Speaking freely

Individual rights and personal liberty is not a law of nature but is a hard won outcome of centuries of debate and conflict with the result that a few very fortunate places on the planet now have an inherited and legislated right to say in public what they please about any public issue. It is a set of circumstances that can disappear because the one certainty is that governments – the people with political power – never like it. And they are the very ones most capable of denying the rest of us the right to have our views put in public.

Liz Broderick is a Human Rights Commissioner and her interview on the ABC the other day with Tim Wilson has had a bit of comment made about it but what really struck me about what she said was this:

We are a vehicle for those people who are marginalised who ordinarily would never have a voice in this country to step up and have their say about things.

Human rights is not about “the marginalised” whatever that might be. This is a product of the usual leftist mindset where some individuals are seen to have power and the rest of us are at the periphery somewhere. The example she gave of those who have been marginalised are the aged. I do not in any way understand why being old is a form of being on the margin but that is by the way. It is not contrary to our human rights to find ourselves getting old and it is not the role of the Human Rights Commission to worry about whether the aged are able to have their views heard although apparently according to Ms Broderick this is an issue that is now well in hand. I have an article, “If I May be Allowed to Speak Freely” at Quadrant Online that addresses what I think the role of a Human Rights Commissioner should be.

But now that the problem of free speech amongst the elderly has been resolved, how about dealing with some other issues, such as, perhaps, the attempts by the present government to limit free expression through the media. Or about some of the vile and repulsive statements emanating from some of our new Australian minorities. Or defending the ability of journalists to make observations about the manner in which government grants are distributed to those who might not have been the actual intended recipients as originally conceived.

We are in dangerous times because there is so little appreciation of what is at stake since change is taking place incrementally. The right to debate any and every public issue is different from a licence to abuse individuals. We should make sure we all understand the difference and guarantee our right to say in public anything we believe is relevant about any and every public issue.

[Something I wrote in February that I thought worth posting again.]

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52 Responses to Speaking freely

  1. Ant

    The “marginalised” as the left and their ilk like to define ‘them’ are a mere vehicle for the left to assert their views and idiosyncrasies on the rest of us who are or would otherwise be revolted by them.

  2. A Lurker

    We are a vehicle for those people who are marginalised who ordinarily would never have a voice in this country to step up and have their say about things.

    What? (looks around) You mean Conservatives and Libertarians? Because from where I sit we’re the ones without a voice, and when we do try to talk we’re all the time interrupted, talked over, and told shut up, that we’re not allowed to say certain things, that we’re told that what we believe in and stand for is rubbish, and we need to mind our betters or else…

    If that’s not a good definition of being marginalised, then I don’t know what is.

  3. Des Deskperson

    I’ve had a bit to do with the HRC and its officials over the years. Here’s my favourite anecdote (I have many others!).

    A decade or so ago, I had responsibilities for developing ‘diversity’ policies in the Australian Public Service. That year we decided to mark the International Day of the Disabled Person or whatever
    (4 December, IIRC) with a service wide conference on employment disability issues.

    The keynote speaker was a senior official in the disability discrimination area of HRC – it may or may not have been the actual Disability Discrimination Commissioner at the time, I can’t recall. It was, however, a woman in a wheelchair who made our lives very difficult by her constant and mostly unreasonable demands for this and that. She was one of those people – not uncomm0n in the victim industry – who seem to believe that any failure to instantly gratify her personal whims was an affront to every disabled person on the globe. (BTW she wasn’t the worst I’ve ever met in this regard. That, err, honour would go to the late wimmin’s champion Dr Claire Burton!)

    Anyway, she gave her speech and then came question time. She claimed she couldn’t hear one questioner at the back, and so she rather brusquely – he was, after all, wasting her precious time – ordered him to stand up.

    He was, of course, in a wheelchair!!

  4. Alfonso

    Interesting Des, so taxpayer funded poseur wankerism is alive and well …and even encouraged by the appointment of said ideological wankers who might well not survive a merit based selection. Australia is about taxpayer funded tails wagging working dogs.

    Will Tone fix it? Not a chance. The MSM have him bluffed.
    The Stott Des appointment means we’re finished, Tone. Don’t think I’ll forget….I’d rather a straight up fabian Statist like Rudd than a Liberal who pretends he’s not.

  5. Rabz

    She claimed she couldn’t hear one questioner at the back, and so she rather brusquely – he was, after all, wasting her precious time – ordered him to stand up.

    He was, of course, in a wheelchair!!

    Her and Joe Biden. Auspicious company.

  6. james

    All the more reason to vote LDP and encourage your friends and family to do likewise Alfonso.

