Insights from Quadrant

‘Shut up’, he argued

The young, we are often told, are the hope of the future. Uncorroded by the cynicism that comes from a lifetime of observing hopes and ideals trodden beneath presumed champions’ feet of clay, they wear principle on the sleeve and brook no cowardly retreat from what is right, just, fair and brave.

Well some youngsters anyway, but perhaps not the young conservatives of Sydney University, who have just demonstrated why faith in the rising generation may well be misplaced.

Three months ago, as she explains in her latest post, Bettina Arndt was invited to join a three-person panel discussing the Brittany Higgins affair with with Chris Merritt, vice-president of the Rule of Law Institute, and author Andrew Urban. But now, unless Merritt and Urban decline to appear in solidarity, which they should, it will only be a two-person panel. Bettina explains:

…the last event hosted by the club just two weeks ago featured Tony Abbott and the famous UK commentator, Konstantin Kisin, who argues freedom of speech is the cornerstone of Western Civilisation.

Clearly Kisin’s important message failed to impact on the blinkered views of the President of the NSW Young Liberals, Chanum Torres, (above) who has just taken it upon himself to cancel me.

Yesterday he announced to the female students running our event that they weren’t permitted to include me at a Conservative Club event – apparently Young Liberals NSW has final control over the Club’s activities. Amazingly he suggested that hosting an event which included me could ruin the career of the art/law student who was the major organiser.  

It is quite bizarre and extremely alarming that this young man, who presumably has set his sights on a career in Liberal politics, should join the ranks of the thought police … But when it comes to promotion, once again Torres has interfered, demanding that Higgins is not mentioned in the advertising for the event. The current promotion simply mentions “Lawfare in Australia,” a very bland and rather misleading presentation of the proposed discussion which was originally promoted as “Higgins Unpacked.”

Bettina’s thoughts on being silenced by advocates of free speech can be read in full here. That post will do little to encourage a sanguine view of what is to come.


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