Freedom and Heritage Society asserts firmly that Australians are born with fundamental human rights: these are not gifts from government or the United Nations, and we do not elect governments to take them away.
Freedom of speech is the most fundamental of human rights, underpinning all others.
In late 2012, former Attorney-General Nichola Roxon launched a highly affronting attack by the Labor government on free speech, through the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill. This would have made it a criminal offence for you to say anything that somebody else found offensive or insulting.
The bill would not only have curbed free speech: it would have reversed the onus of proof – overturning the normal presumption that an accused person is presumed innocent until proved guilty.
The Bill was temporarily withdrawn after a public outcry and a large number of submissions to the Parliamentary committee examining the legislation, but the next Labor Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, said in the 2013 federal election campaign that he intended to reintroduce it if Labor won the election.
A naive and trusting person would think that the Australian Human Rights Commission existed to defend the rights and freedoms of Australians. Not so, apparently! In February 2013, the head of the Commission, Gillian Triggs, admitted to Senator George Brandis in Senate Estimates hearings that the Commission had not, in fact, been taking steps to defend free speech and, indeed, had no programs to promote freedom. Instead, she said “We have had an emphasis on the proper limitations of freedom of speech.”
In 2017 the egregious Triggs delivered herself of this totalitarian gem:
Legally activist and frankly, constitutionally subversive writings by the American jurist Ronald Dworkin (1931-2013) gave the Left a basis to hijack classical libertarian notions of human rights and replace them with the idea of egalitarian rights. These posit that the most fundamental human right is the right to “equal concern and respect”.
This recalibrates human rights in favour of victimhood and subjective feelings and sensitivities.
So much for the principle attributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
So the Australian Human Rights Commission and the outgoing federal Labor government, falling into step with the disgraceful principles embodied in Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (otherwise known as ‘Victoria’s Blasphemy law’), have been looking for ways to enslave Australians with political correctness – where the right of others not to be offended is more important than the right of all citizens to speak freely.
Any law and any activist principle that prohibits free speech creates suffocating political correctness and advances totalitarianism with the fear of Big Brother and the Thought Police. A society is much diminished where people are forced to lie silently instead of saying what they think. Being squeamish about words – submitting to linguistic fascism – can also make people catastrophically blind to realities. This is certainly the case in Britain, where the failure to face realities and affirm genuine freedom is leading the country down a path to civil war.
The writer Doris Lessing has described this sort of political correctness as “a self-appointed group of vigilantes imposing their views on others. It is a heritage of communism, but they don’t seem to see this.”
Freedom and Heritage Society of Australia believes that no law is acceptable if it discourages the discussion in good faith of political, cultural, economic, social or religious practices that undermine personal freedom and Australian values.
We uphold the Australian Constitution and note the extreme difficulty of making any changes to it. Unfortunately over time, legal activism has tended to subvert the Constitution.
In this respect, the United States Constitution gives the American people a more solid written guarantee through its First Amendment (adopted in 1791) which states, in part: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or. abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances …”