Standing up to the politically-correct bully boys
FREEDOM of speech has never been more threatened in Australia. A raft of ostensibly well-meaning anti-discrimination legislation is casting a pall of censorship and political correctness over the nation.
Everywhere you look some person or group is metaphorically taping someone else’s mouth shut.
Not so long ago a member of the Greens attempted to muzzle the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, for daring to instruct NSW Catholic MPs that therapeutic cloning and stem-cell research are morally wrong. While many of us disagree with Pell’s views, it is wrong to attempt to silence him.
The regular stoush between federal and state attorneys-general over the censorship of “terrorist” books and magazines demonstrates how censorious politics has become.
But if we ban, for example, Islamic books that praise terrorist acts, or if we prohibit people from reading Mein Kampf, how can we debate the horrors of Islamic and Christian fundamentalism or Adolf Hitler’s evil influence on world history?
It’s not only governments applying the gag. Business and industry are proving to be rather adept as well.
Fiona Patten of the Australian Sex Party couldn’t believe her ears when she was called by commercial TV’s regulator during the federal election campaign and told that a TV ad about her party’s euthanasia policy was banned.
It told her that advocating a policy of legalised “euthanasia” in a political advertisement could cause people to commit suicide.
If you’re trying to get a message out in Queensland via outdoor advertising, don’t say anything even vaguely sexual. As a result of pressure from the Australian Christian Lobby, the Queensland government has ordered an enquiry into whether there is too much sex on advertising billboards.
If our democratic system is to survive, the right to speak the unvarnished truth needs to be nurtured, even protected.
Ross Fitzgerald is the author of 36 books. His erotic novel of the year ‘Soaring’ is now available as an e-Book.
The Daily Telegraph, November 12, 2013, p 23.