Another powerful piece from Janet Albrechtsen in today’s Oz…An extract below..
“….Something bad is going on that requires more than a candle and talk of solidarity. The truth is that across the West, fewer and fewer people show support for our values. Our solidarity is more shallow and momentary than deep and enduring.
For all the declarations about the strength of our democracy, there is a growing disagreement about these core values. Not just the normal wrangle over the friction between “rights” that we deal with daily but a growing cacophony of deep dissent about the very worth of some rights.
The British Prime Minister mentioned freedom of speech, yet there is no longer broad agreement about its importance in a thriving democracy. In Australia, large sections of the media, the entire Labor Party, the Greens and crossbenchers refuse to acknowledge that section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act curbs free speech. A law that allows a claimant to rush off to a bureaucracy or go to court for hurt feelings is a law that chills free speech.
It’s no coincidence that identity politics is in full swing at the same time that more people chose to be offended for the purpose of section 18C in order to shut down opinions they don’t like.
It’s no coincidence either that Bill Leak was hated both by Islamic State, which wanted to kill him, and sections of the left, which wanted him to stop provoking debate about issues outside their orthodox positions. That curious coalescence reveals there is no longer solidarity or even basic agreement about the value of freedom of speech in our democracy.
Indeed, the terrain for acceptable talk keeps shrinking in the West.
Take the recent Coopers brouhaha when gay marriage activists rose up to object to a civil conversation between Tim Wilson, an advocate of same-sex marriage, and Andrew Hastie, a supporter of traditional marriage. The bullies responded with clear intent to shut down a legitimate debate that stepped outside the boundaries of permissible talk.
Barely a week later, IBM managing partner Mark Allaby was targeted by same-sex marriage activists for his role in a Christian organisation. His private right to a different view about marriage in liberal democracy is unacceptable to sections of the left.
If we cannot have a civil, reasoned discussion about same-sex marriage, how can we hope to discuss the challenge of Islamic terrorism? In this diminishing domain of debate, each terrorist attack is followed by claims of Islamophobia and equally unhelpful exhortations that terrorism is Islamist, not Islamic.
Sections of our media cannot utter the words, let alone discuss the issue. On ABC’s 7pm news on Friday, just as the identity of the terrorist became known, Steve Cannane in London made no mention that Khalid Masood had converted to Islam. The ABC’s reported facts went no further than a “crazed man” with a rental car and two large knives. In the pursuit to protect minorities, we shy away from understanding the journey taken by men who grow up in a Western democracy only to become radicalised jihadists. Yet not having this conversation causes more division than having it.
Bill Shorten’s Labor is wedded to the divisiveness of identity politics rather than seeking commonality among Australians. Rather than stand up for freedom of speech for all, Labor under Shorten wants more divisive legal redress in 18C. Rather than bringing 18C into line with community standards, Shorten prefers to widen the fault lines writ large by identity politics.
Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs doesn’t agree that Australians should engage in a plebiscite on same-sex marriage. Nor does she agree that community standards should be the test of section 18C. Her commitment to identity politics is complete.
Islamic State is engaged in a geopolitical, religious and ideological war with the West. Islamic terrorists are tightly united behind their aims. They have focus and unyielding solidarity on their side…” Forget the candles, values are on the line