Statement from the Liberal Democratic Party

To all Liberal Democrat members and supporters,

By now you may have read the media reports in relation to the Attorney General’s department targeting the organisers and key speakers at the recent CPAC event in Sydney. If not, please take a look at Janet Albrechtsen’s reports in the Australian newspaper on Saturday 2nd November 2019.

We, the National Executive of the Liberal Democrats, have conducted a meeting called specifically to discuss the s45(2) notice sent to Andrew Cooper, President of the Liberal Democrats, under the Foreign Interference Transparency Scheme Act 2018 for his role with LibertyWorks and his involvement in the organisation of CPAC Australia.

This meeting was called with the knowledge of Andrew Cooper who was voluntarily absent from the meeting so as to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

Our statement on the matter is as follows:

The Liberal Democrats are a party dedicated to the freedom of all Australians. We believe that people should be free to live their lives however they see fit, without government interference, as long as they afford the same right to others. We believe in the uniqueness, sovereignty, value, and inalienable rights of all peoples.

We are Australia’s sole libertarian and classical liberal party and are absolutely dedicated to these values. The Liberal Democrats hold no formal agreements with LibertyWorks, the American Conservative Union, the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), or CPAC Australia.

Our people – members, supporters, volunteers, funders, and leadership – lead diverse lifestyles. We strongly support the right of all people to peacefully advocate for their lifestyle and values, again, as long as they afford the same right to others.

Andrew Cooper, President of the Liberal Democrats, wears many hats in his private capacity. We note that in addition to his Liberal Democrats commitments, Andrew is also the President of LibertyWorks, the organisation primarily responsible for organising CPAC Australia. Whenever potential conflicts of interest have arisen in relation to his entrepreneurial endeavours, Andrew has always declared them and abstained from any related votes or decisions in his capacity as President of the Liberal Democrats.

In a recent letter from the Attorney-General’s office, Andrew has been ordered to “produce any information or documents relevant to the question of whether LibertyWorks is liable to register under the Act in relation to the American Conservative Union (“ACU”)”, including but not limited to, “Any agreement, contract or other document detailing any understanding or arrangement between LibertyWorks and the ACU; Any invitations, letters or other correspondence from LibertyWorks or the ACU sent to individuals invited to speak at or attend the Conference, including correspondence subsequent to the initial invitation; Copies, transcripts or video or audio recordings of speeches made by speakers at the conference, including of speeches by members of LibertyWorks or the ACU to introduce or conclude the Conference or specific day or event at the conference; Summaries of the topics covered by speakers at the Conference, and; Material produced or distributed by LibertyWorks promoting the Conference or the ACU.”

Andrew has been given 14 days to hand over all information under the threat of 6 months imprisonment. Given that LibertyWorks is a volunteer-run organisation, and that Andrew Cooper acts in a volunteer capacity, the burden of labour imposed by the government on Andrew is so great that these bureaucrats may as well have saved themselves the time of sending a letter and placed him directly in a cage.

We find the request sent to Andrew to be, without hesitation, reprehensible and antithetical to the principles and values of a western liberal democracy. We would find this letter equally reprehensible if it were sent to someone affiliated with the Labor Party, the Greens, or any other Australian political party or actor, as a response to their political activity.

Free speech is necessary for a healthy democracy. Speech is not free if, at any time, a faceless bureaucrat can demand without reasonable suspicion, without obtaining a warrant signed by a judge, without any due process, a dragnet of information pertaining to the political communications of free citizens. The Liberal Democrats strongly believe in the fundamental tenet of the presumption of innocence – it appears the Attorney-General’s Department does not.

If there is evidence against Andrew that shows he has acted contrary to the principles and values of this great country we urge that he be charged and given the opportunity to defend himself in court. Until that time, it is our firm and unwavering opinion that the notice sent to him amounts to nothing more than a direct attack on the freedoms this country supposedly holds dear. We view the demands as disgusting, abhorrent, and an absolute disgrace to the Attorney-General’s Department, casting shade over the whole Australian Government.

