that both Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis face huge pressure from the useful idiots on their own side.  But I believe that they have largely failed to prosecute the case for abolishing Section 18c. Paradoxically, by allowing for submissions on the proposed change to the Racial Discrimination Act, they have surrendered the initiative and created a vacuum, which the new authoritarian coalition has readily filled.

It now seems quite likely that the Abbott Government will surrender.  These are dark days indeed.