Email: Support for freedom of speech continues to grow

While the prime minister has kicked it “into the long grass“, support within the Coalition for freedom of speech continues to grow.

There are now 13 senators who are public in their support of changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. (See the full list on FreedomWatch here).

Last week, Senator Zed Seselja was the latest to join the call for free speech, with this 11 minute speech in the Senate. It is a must watch.

This week, Prime Minister Turnbull rejected the opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to freedom of speech (which the IPA’s Simon Breheny suggested they take up last week) saying “the government has no plans to change the Racial Discrimination Act at all”.

And this is what happens when you live in a country that criminalises insults

A United Arab Emirates soccer player found himself in prison after making indecent gestures and criticising his team manager when he wasn’t picked in the team.

To go along with his suspension from the club, he and another player were also “found guilty of using telecommunications services to offend and hurt the feelings of others”. They were given three month prison sentences.

What Lomborg’s critics don’t want Australian students to hear

Bjørn Lomborg has an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal this week, slamming the misuse of billions of dollars ($) on “climate aid”:

Providing the world’s most deprived countries with solar panels instead of better health care or education is inexcusable self-indulgence. Green energy sources may be good to keep on a single light or to charge a cellphone. But they are largely useless for tackling the main power challenges for the world’s poor.

According to the World Health Organization, three billion people suffer from the effects of indoor air pollution because they burn wood, coal or dung to cook. These people need access to affordable, reliable electricity today. Yet too often clean alternatives, because they aren’t considered “renewable,” aren’t receiving the funding they deserve.

This week, in a victory for censorship and groupthink, the federal government announced that it was withdrawing funding for Lomborg’s university think tank, the Australian Consensus Centre.

I was quoted in The Guardian on this issue:

“By making this decision, the government has surrendered to the demands of the Centre’s hysterical opponents, who only want a narrow range of views heard at universities,” said Morgan Begg, editor of the IPA’s FreedomWatch.

While IPA Executive Director John Roskam was quoted in The Australian:

“I think it is a victory for censorship. I think it is a victory for closed minds,” he said. “It is a terribly disappointing day for Australian universities and for academic freedom.”

Defending the humble plastic bag

Who will? West Australian Liberal MLC and IPA member Peter Katsambanis, who successfully moved a motion last week to disallow a local council decision to ban the bag.

The IPA’s Simon Breheny congratulated Mr Katsambanis and the other Liberals, Nationals, and Shooters and Fishers on FreedomWatch here.

Paul Keating calls for a “treaty”

Describing it as the “unfinished business of the nation”, former prime minister Paul Keating last week called for a treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, suggesting it could precede constitutional recognition.

This is a dangerous idea, as Simon Breheny explains:

The idea behind a treaty is a divisive one. Rather than acknowledging all Australians as equal, a treaty would divide Australians into groups based on race. The idea that Australians should be separated into different nations is a dangerous one, and it should be rejected.

Continue reading here.

Top 3 articles from this week you must read

  • In the most recent edition of the City Journal, Steven Malanga documents who is really behind the “grassroots” environmental movement in California
  • On Monday, the Scientific American published a fascinating account of a failed Greenpeace renewable energy experiment in India, and how coal really does trump solar
  • Also on Monday, in an excellent Wall Street Journal article, Bret Stephens called on Europe to remember its Judeo-Christian inheritance.

Some other recent highlights from FreedomWatch

Kind regards,

Morgan Begg
Editor of FreedomWatch – Institute of Public Affairs

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