Green Shadow over Free Speech

There is a dark shadow creeping across the Australian political landscape that threatens one of the most important elements of our democracy – our freedom of speech. The shroud of political correctness has already stifled many Australians from speaking out on important matters for fear of public vilification.

Now the righteous left are seeking to intimidate media outlets with whose view they disagree. Greens leader Bob Brown refers to them as the “hate media”; possibly because he hates what they write about him and his Marxist party.

The Greens whinge and whine about public accountability and transparency yet loathe any scrutiny or exposure of their own hypocritical behaviour.

They decry political donations but take the largest single corporate donation in the nation’s history for themselves. By some strange coincidence, Bob Brown then asked some questions of the government that were clearly linked to the donor’s business interest. If it were another political player, such coincidences would warrant further investigation to ensure that there was no compromise of the integrity of our parliamentary process.

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne’s party condemns plastic water bottles as an “unjustified luxury” except for “essential safety or medical reasons” but she is pictured on her website clutching a bottle of her own. Milne has thus far failed to detail the essential safety or medical reasons for the double standard.

These are but two examples of the Greens’ mantra to ‘do as I say, not as I do’. For two decades, such blatant hypocrisy has gone relatively unscrutinised by the mainstream media. With the elevation of the Greens to holding the balance of power in the Senate and alliance partners of the government, surely a more vigorous public accountability is warranted? Most would think so.

Yet when the media torch shines on the dark corners of the Greens’ policy agenda and contradictory public statements, the response is to condemn the torch bearer.

Horrified Greens supporters demanded the sacking of the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann for daring to ask Bob Brown to properly explain his policy position on Uhlmann’s current affairs program.

When The Australian newspaper ran a line contrary to Brown’s preferred script he condemned them.

Now, thanks to Brown and his government supporters, there is an independent inquiry into the media with some suggesting that the real purpose is to intimidate the free press from taking too hard a line against the government and the Greens.

As a politician, there are many times when I am less than thrilled with the characterisation of myself or my party’s policies in the media. Yet any suggestion that some form of license or government
sanction is required before putting forward an opinion in the public sphere should strike fear into the heart of all freedom lovers.

Such concerns must be taken seriously, as any suggestion that the government (and their alliance partners) are seeking to muzzle the media would risk a further erosion of free speech in this country.

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