Today Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the Coalition was abandoning its promise to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the law that sent Andrew Bolt to court.
Back in February last year I wrote to IPA members about something Chris, who’s an IPA member from Sydney, once said to me. Since then I’ve often spoken to Chris about the power of what he told me and I’ve reflected on it.
Chris told me how his two grandfathers fought on the Western Front in the First World War for freedom. He told me how his father fought in Burma in the Second World War for freedom.
And when his mother was a fire lookout in South London during the Blitz she stayed awake through the night to keep her family safe and free.
We owe our thanks to the sacrifices that previous generations have made so we can live and bring up our families in a free country.
Today at 4.30pm after the prime minister’s press conference Chris rang the IPA to say he would never ever give up fighting for freedom of speech and he knew the IPA would never ever give up fighting for freedom of speech either.
As you know Tony Abbott’s promise to repeal 18C was announced to the IPA in Sydney in August 2012. You can watch his speech here. And this is the IPA’s press statement we issued after the PM’s announcement.
In the last few hours I’ve been inundated with messages of support from IPA members. Every single one of you wants us to keep up the fight for freedom in Australia and the fight for freedom of speech.
In fact you want us to redouble our efforts to fight for what is one of the most basic human freedoms.
A few of you even reminded me of the email I sent out last month when the carbon tax was repealed. In that email I pointed out that back in 2009 Tony Abbott supported carbon taxes. The IPA fought that fight – and we won.
And we’ll fight this fight too – and we’ll win this one too.
I believe that now more than ever Australia needs the IPA. In the coming days and weeks and months I’ll be telling you more about how we will fight to restore freedom of speech in Australia.
But tonight I just wanted to tell you one important thing – the IPA will never ever stop fighting for our fundamental human freedoms.
Thank you for your support for freedom.