Whether one supports Andrew Cooper or not, whether one supports the Liberal Democrats or not, whether one is a conservative or not, it should be clear to any reasonable student of history that the demands made of Andrew are not in alignment with the values and principles of a western liberal democracy. They more closely resemble those of the East German Stasi.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the new Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme would safeguard the nation’s democracy, however, it is clear that the unchecked ability of the government of the day to demand all prior communications from political actors in Australia under the threat of imprisonment serves as a greater threat to democracy than any conceivable influence from foreign actors.

The Liberal Democrats call on the government to start an immediate review of the Foreign Interference Transparency Scheme Act 2018 and given they are responsible for the passage of this illiberal document, to immediately explain themselves to the Australian people.

The Liberal Democrats call on Christian Porter, the Attorney-General, to immediately suspend the enforcement of the Foreign Interference Transparency Scheme Act 2018 until a review has been conducted, especially, removing the power of the faceless, unaccountable, deep state bureaucracy to threaten political parties and actors with imprisonment should they not kowtow to their outrageous demands.

Given that Andrew Cooper is the only person to receive an s45(2) notice in the 12 months since this legislation has been active and given the Liberal Democrats are the party with the strongest opposition to unaccountable and intrusive government, the Liberal Democrats call for an investigation to ascertain whether the targeting of the Party’s President was politically motivated.

Finally, in the absence of any proven wrongdoing by Andrew, the Liberal Democrats call for an immediate suspension of Sarah Chidgey from her position at the Attorney-General’s Department and a full investigation into the circumstances leading to this perversion of our liberal democracy.

This entry was posted in Federal Politics, Freedom of speech, Oppressive government. Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Statement from the Liberal Democratic Party

  1. A Lurker

    I am not a member of the LDP, in fact I am not a member of any political party; however, my advice is for all Cats to bombard their local MPs and Senators with emails, letters, telephone calls, or personal visits complaining about this attack on our freedoms.

    Today it is Andrew Cooper, tomorrow it could be you.

  2. C.L.

    Excellent statement. Cooper is ‘lucky’ in the sense that he has been targeted by this gestapo division of the A-G department along with Tony Abbott. They’re not going to pursue Abbott so they can’t go after him, you’d think. If they want to pursue an ex-prime minister all the way to a trial, it will dredge up some very hard questions about Paul Keating and end up in the High Court.

  3. stackja

    Other politicians could face scrutiny, but of course, they are protected.
    History shows many people were unreliable. They were never held to account.

  4. jupes

    Given that Andrew Cooper is the only person to receive an s45(2) notice in the 12 months since this legislation has been active and given the Liberal Democrats are the party with the strongest opposition to unaccountable and intrusive government, the Liberal Democrats call for an investigation to ascertain whether the targeting of the Party’s President was politically motivated.

    Wow. Given that the purpose of s45(2) is to stop the Chicom infiltration of Australia and we have to wait 12 months for the bureaucrats to issue its first order – to a person of the right, I say the solution is simple.

    Sack the people responsible. Do it today.

  5. tombell

    we elect governments; not the public service. the former are usually disappointing; the latter sadly consistent in being a predominantly leftard swamp which more or less does what it feels like. And no so-called “conservative” government has the will or the way to do anything about it.

  6. C.L.

    Given that the Vatican is a sovereign state, does its appointment of all Australian bishops, and the many and varied ecclesiastical conferences of various kinds held under its auspices, mean that the government can now demand all correspondence between the Holy See and Australian dioceses – under threat of China-style imprisonments of prelates?

    I should say – more China-style imprisonments of prelates.

  7. Iampeter

    We strongly support the right of all people to peacefully advocate for their lifestyle and values, again, as long as they afford the same right to others.

    Unless you want to fire someone for politically incorrect reasons, as we saw from David Leyonhjelm’s hopeless statement re the Folau issue.
    Sorry but statements like this would carry a lot more weight if there wasn’t serious evidence that members of the LDP don’t even understand concepts like “free speech” and “censorship.”

    Attorney-General Christian Porter said the new Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme would safeguard the nation’s democracy, however, it is clear that the unchecked ability of the government of the day to demand all prior communications from political actors in Australia under the threat of imprisonment serves as a greater threat to democracy than any conceivable influence from foreign actors.

    That’s what we get when everyone involved in politics doesn’t seem to know even the basic concepts.