    Much like the greens forcing a co2 tax on the ALP by exerting pressure from the left nothing in the LNP will change until someone poses a threat to their precious votes from the right of the spectrum.

    That’s how modern democracy works.

  7. Rabz

    We are in dangerous times because there is so little appreciation of what is at stake since change is taking place incrementally.

    That’s progressives for you. Always with the incrementalism.

    Long marches, frogs in a slowly boiling pot.

  8. Gab

    progressives

    They are regressives. Nothing about their prohibitive ways has any relation to progress.

  9. Rabz

    Sorry, Gab. Forgot the scare quotes.

  10. Des Deskperson

    Gab, ‘progressive’ was the self-descriptor traditionally used by Marxist/Leninist and Communist front organisations. Remember the ‘Selected Works of Marx’ that everyone had to buy for Sociology 101 or whatever and which came from Progress Publishers, Moscow?

    While your average sloppy minded left pop-Marxist of today lacks the mental rigour of the old-time Commie, I think it important still to use ‘progressive’ as a descriptor – maybe in inverted commas – since it is historically associated with tyrant worshippers and therefore an effective and accurate term of abuse.

  11. Mike of Marion

    The other day, I completed a political poll questionnaire. Among the ‘preferences’ drop down screen, there were the usual suspects including “other”. I was aked to define my ‘other’ and I said DLP and in the comments section I added that the Poll Question options was deficient because it did not offer LDP.

    I’ll see if later Polls offer DLP as an option

  12. Rabz

    Remember the ‘Selected Works of Marx’ that everyone had to buy for Sociology 101 or whatever and which came from Progress Publishers, Moscow?

    Err, no, thank goodness. My sole concession was purchasing a paperback copy of Das Kapital, which I duly incinerated upon graduating.

  13. David

    Rabz did you actually read that crap right through?

    I am impressed with your stoic tolerance if you did. I got about a quarter way through it and in the bin it went.

  14. Rabz

    Dave,

    I posted a lengthy comment here several months ago about ‘my heroic struggle’ with Das Kapital.

    The answer is yes.

    I did this so that others would not have to.

  15. Rabz

    Actually, I’m bullshitting.

    Lasted about a third of the way through. It got so incredibly turgid that it was literally becoming like torture to try and keep reading.

    Once I’d debunked the “labour theory of value” that was pretty much it.

    Incinerating it was a far more rewarding activity than reading it, believe me.

  16. gabrianga

    Presumably, being well past three score and ten, I would be considered one of the “aged” Liz Broderick is concerned about.

    I do not need the “do-gooders”, appointed by Governments, trying to organise my life.

    I can still pick up the phone, use my e-mail or even beat on my drums to communicate and look after my own affairs.

    No thanks Liz.

  17. Rabz

    gabri, you’re an inspiration to us all.

  18. DrBeauGan

    There needs to be a commissioner for Doomlords. They are clearly a minority and people like numbers, SfB and M0nty are bloody oppressive. I am willing to take the job.

  19. Token

    I posted a link from NRO on the way the rich & empowered in the US play at representing the poor to consolidate their power.

    How is this different?

  20. Alf

    Oh the poor oppressed right wingers have no voice. Can it be true? Isn’t ownership of large chunks of the media a voice? Isn’t being in Government a voice? Isn’t running large corporations and businesses a voice? Show us where you have no voice and where you are oppressed. You do have a voice, you’re using it now to speak to each other, it’s just that there don’t seem to be that many of you. Conservatives interrupted and talked over – give me a break. It’s pathetic.

  21. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    Presumably, being well past three score and ten, I would be considered one of the “aged” Liz Broderick is concerned about.

    I do not need the “do-gooders”, appointed by Governments, trying to organise my life.

    I can still pick up the phone, use my e-mail or even beat on my drums to communicate and look after my own affairs.

    No thanks Liz.

    Precisely.

    Liz is just looking for an excuse to mooch off the public tit.

    Gabrianga, you poor marginalised soul you, we’re you to say such things in Liz’s hearsay she would quickly forget her sentiments about your right to be heard.

    The marginalised are only allowed to sing from the HRC songbook, you see.

    More stories please Des! Gold!

  22. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    *were

    Fracken autocorrect.

  23. Alfonso

    It’s a taxpayer funded voice we lust after Alfie…….just like you have at Their ABC.

    More unreasonable cravings from the Liberts, a disgusting claim on taxpayer dollars….I hear you.

