Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Defend Free Speech in Perth group hardly anti-censorship

The term "free speech" is being used a lot lately. However, its meaning seems to change quite a bit according to who's doing the, er, speaking.

Take the Defend Free Speech in Perth group. Sounds like they have admirable aims. You know, the kind of people who'd be appalled at the silencing of Andrew Bolt. They'd be staunchly opposed to the Government's creepy exploitation of the British phone hacking scandal to increase restrictions on reporting here, wouldn't they?

Nope. These guys are a bunch of hectoring lefties. They believe that freedom of speech is not the right to shout what you believe, but the right to shout other people down.

They actually interrupted a Perth City Council meeting, which then had to be adjourned:

The Defend Free Speech in Perth group filled the gallery, holding up signs comparing the council to the Nazis and calling out after they were not satisfied with a question answered by chief executive Frank Edwards.

This group was the, er, brainchild of extreme leftists associated with Occupy Perth. No wonder the poor sprog was stillborn.


  1. Did that post really just disappear? Really?

  2. Seems the point has been missed entirely in this rant. The main concern of the group is not to shout others down but to be able to protest and voice political opinion - as recognized in the International Declaration of Human Rights, without suppression from Perth City Council as has occurred at various demonstrations in the City of Perth recently. Perhaps some quick research into the reasons for the actions of the group will help you gather some facts next time.

  3. So it's ok with you if Perth City Council:
    Arrest or fine people for holding sign with political messages. This is what is happening as there is a bylaw prohibiting hand held signs.
    Arrest people for holding banners: again happens and the city rangers instruct police to issue move on notices or charge people with obstruction if you try to hold onto a banner with a political message.
    Tip over tables and trample on petitions that are then seized. Really you think it is ok for a city council to confiscate petitions? Again this has already occurred (we can send you the photo).
    PCC has decided to prevent legitimate political dissent by community groups, a number of different community groups. Just like they do in dictatorships. Arresting people for holding signs and trying to get signatures on petitions.

  4. Wow Matt, such in depth commentary. Do you aspire to be a shock jock? Whilst you bemoan activists attempts to raise the issue of free speech at the council meeting; have you given any thought to the oppression that the officers of the council are imposing? When our democratic freedoms are under attack; people have every right to protest and take their voices into the council chamber.

  5. Hi,
    The answer given by the council was unsatisfactory and did not address the question at all. They pretty much were saying "challenge it in court". But we all know that freedom of speech and assembly is supposed to exist in this society. So why that need?
    Nevertheless, although we were vocal, we kept it peaceful and complied when told to leave. We had no intention of disrupting the whole council meeting. We just wanted answers as to why their council staff were acting in such a morally reprehensible manner as of late.
    With regards to petitions, they represent the segment of society that feels strongly enough about the issue to put their name down. By confiscating those, it's like a slap in the face to everyone of them.
    When our initial approach of negotatiating failed, civil disobedience (in a non-violent manner) became our next step.
    Take time to understand things from another viewpoint.