    This statement is better than nothing, I guess. But the LDP is as much a guilty party in the existence of this mess as everyone else.

  8. Dr Fred Lenin

    The Chinese dont try to influence by persuasion they do it with Aldi bags full of papery things ,one thing I hope the bags only contain$9,990 to comply with the new lefty law on financial transactions . Well they could always give them two or three bags ,wonder how many bags keating. Carr and desparate ‘arry got ?

  9. Suburban Boy

    Given the job protections that public servants enjoy, it would be difficult for Porter to sack Chidley, despite her astonishing actions. But one thing Porter can do is insist to his departmental Secretary that Chidley’s delegation to make these decisions is withdrawn immediately. Without that delegation (under section 67 of the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act 2018) Chidley is literally powerless to act.

  10. The minister can most certainly order a replacement and reassign Chidley.

  11. Twostix

    Apparently beaucracy has elevated itself above the executive.

    We’re told today as a matter of course that APS employees can act politically and the Minister has no actual power over his employees.

    This state of affairs will be a shock to mmost Australians who incorrectly assume that the minister is in charge and the dept and its employees answer to him.

    Apparently the department is in charge and our elected parliament has no real power over these groups once they are formed other than to abolish them or tinker around the edges.

    Very dangerous and a little shocking to the everyman.

  12. Twostix

    Also the statement here from the ldp is quite the backhander. First they disassociate themselves from the guy then put in some boilerplate reprehensibles, etc, etc.

    Guess he won’t be relying on them for any actual material support.

  13. Dr Faustus

    Andrew has been given 14 days to hand over all information under the threat of 6 months imprisonment.

    Assuming Andrew Cooper does not comply with the Stalinist request, it appears there will be an Acid Test moment in two weeks time.

    Either Mx Chidley, or Mr Porter will fail.

  14. Twostix

    Sarah has held several executive positions in the department, including First Assistant Secretary, Cyber and Infrastructure Security Division; First Assistant Secretary, National Security Division; First Assistant Secretary, Strategy and Delivery Division; and Assistant Secretary of the Criminal Law and Law Enforcement Branch. Sarah has also held positions as Senior Adviser on Immigration and Emergency Management in the Office of the Prime Minister, National Security Adviser in the Office of the Attorney-General, and in the Domestic Security Branch of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

    Lol.

    This is the APS equivalent of australian generals who have chest full of medals despite never having gone to war.

    It’s all just pushing emails and word docs around.

  15. Boambee John

    From the Open Thread

    Twostix
    #3200672, posted on November 3, 2019 at 3:13 pm
    Ministers can direct and discipline departmental secretaries (including sacking them), but are not able to discipline or direct lower levels

    “Not able”?

    Who says? God?

    We make the rules here.

    Chain of command. If anyone higher up can direct anyone several steps down, chaos would result.

    Give the departmental secretary his/her orders, follow up on whether they have been carried out, act accordingly. Just because the link to the lackeys is indirect, does not make it unworkable. A couple of departmental secretaries sacked will ensure that the instructions are both passed on AND obeyed. Ministers do not (or certainly should not) have the time to deal with multiple departmental minions.

  16. Art Vandelay

    Sack the people responsible. Do it today.

    The Liberal Party are ultimately responsible for this legislation. They voted for it. They should be tarred and feathered and run out of town.

    This episode is a perfect example of the idiocy of the modern Liberal Party. They introduce a new policy and then they act all surprised when (the inevitable) unintended consequences arise. This is in spite of commentators like the IPA constantly pointing out such flaws in their proposals.

    For example, Howard introduced the RET over a decade ago and they’re still applying bandaids to the subsequently broken energy system. Don’t they have anyone with any policy expertise?

  17. Ian of Perth

    Far too many ‘swamp dwellers’ in Canberra!

  18. Jock

    I have to say that this is well put. But “get stuffed” sounds better.

  19. lotocoti

    25A Exemption: members of Parliament and statutory office holders
    A person is exempt in relation to an activity the person undertakes on behalf of a foreign principal if the person:
    (a) is a member of the Parliament; or
    (b) is a member of the Parliament of a State, the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory or the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory; or
    (c) holds any office or appointment under a law of the Commonwealth, or under a law of a State or Territory.

