Gideon Rozner: In Australia, Having Your Say Shouldn’t Put You In Handcuffs

When I first saw the video of Zoe Buhler’s arrest, my first thought was ‘this has to be a fake’. When I realised it wasn’t, my second thought was this – ‘This is not the Australia I know’.

And I know that you agree. This is not the Australia we know. Zoe’s case is not something that should be happening in any country purporting to be a liberal democracy.

That’s why I’m delighted to tell you that the great Andrew Cooper and our friends at LibertyWorks have set up a page to help fund Zoe’s legal defence.

You know the video I’m talking about. It starts with a troupe of masked police officers rampaging through the house and ends with a pregnant woman in handcuffs as her children watch on. The phone recording the whole incident is confiscated, along with every other phone, computer and tablet in the house.It’s the kind of treatment we usually see for drug dealers, suspected terrorists, or child pornographers. But Zoe’s alleged ‘crime’ was none of these things. Zoe was arrested, detained and eventually charged over a Facebook post.Zoe had posted days earlier about a peaceful gathering in Ballarat in protest against Melbourne’s lockdown. She encouraged mask-wearing, asked everyone to adhere to ‘social distancing’ guidelines, and, in what is now a sad irony, stressed that it was to be a ‘peaceful protest’ so that ‘we don’t get arrested’.For this, Zoe has been charged with ‘incitement’ to breach Victoria’s ‘public health orders’, and now faces the threat of a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $19,000.

IN AUSTRALIA, HAVING YOUR SAY SHOULDN’T PUT YOU IN HANDCUFFS – Support Zoe’s legal defence fund here

As I said to Andrew Bolt the night after the video, it’s not just that Zoe’s arrest was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in Australia – it’s that I never thought such a thing would or could ever happen in Australia.

From Andrew Bolt to Bill Leak to Calum Thwaites to Peter Ridd, we have seen some shocking attacks on free speech over the years. But even in my wildest paranoid nightmares I would never have imagined that we would see a pregnant woman handcuffed in front of her own children over a Facebook post.

It is a terrifying new low. It is not something that we should be seeing in any country purporting to be a liberal democracy – and it’s something we must never, ever see again in Australia.

The night Zoe’s arrest hit the internet, IPA Executive Director John Roskam and I were on the phone until late. By the next morning, we had already put Zoe’s family in touch with Stuart Wood QC, Stephen Andrianakis, and several other top barristers and solicitors. And following a barrage of abuse and death threats, we helped move Zoe to a secure location and engage private security.

Since that time, I and the IPA have received many, many emails from our members who are just as proud as we are to be involved in Zoe’s fight, and know just as well as we do what it means for our fundamental freedoms and Australia’s future. We all know that Zoe’s arrest is about much more than just one woman’s Facebook post, and that what happened to her could happen to me or you or any other Australian if we don’t stand up for our rights.

And we all know that what happened to Zoe has been, in a way, a long time coming. We’ve seen how Victoria Police have become deeply politicised, how they’ve gone from being trusted community protectors to henchmen for the bureaucratic-managerialist state.

We need only look to what happened when 10,000 protesters gathered in the centre of Melbourne just months ago for the so-called ‘Black Lives Matter’ rallies. Not only was nobody arrested, but Victoria Police indicated that they ‘supported the right to protest’. When asked about the double standard recently, Victoria Police indicated that they let the rallies go ahead because there was a risk that protesters would ‘turn violent’ if police tried to stop them.

If Victoria Police are telling the truth, then they’re basically admitting that they’ve given in to mob rule – that the threat of violence effectively supersedes the rule of law.

And if they’re lying and Victoria Police never really had a problem with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ rallies to begin with, then we have reached the situation in which the police are picking and choosing which political protests get to go ahead, and which don’t. Which political speech is acceptable, and which can get you arrested for ‘incitement’.

That’s why we need to fight – and why Zoe needs your help.

Defending a charge like this is not easy, nor is it cheap. Zoe’s lawyers have estimated that, even at a heavily discounted rate, she will need almost $300,000 to fight these charges.

All funds will be sent directly to Zoe’s lawyers’ trust account, and any money leftover will be donated to a youth mental health charity of Zoe’s choice.

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36 Responses to Gideon Rozner: In Australia, Having Your Say Shouldn’t Put You In Handcuffs

  1. NoFixedAddress

    Sinclair

    The other aspect of this is actual political commentary.

    Will prospective electioneering be now counted as ‘incitement’.