  24. Alf

    That would be Tim Wilson’s salary then Alfonso. Oh, and I think you’ll find stories about the ABC’s bias are a beat up by people who are pissed that the ABC doesn’t agree with them all the time. If not, show us the proof – the studies showing where the bias is, not anecdotes from right wing whiners.

  25. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    Alf I think the problem A Lurker is referring to is the frenzied overreaction which takes place when a person of the right issues an opinion or comment which runs contrary to the orthodox left-wing narrative.

    Hence the abuse of Gerard Henderson that he lists on his blog, the calumnies spoken about Tony Abbott, and a photo of Chris Kenny’s face being plastered on the head of a man who is raping a dog.

    Dem luvvies got sharp claws n teeth.

    More seriously, we can point to the sacking of journalists Glenn Milne and Michael Smith for having had the temerity to raise questions about then Prime Minister Gillard’s past work on behalf of Bruce Wilson. Or the abuse of those strong-minded enough to think for themselves and come to their own heterodox conclusions about global warming.

    All in an attempt to marginalise, ridicule, exclude from debate and shut down all voices which contradict the orthodoxy.

    It never happens to those of the Left, Alf.

  26. steve

    Alf, I would show you the studies but unfortunately, proof for you is not high on my list of things to do. fkorf.

  27. Alf

    Right Steve, there isn’t any. As for ‘it never happens to the left’, you’re fooling yourselves. The ABC gives a big platform to Henderson, the IPA and plenty of others. And if you want mean or vicious – well, look at the threads on this site.

  28. Eddystone

    I’m an Anglo-Saxon, male, middle-aged, employed, married conservative who believes in less welfare, less gun control and smaller government. I think global warming is bullshit, political correctness is crap, and RBTs are a disgrace.

    I hardly dare open my mouth in public, let alone smile at a child.

    C’mon Liz, I’m as marginalised as it gets.

  29. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    That would be Tim Wilson’s salary then Alfonso. Oh, and I think you’ll find stories about the ABC’s bias are a beat up by people who are pissed that the ABC doesn’t agree with them all the time. If not, show us the proof – the studies showing where the bias is, not anecdotes from right wing whiners.

    Um, no.

    Two examples: the ABC not reporting the chaos of the last months of the Rudd government, so that Rudd’s sacking came as a complete surprise to ABC audiences, despite the fact that Blind Freddy coulda told you Rudd was failing; and the ABC not reporting the growing interest in and subsequent police investigation of Julia Gillard’s dealings with Bruce Wilson in the early nineties.

    Two examples where the ABC chose to look the other way, because reporting the facts would have run contrary to its leftist narrative, and would have hurt a left-wing government while aiding a right-wing opposition.

    The Rudd example is merely embarrassing, but the failure re Gillard and Wilson is scandalous. Heads really should roll over that one.

  30. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    As for ‘it never happens to the left’, you’re fooling yourselves. The ABC gives a big platform to Henderson, the IPA and plenty of others. And if you want mean or vicious – well, look at the threads on this site.

    Again, no.

    ‘It never happens to the Left’ refers to attempts by the right to shut the left out of public debate and the public space through personal ridicule.

    Your examples of Henderson and the IPA appearing on the ABC don’t support your point.

    Yes commenters on this blog make personal attacks. But while it is a public space, it’s not the public space. People coming here know what they are getting themselves in for. And in my experience most of the ridicule of those rare leftist commentators who visit is aimed at their rank irrationality and (in one case) creepines, rather than their politics.

    I must say, I do miss Rog. His spats with JC were great fun to watch.

  31. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    And Harry Clarke. He really drank the Warmenist Kool-Aid.

  32. JC

    I’m running Wodge Watch, Walrus. I post his comments here whenever I find them of Leftie blogs.

    He’s such a disgusting revolting centipede and the reason I support abortion with a time machine.

  33. JC

    And Harry Clarke. He really drank the Warmenist Kool-Aid.

    He’s over compensating. Sucking up to lefties and other assorted nutballs in attempt to show he’s one of them and more.

  34. Baldrick

    ‘Marginalised progressives’ seeking freedom of speech … ya gotta love ‘em!

  35. Alf

    “I’m an Anglo-Saxon, male, middle-aged, employed, married conservative who believes in less welfare, less gun control and smaller government. I think global warming is bullshit, political correctness is crap, and RBTs are a disgrace.

    I hardly dare open my mouth in public, let alone smile at a child.”

    Well, I wouldn’t either if I held such ridiculous views. Not daring to open your mouth is not the same as being silenced – whose stopping you from spouting this crap? No one.

  36. Tardell G

    Nice job Steve. Three thumbs up.