    Noice.
    The authors and implementors of the Act aren’t bound by the Act.

  20. duncanm

    Art Vandelay
    #3200705, posted on November 3, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Sack the people responsible. Do it today.

    The Liberal Party are ultimately responsible for this legislation. They voted for it. They should be tarred and feathered and run out of town.

    ++ with tassles.

  21. Entropy

    Sarah has also held positions as Senior Adviser on Immigration and Emergency Management in the Office of the Prime Minister, National Security Adviser in the Office of the Attorney-General, and in the Domestic Security Branch of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

    Which government? That might be interesting. These are political appointments. It is not unusual for ALP operatives to be parachuted into the public service when the writing is on the wall. While not as common when the coalition is in power, no doubt it would have been similar if it was Mick Trumble.

    It would be real amusing Chifley was there when Abbott was PM. The Swamp!

    While mentioning Abbott, did he vote for this Trumble/Brandis legislation? Irony city if so.

  22. Entropy

    Also as a FAS she is on an SES contract and quite sackable.

  23. I don’t want to be rude, duncanm, but “tassels”?
    That is just so ghey.
    How about a red hot poker up the quoit?

  24. dover_beach

    Given that Andrew Cooper is the only person to receive an s45(2) notice in the 12 months since this legislation has been active

    That says it all.

  25. Some History

    tombell
    #3200659, posted on November 3, 2019 at 2:43 pm
    we elect governments; not the public service. the former are usually disappointing; the latter sadly consistent in being a predominantly leftard swamp which more or less does what it feels like. And no so-called “conservative” government has the will or the way to do anything about it.

    +100

  26. candy

    Andrew Cooper is basically accused of being a spy, somewhat devastating. Of course it’s politically motivated.

    And is if Ms Chidgey will be going anywhere. The feminists and/or Minister Porter will protect her.

    I think legal action is the better more direct reaction. Suspensions and investigations just a waste of time and money.

  27. Fight fire with fire I say. Burn the crops and salt the earth. Fight back with lawfare. This order has been issued without merit and for an improper purpose (it is an order, not a punishment technically so administrative law can apply whereas it is generally the view of courts not to meddle in criminal matters with administrative law if they can…). There is also possibly a apprehension of bias given Mx Chidgey was once bested by Duncan Spender publicly. That probably pissed her off because she imagines herself as competent as Lex Lasry or Bret Walker in courts where leave is needed to appear before the bench.

    This is a joke. Extinction Rebellion. Greenpeace. Lee Rhiannon, on the payroll of the Gromyko Soviet Union…not targeted. If Andrew is a traitor, then so is everyone here who has watched Jimmy Dore or Steven Crowder.

    The Liberal Party has been trying to destroy the LDP since 2001 when it was formed.

    It is highly like that Cory Bernadi never intended to be a serious third party candidate. Think about that for a moment.

    This is simply grubbery that the major parties’ cartel excels in.

    The Liberal Party are absolutely committed to destroying any party that would act as a conservative or liberal check on the conscience of valueless, unprincipled, power hungry careerists.

    Mx Chidgey has a bee in her bonnet. A very casual Senator and decent economist pointed out that she wasn’t a great draft legislator:

    https://10daily.com.au/news/australia/a190409qcd/did-parliament-just-accidentally-criminalise-hardcore-porn-20190409

    This is all pretty funny considering the Dennis Richardson/Canberra Raiders and Huaiwei connection.

    This is laughable; you may have seen the first exemption, but wait until you see the second one. We certainly do live under a kleptomaniac dikigorosocracy:

    9A Relationship of this Act to certain privileges and immunities

    Parliamentary privilege

    (1) To avoid doubt, this Act does not affect the law relating to the powers, privileges and immunities of any of the following:

    (a) each House of the Parliament;

    (b) the members of each House of the Parliament;

    (c) the committees of each House of the Parliament and joint committees of both Houses of the Parliament.

    Legal professional privilege

    (2) To avoid doubt, this Act does not affect the law relating to legal professional privilege.

    Legalised racketeering.

    Also note to yourself the banner Sinclair is running on this very blog right now.

  28. Attorney-General Christian Porter said the new Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme would safeguard the nation’s democracy, however, it is clear that the unchecked ability of the government of the day to demand all prior communications from political actors in Australia under the threat of imprisonment serves as a greater threat to democracy than any conceivable influence from foreign actors.

    Indeed.

    Are Gladys Liu or Sam Dastyari in gaol yet, or is that exempted as well?

  29. Herodotus

    In case you thought we were less infected/infested with the USA style deep state swamp creatures, think again.
    This is demonstrably rampant leftism bubbling to the surface exactly where it shouldn’t.

  30. Herodotus

    “it is an order, not a punishment technically ”
    The process is the punishment, but in this case the instance is also the proof that all is not as it should be in the halls of bureaucracy.

  31. Ian of Brisbane

    The perfect Canberra job for GetUp! members. The Coalition setup for GetUp!

  32. Dennis
    1 day ago
    It’s too late to drain the swamp – it’s now time to pump out the sewer.

  33. Tel

    The Liberal Party has been trying to destroy the LDP since 2001 when it was formed.

    That would be the simplest explanation, and one of the few ways to adequately explain targeting Tony Abbott … because by visiting a conference on conservative topics outside the umbrella of official Liberal Party activities, Abbott was cavorting with a competitor. The purpose of that threatening letter being to scorch the Earth and make any other high profile conservative figure feel a bit worried next time there’s a similar conference.

    Chilling effect … power is what you can make your opponents think you have … Alinsky tactics from Canberra.

  34. Kneel

    That’s what we get when everyone involved in politics doesn’t seem to know even the basic concepts.

    Only our Petee knows what politics is.
    Everyone else is a moron.
    He shouldn’t have to tell you this.
    Yet he does.
    Repeatedly.
    Hmm…

  35. RobK

    She was young and naive, duncan.
    Now older.

  36. This bill was rammed through the Senate on 27 and 28 June 2018. The Government claimed it was urgent because there were imminent by-elections and, as with most national security legislation, wedged Labor into supporting it. I was forced to vote with the Greens and opposed it at every stage.
    The Senate Digest for 28 June shows the final vote.
    https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/chamber/journals/5a7ac0b6-b612-4015-9ef8-5fad0891348d/toc_pdf/sen-jn.pdf;fileType=application/pdf
    I spoke against the urgency motion and also spoke against the bill itself. My concerns now appear prophetic.
    https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Hansard_Display?bid=chamber/hansards/bccfc0a7-1a8d-4257-b829-fa7e3b0f0fc7/&sid=0000

  37. Ceres

    Sarah Chidley, another dopey female probably promoted on the basis of quotas. If she wanted to do something useful she should have sent the letter to Daniel Andrews in Victoria, who is moving at breakneck speed to get into bed with the Chinese/ Belt and road deal.

  38. Enyaw

    Watched part of the Senate clip …she can’t string two words together ..and looks a bit of a dummy ..

  39. old bloke

    Has the Governor General yet received a “please explain” notice for representing a foreign authority?

  40. Pyrmonter

    To say I’m unimpressed by the A-G department’s measure understates things. But …

    do we live in a country where ministers ‘suspend’ the enforcement of particular laws?

  41. When Tony Abbott made his speech at CPAC they requested that nobody record the speech. It’s as if he knew there might be trouble in store. So the question is what did Abbott know and when did he know it?

  42. CameronH

    This is why the LNP is the stupid party. Do they not realise that the public service is full of their enemies? SloMo is talking about bringing in a law against these radical activists. Does he not realise that bthe only people these laws are used against will be his own supporters?

  43. Occupy Centrelink


    Frank Walker from National Tiles
    #3200778, posted on November 3, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    The Liberal Party are absolutely committed to destroying any party that would act as a conservative or liberal check on the conscience of valueless, unprincipled, power hungry careerists.


    It’s clearly a warning shot to anyone on the centre-right who dares to challenge the “broad church”. “Mess with us and we’ll come after you …”

  44. JC

    That’s a great blog name Occupy.

  45. Occupy Centrelink

    With that support JC I need to come back here more often 🙂 🙂

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