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 […]

Howard’s blueprint for Abbott to stifle dissent

By Margo Kingston March 12, 2013 This chapter from Still Not Happy, John! (Pengiun, 2007) is required reading for activists and people in non-government organisations which advocate for change. John Howard’s government systematically sought to stifle democratic dissent with the help of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). Believe it or not, the Howard government funded the secretly funded IPA to produce a report saying groups who did not reveal their funding should not get government funding. Pressed to justify this hypocrisy, the IPA promised to disclose its donors but it never did. As the likelihood of a government led by Howard’s political son grows, I feel citizens need to […]