    Well done to you and the IPA.

  2. Old Lefty

    All very true, thanks. You could, of course, strengthen the case by bringing in the corrupt and contemptible Stalinst political prosecution of His Eminence Cardinal Pell. That is testimony tomth depths of corruption and political prostitution in the Victorian police and their readiness to pander to their political whoremongers in the Stalinst pervert thuggocracy in Spring Street. More alarmingly, though, the Pell case shows that Hulls and his successors have subjected the Office of Public Prosecutions (who should be keeping the police under adult supervision) to the same process of corruption and political prostitution.

    Of course I couldn’t possibly comment on the magistracy and the judiciary.

  3. BrettW

    Discounted to $300,000 !

    Why isnt a law firm, (ie. not the Slater and Gordon or Maurice Blackburn type) signing up people like the coffee shop girl, Avi, and pregnant girl etc and combining resources.

    “Defending a charge like this is not easy, nor is it cheap. Zoe’s lawyers have estimated that, even at a heavily discounted rate, she will need almost $300,000 to fight these charges”.

  4. feelthebern

    With industrial relations, if a business is found to have selectively enforced a policy, or selectively policed legislation/or regulation, they are in deep do-do.
    In Victoria, it’s amazing how the “discretion” the plod use always seems to benefit Labor Maaaaaates.

  5. nb

    William Stickman IV, United States District Judge
    In the United States District Court of Pennsylvania
    County of Butler v. Thomas W. Wolf
    Opinion
    ———————————-
    Conclusion:
    ‘The Court closes this Opinion as it began, by recognizing that Defendants’ actions at issue here were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency. But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered. The liberties protected by the Constitution are not fair-weather freedoms – in place when times are good but able to be cast aside in times of trouble. There is no question that this Country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort. But the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands at the foundation of the American experiment. The constitution cannot accept the concept of a “new normal” where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures. Rather, the Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency. Actions taken by defendants crossed those lines. It is the duty of the Court to declare those actions unconstitutional. Thus, consistent with the reasons set forth above, the Court will enter judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs.’
    Full Opinion can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FL3Y1kDPricSINHlym0lVIw9hdsvmZmx/view
    Or, if you have an account, from here: https://www.uscourts.gov/court-records/find-case-pacer

  6. H B Bear

    Should be an army of QCS licking their lips at this opportunity, not the Victoriastani ones obviously.

  7. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Zoe will be a test case. She needs the money for the case and for costs and fines if it fails.
    She could go to prison for this. Imagine that. In Australia!
    A class action would have many different elements and be more difficult I suspect.

    It is essential that the case be made against this rough riding on freedom by the State and its force.
    This arrest is a stain on Australia at home and internationally.
    I am glad the IPA has stepped in here.

  8. John L Devlin

    I agree completely that this is an extremely important case that must be fought by all of us.
    Wait…not quite.
    If this case is of such immense importance is it not passing strange that there is not a single lawyer willing to – in the interests of the nation and democracy generally – take up the case pro-bono?
    After all it would hardly be at a loss at the end of the day.
    I would imagine the loss in fees would be more than offset by the notoriety gained.
    And notoriety would later ensure future business.
    After all it is alleged that a certain former Prime Minister got his initial leg-up from obscurity from a well publicised court case.
    PM ScoMo said “We are all in this together” regarding the Covid PanicDemic – we (most of us) quickly realised that was a lie.
    I just released $100 of my hard-earned and fast disappearing cash to StandwithAvi and I will gladly do the same here – because I have to.
    But I need to shout: ” We unfortunately are not in this together – because if we were this shit would never happen”.
    And I need to add….
    There are some people who are very capable of helping to take the load financially – who never do.
    They seriously piss me off.
    And I am not referring to Car Salesmen or Real Estate Agents.

  9. Hay Stockard

    Victoria. It’s inhabitants have made their bed. We in other states certainly never voted for your soviet.
    You guys have been mendicants since Federation.
    For the love of God, man up and do something for yourselves. Clean your own house. At least make an effort before asking someone else to do the hard yards for you..
    We call it tough love.

  10. DaveR

    Which ever way you look at this, there has to be a full inquiry into the Victorian police. Select application of the law, refusal to prosecute far-left law breakers, compromised or missing-in-action Chief Commissioners, political activism among senior ranks, and full on illegality. 12 serving officers and another 4 recently retired possibly facing charges over the Lawyer X scandal? Worse than Qld under Terry Hodgson?

