The Australian‘s Janet Albrechtsen has an important column ($) today on how Nicola Roxon was forced into her embarrassing back down on anti-discrimination laws:
If it is true that 12 months ago, barely months into her dream job as attorney-general, Roxon told the Prime Minister that she intended to leave parliament, then Roxon also must have intended that her human rights and anti-discrimination bill would be her parting gift to the nation. Happily, Roxon will leave parliament with a clear message Australians declined her illiberal gift.
So take a bow, people. As politicians gather for federal parliament, remember that people power defeated Roxon. Not just the power of ticking a ballot box. Roxon’s radical and illiberal intention to undermine free speech in this country was exposed by people raising their voices between elections. There were no nutty activists carrying out stunts. Just ordinary people raising sensible arguments.
When tested against rational arguments, Roxon’s agenda failed. Take a bow, too, the staff, headed by John Roskam, at the Institute of Public Affairs and the IPA’s paying members who ran Freedomwatch – a campaign that garnered rational, passionate, liberty-based arguments against Roxon’s bill.
After a quick ABC news report about the release of Roxon’s bill on November 20 last year there has been an intellectual wasteland at Aunty when it came to Roxon’s bill. Curiously, the day Roxon was in Sydney to promote her anti-discrimination bill, she appeared on the ABC’s premier political program 7.30. Yet host Leigh Sales devoted every question to the royal commission into child abuse. Free speech didn’t get a look-in.
The ABC picked up the free speech story only when a member of the Left’s favoured human rights industry, Gillian Triggs at the Human Rights Commission, conceded that the laws might have “gone too far”. Business concerns? Ignored. Church concerns? Disregarded. Voters’ concerns? Forget it.
It was a similar story at Fairfax, where only the usual loyal protectors of liberty exposed Roxon’s draft law as an affront to free speech – stand up Paul Sheehan at The Sydney Morning Herald and the IPA’s Chris Berg writing in The Age. While a few SMH editorials fought for freedom, there was barely a whisper of interest among journalists for whom free speech is, after all, a professional necessity.
Andrew Bolt agrees with Albrechtsen’s assessment on his blog this morning.