  37. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    I’ll keep an eye out for those quotes JC. Great for a laugh.

    I wish Harry would come back. Entertainment much!

  38. Tom

    What frightens me, Alf, is that you are probably a 70-year-old fucktard who has learned nothing, even though you have spent more time on earth than most of us. I need a government grant to spent 20 years or so studying human stupidity and overturning the conventional wisdom that most people learn stuff through experience. We are truly in a unique age where the Fucktard Class are trying to overturn 300 years of the enlightenment.

  39. Percy

    Not daring to open your mouth is not the same as being silenced – whose stopping you from spouting this crap?

    I agree with Alf here. Not about the crap part, my feelings are similar to yours on the issues you mentioned Eddystone. I mean who’s stopping you? I enjoy being able to argue on behalf of my beliefs, even when surrounded by the brainwashed. Because sometimes, even if I don’t convince them that my opinion is a valid one, it will at least make them stop and think, go away and do some research to back their claims, and often they will return to me and at the very least have modified their position. Not to mention those that listen in will be more inclined to do the same.

    It’s through engaging these people rationally that we can alter their perceptions and play our own small part in informing an electorate, albeit a handful of people at a time. Maybe it won’t change the world, but at the least, the people around me are less infuriating to spend time with and are less likely to flood their facebook pages with socialist claptrap.

    Changing the opinion of one person can have a flow on effect, potentially enlightening others that engage with that person in the future. Like I said, not world changing, but it’s a start.

  40. .

    “I’m an Anglo-Saxon, male, middle-aged, employed, married conservative who believes in less welfare, less gun control and smaller government. I think global warming is bullshit, political correctness is crap, and RBTs are a disgrace.

    Society would be better off if people of various backgrounds had this point of view.

    “Alf” is a left wing lunatic who thinks Whitlam ushered in an economic golden age, but in reality it took most of the Hawke/Keating and Howard years to undo the damage that blubbering idiot did to our nation.

    Hawke and Keating made no bones about repealing some of the crap Whitlam did.

  41. Alf

    And Dot’s a mind reader who knows what people think without their having to say anything. Genius.

  42. Angus Black

    That Alf chap’s a bit of a tosser isn’t he?

    Oh well, bedtime, I think.

  43. .

    Alf
    #1120920, posted on December 22, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    And Dot’s a mind reader who knows what people think without their having to say anything. Genius.

    I’m right, aren’t I?

    No genius. Your proclivities stick out like the proverbials.

  44. Rabz

    Alfie wishes he had a tenth of the neurons of the Hammburglar.

    Here’s a hint, Squire – channeling him doth not maketh thou him.

  45. Alf

    Wrong in fact Dot, but don’t stop with the generalisations and putting words in other people’s mouths now, you seem so good at it.

    Night Night.

  46. .

    I’m right. You’d have no other reason to blow up and be evasive.

    You’ll always have Indi.

  47. entropy

    As an aside, I was wondering who the total airhead at the end of the table was, and then realised it was Jessica Irvine, the most clueless blonde on Murdoch’s payroll. A valuable contribution made she. Not.

  48. Alf, I don’t own large chunks of the media, nor am I in government, and I don’t own a large corporation or a business. They don’t represent me, they represent themselves, so who’s going to speak for me if not me? Liz Broderick certainly doesn’t, and I don’t think anyone likes having words put into their mouths.

    Freedom of speech is so important because it gives every single one of us a voice in our own affairs. Who’s the smallest minority of all, Alf? The individual. I don’t need you to speak for me, or anyone else.

    I come here because I can say what I think, but if Gillard had her way, this may have been no longer possible.

    I believe you have the right to come here and beclown yourself as often as you like. I strongly encourage you to exercise that right every day.

  49. sparky

    I come here because I can say what I think, but if Gillard had her way, this may have been no longer possible.
    Not to mention Paul Howes had his pigs trotters all over such a move.( 1984- all animals are equal, except some animals are more equal than others)
    And Alf – that’s an acronym for Alien Life Form, right? Welcome to Planet Earth.

  50. Bons

    Does anyone recall the poor bloody Army LTCOL from Townsville who was charged with sexual offenses in relation to his female aboriginal driver. ABC was all over it every night in specific titillating detail.
    When the court discovered that the whole thing was a set-up perpetrated by her dike lover as vengeance for the LTCOL’s wife suggesting to the girl that she could consider a more productive relationship, the ABC shut-up. Subtle hints of a cover-up.
    HRC handed her a very large amount of money on the grounds that she was disadvantaged and exposed to public scrutiny. The LTCOL – career stuffed!

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