  11. Tim Neilson

    We in other states certainly never voted for your soviet.

    A great many of us didn’t either.

    You guys have been mendicants since Federation.

    We’ve been net contributors of tax revenue every year since Federation except a year or two at the end of Cain/Kirner.
    (Of course we’re about to go full tilt mendicant now for the foreseeable future.)

    For the love of God, man up and do something for yourselves. Clean your own house. At least make an effort before asking someone else to do the hard yards for you.

    Any suggestions?
    Preferably not involving getting fined $1,000’s and giving the Hunchback yet another scapegoat to divert attention from his failings.

  12. Noddy

    “Defending a charge like this is not easy, nor is it cheap. Zoe’s lawyers have estimated that, even at a heavily discounted rate, she will need almost $300,000 to fight these charges”.
    Politicians legislate and it ‘costs’ to oppose bad legislation, not only in anguish and finance but in destroying faith in our democratic institutions. Surely ‘the government’ is the ‘government’ only from when it is elected until turfed from office; Can a government bind future elected governments in chains to remain forever unbroken? The ’emergency health regulations’ should be repealed as soon as practicable, public servants stripped of the Powers endowed on them by the Legislation and the relevant Minister be held personally responsible for results, whether it is bouquets or brickbats.
    The financial penalties being handed out are not designed for punishment but to destroy-YOU VILL OBEY!

  13. Hay Stockard

    Tim Neilson,
    Begging an,out of stater for an idea?
    I have heaps.
    Got the fortitude to get your house in order?
    A couple of hundred of you stand up speaking truth to power and the rest ofyou fold like a pack of cards.
    If any of you are fair dinkum about taking on your lizard overlords ask the good Doomlord for my email.
    Simples. Now get sorted.

  14. Tim Neilson

    Hay Stockard
    #3588771, posted on September 17, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Everything going in exemplary fashion in your own state?
    If not, what are you doing about that? That will give us enough of a lead.

  15. Arky

    , IPA Executive Director John Roskam and I were on the phone until late.

    ..
    Maybe you could get Roskam to reply to my email.

  16. Damian of Perth

    Hay Stockard, you are wrong. If the Victorian ALP and their camp followers and henchmen get away with persecuting Zoe Buhler it will embolden leftist goons across the country. How long before the next ALP government and their flunkies look across the border at Victoria and tell themselves, “Look at what Dan gat away with. How far can we push our enemies? ”

    Your property and freedom will be worth little.

  17. Hay Stockard

    I’ve done a fair bit for an old raspberry ripple. No jackbooted thuggery in my neck of the woods. No violence, just some,genteel civil disobedience.
    As usual, another Mexican who is a hard man on the internet. Stop whining. Use your keyboard for something useful. My offer won’t last for ever.
    If you aren’t prepared to help yourself don’t come crying to the rest of us.

  18. MatrixTransform

    If you aren’t prepared to help yourself don’t come crying to the rest of us.

    thinks he’s immune to the creeping progressive

  19. MatrixTransform

    How’s the weather there in your Stockard? … you know which way the wind is blowing?

  20. Damon

    ‘Scuse me? Lawyers line up to defend asylum seekers, but want to be paid to defend free speech?

  21. Tim Neilson

    No jackbooted thuggery in my neck of the woods.

    So you’ve got no practical experience of value to us.

    No violence, just some,genteel civil disobedience.

    Easy to be “genteel” when there isn’t the thuggery. What do the campaign medals you’ve designed for yourself look like?

    As usual, another Mexican who is a hard man on the internet.

    I don’t know what I said to create that impression. I don’t recall urging anything I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself. Perhaps you could remind me.

  22. Victoria police were lying. If not, police would not have been kneeling at the protest. It’s leftist ideology that Andrews protected. To hell with anyone messing with it, and him. You just need to recall the case with Milo Yianopoulos, who was charged for police attendance – for doing nothing more than a legal, organised event. The Socialists – who are probably also BLM – who threatened and intimidated the public, and attempted to disrupt the event, why the police attended in the first place, were basically given the OK to keep doing what they do.

  23. Chris M

    Ooh I’d just love to send a nice payment to some lawyer.

    Zoe should be able to receive justice which mean – apology, significant compensation and the fining and permanent removal of the police involved – without spending money, or certainly not the crazy amount these leeches are talking.

    So this is an admission that justice is impossible in Australia unless you are well-heeled and connected where you will then receive the wink wink justice.

