Labor’s Mark Dreyfus QC takes stand on #freespeech: Abbott and Brandis honour Voltaire only in the breach

[clear] The Coalition will never waver in its defence of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. — Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) March 13, 2013 Oh the terrible irony for George Brandis QC in fronting the latest Abbott Government attacks on free speech through its terror legislation. Brandis was one of several moderates in the Howard Government who stood firm behind liberal principles to oppose its draconian anti-terror legislation in 2002. As editor of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Webdiary I documented the true Liberal dissenters fightback in great detail; indeed it was their dissent which enabled the Labor Party to risk adding its voice to the debate. And in my […]

@Jansant interviews respected refugee advocate Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM @Kon__K from the @ASRC1

[clear] By Wayne Jansson  @jansant February 8, 2014 Ever since John Howard’s Tampa affair back in 2001, refugees arriving by boat have been at the centre of political debate in Australia. A campaign to demonise and dehumanise refugees has been in full swing ever since. Its been so successful the Abbott government has even seen the value in using refugees to launch a fresh round of attacks on the ABC for perceived bias. Criticism is growing both in Australia and around the world to our treatment of refugees. This criticisms is aimed at both the policies and the increasingly vitriolic rhetoric of the Australian government. #UNHCR is concerned about reports of […]

Best Polly Ticks Quotes and Moments of 2013

by Sarah Capper 23 December 2013 A week is a long time in politics. A year is an excruciating amount of time, and as we near the end of 2013, our third prime minister for the year has just reached his first 100 days in office. Awww. In many senses, it’s been Tony Abbott’s year. So what does this year in politics look like – in the “suppository of wisdom” of quotable quotes? Beyond the delivery of our PM’s trademark “Umm, Ah, Yeah, Um,” response? Some people said Abbott’s election would provide Australia with its ‘George Bush’ moment [shiver], but in terms of adding to the rich history of Australian political […]

The chances of same-sex marriage in Australia: @burgewords comments

Supporters of marriage equality in Australia would have been forgiven for thinking the issue was dead in the water under the 43rd Parliament. We endured Tony Abbott’s predictable religious opposition. We winced at Julia Gillard’s incomprehensible atheist mantra against relationship freedom. We shed tears as Penny Wong assured us of a more enlightened tomorrow. Then something happened which nobody predicted. Kevin Rudd, with one cogent blog post, became the highest-profile Australian politician, and christian, to get behind marriage equality. Before he was reinstated as Prime Minister, this news remained a hopeful anecdote. Now it’s fast becoming the point of difference which may wedge Rudd into a win at the ballot […]

Fight for freedom like IPA: Brandis to Human Rights Commission

By Greg Barns February 22. 2013 Expect to see political interference in the work of the Human Rights Commission – the national guardian of our human rights – under an Abbott Government. Likely Attorney-General Senator George Brandis this week hinted at what might be in store in an interview with The Australian. He said the HRC was not doing its job  ‘unless it spends as much time promoting freedom and libertarian rights generally as it does promoting equality or egalitarian rights’ (Brandis eyes speech, press rights – Oz paywall). Naturally he cuddled up to mainstream media organisations, declaring that  at ‘a time when, in Australia in the past 18 months, we have […]