a post by @TraditionalMike on twitter
Here in Australia we sometimes fall into the thinking that things we see happening overseas can’t happen, or won’t, happen to us. Our isolation and not being connected by land to any other country contributes to this thinking. The rest of the world seems so far away from here.
These past few months we have seen some very troubling events going on with regards to free speech in the UK. Lauren Southern, Martin Sellner & Brittany Pettibone were all prevented from entering the country in March of this year. More recently Tommy Robinson was arrested and jailed for 13 months, Tommy is a citizen of the United Kingdom and he was jailed because he was trying to exercise his right of free speech.
So, at this stage I would pose the question; is free speech under threat in Australia?
To help answer this question we should look at couple of things happening here in Australia right now.
Next month Lauren Southern is visiting Australia, she is doing a tour and visiting all 5 capital cities on the mainland. Mainstream media and others are calling for her to be banned from coming here similar to what happened in the UK. I wrote about this here.
The second item to help answer this question is what is happening to Australian TV presenter and media personality Sonia Kruger?
On July 18 2016 Sonia said on the Nine Network’s Today Show that Australia’s boarders should be closed to Muslims in the wake of the terrorist attack in Nice.
There was nothing in this video that Sonia said that would be considered wrong or hateful by the broader community. She was, in fact, voicing an opinion held by many Australians. However, as a result of this statement she made nearly two years ago Sonia is now facing a racial vilification case and as a result of that a directions hearing will be held on the June 19th.
For the record, the complaint against Sonia has been made by Sam Ekermawi, a Muslim living in Australia. It should be noted that Mr. Ekermawi has been involved in 32 hearings before courts and tribunals, 22 of them related to vilification complaints, according to evidence heard by the tribunal.
There are those in Australia, myself included, who see this directions hearing for what it really is- an attack on free speech in Australia. We have been actively showing our support for Sonia on social media and campaigning to keep our freedom of speech in Australia.
So, the answer is – yes – free speech in Australia is under threat right now. I will continue to support Sonia and make a stand for freedom speech in this country. We all need to continue to fight and protect our free speech in Australia before it is too late and we lose it forever.