  24. Shy Ted

    Further enriching lawyers is not the way to go.

  25. wal1957

    Chris @4:46am “So this is an admission that justice is impossible in Australia unless you are well-heeled and connected where you will then receive the wink wink justice.”

    This has been my take on ‘the justice system’ for years.
    Their is no ‘equal’ in rhe judicial system.

  26. Tim

    What puzzles me is

    The pile on that Bertina Arnt copped for requesting that the police be allowed to do their job with out interference. Even the Senate condemned her. Yes even the coalition Senators

    With Zoe Not a whisper from the pollies Says everything

    The Prime minister should have called it out and defended her write to have an opinion. But he to was missing in action

    I suspect 2 changes need to be made to the Constitution and need to happen.
    1. The clauses of the federal constitution that apply to the states needs to be applied to States
    2. There needs to be a clause allowing freedom of expression
    and
    just for good measure
    3. Citizen initiated referendums need to be allowed

  27. Dianeh

    And following a barrage of abuse and death threats, we helped move Zoe to a secure location and engage private security

    Death threats over a Facebook post that threaten the Talidan’s lockdown.

    What the hell is wrong with some people? I am astonished. 😲

  28. Roger

    Defending a charge like this is not easy, nor is it cheap. Zoe’s lawyers have estimated that, even at a heavily discounted rate, she will need almost $300,000 to fight these charges.

    And there’s another problem.

  29. Leo G

    Victoria Police indicated that they let the rallies go ahead because there was a risk that protesters would ‘turn violent’ if police tried to stop them.

    In Zoe’s case it appears there was a risk that the police would “turn violent” while responding to her mere intention to defy Dangerous Dan.

  30. Epidermis

    From Off-Guardian a UK shit stirring website

    New rules may allow Australian police to detain “conspiracy theorists”
    The Australian state is roling out increasingly fascistic laws, when will people finally say enough is enough?

  31. There is one sure way to fix this and make sure it doesn’t happen again but we know it will never be done.
    If and when the LNP get in, they should go through this period with a fine tooth comb and charge people including cops AND LABOR POLITICIANS.
    Fearing the same might be done to them, they will never do it.

    At the very least, the PM should have spoken up, but he is a gutless coward.

  32. Kneel

    “Victoria Police indicated that they let the rallies go ahead because there was a risk that protesters would ‘turn violent’ if police tried to stop them.”

    Well, there’s your answer – organise a protest and threaten violence will ensue if you are in any way restricted in the process. And actually be prepared to go through with it. If (OK, when) they make a big stink, point to VikPol’s excuse and say “What do you expect when they make statements like this? If threats of violence are the only thing that gets us permission to protest, then threats of violence you will get! We are the people and we demand to be heard – we will exercise our rights, whatever it takes.” Don’t back down. Don’t initiate violence, but be prepared to respond in kind if it is used against you or your fellow protestors – do you really think VikPol (or any police force) will succeed in dragging you off when there are 100’s of angry people for every officer? No, they’ll fold faster than superman on laundry day, like they did for BLM. And make sure you push the protest on any and all remaining right-wing media people – get the Jones’, Bolt’s et al making noise and promoting it for you.

    Don’t use facechook or twatter, use parler or something else that doesn’t want to enforce “community standards”, just the law – because the tech tyrants WILL try to silence you if you are acting against their preferred political position.

  33. John A

    I have donated, and I have shared the link with my social media contacts.

  34. WDYSIA

    $300,000 to defend against a $18000 fine? Seriously? You need an army of QCs for that?
    This is so tomorrow the same lawyers can argue to take away our freedom?
    Like Brett Walker argued to free Pell and the next day argued to condemn Ridd at a tidy $20000 a day?
    I’d rather just contribute to pay Zoe’s fine.

  35. jupes

    Zoe’s lawyers have estimated that, even at a heavily discounted rate, she will need almost $300,000 to fight these charges.

    LOL. Of course they have.

    Ka Ching!

  36. Derp

    “Victoria Police indicated that they let the rallies go ahead because there was a risk that protesters would ‘turn violent’ if police tried to stop them.”

    They’ve tacitly admitted the terms under which they will allow a protest, unlawful or not.
    Low hanging fruit is their preference, actual committed law breakers get a pass.
    If plod are using incitement to arrest a lady for promoting a peaceful demonstration and also a fella for telling people NOT to go to a protest, then by these same standards they should just as easily arrest themselves for inciting violent and unlawful protests.

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