For all my life, Australia has been a place where freedoms were safe.
In fact, Dr Herbert Vere Evatt, a Labor man of letters, youngest ever High Court justice, Opposition Leader during the Menzies era and a not so distant relative of mine, led an Australian delegation to the brand-new United Nations and pushed through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So passionate was he to have such a statement of our basic freedoms that he later became President of the United Nations General Assembly.
That declaration enshrined the basics we’ve come to know in the West as underpinning our way of life:
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom to petition the government
- Freedom of speech and expression.
and many more.
Doc Evatt, the very essence of what Labor was at its most noble, would be turning in his grave today that his own Party in South Australia has decided to dismantle what he stood for.
The Malinauskas Labor Government in South Australia had a blank canvass on which to correct the wrongs of the previous Liberal government. That government was as illiberal as any Australian administration as I have seen in my lifetime, barring the Andrews and Gunner Labor Governments of Victoria and Northern Territory respectively.
Instead, Malinauskas South Australian Labor has covered the snow-white canvass in tyrannical excrement.
I am so ashamed to be South Australian.
Its rushed Summary Offences (Obstruction of Public Places) Amendment Bill 2023 is a disgrace.
The freedoms we have come to rely on: freedom of assembly, the freedom to petition the government, and the freedom of speech and expression, are now under direct attack.
Labor be damned.
It was bad enough that we had multiple Freedom Rallies in Adelaide in opposition to a government deaf to our calls for freedom from Covid coercion. At least, we then had a change of government. But to what?
The new Government is now increasing protestor fines from $750 to $50,000 and you can be jailed for three months.
Rushed through the House of Assembly after protestors made their presence felt against Santos, this Labor Government swiftly did the bidding of big business.
Citizens must be free to protest. Citizens must be free to express themselves.
I’ll have no truck with the conservative voices I’ve heard on this. They said “You’re taking the side of the Extinction Rebellion. They’re ratbags. These are the same people who throw soup on artwork.”
If protestors damage property, the rule of law must prevail and property rights must be protected.
But you don’t achieve that by throwing out other rights we’ve come to expect from a liberal democracy.
So what if left-leaning organisations have condemned Labor for this erosion of our freedoms?. Amnesty International, the Australian Services Union, Extinction Rebellion and the South Australian Council of Social Service are correct on this issue. It’s not a partisan matter. It’s about liberal democracy itself.
Sarah Game MLC, One Nation, is appalled by this Bill. She is correct.
You know something is not right in the state of Denmark when Extinction Rebellion and One Nation band together.
Where are the South Australian libertarians on this matter? Where are the Nationals? Where the United Australia Party? Where Family First? Where Shooters, Fishers and Farmers?
And where are those lukewarm Liberals? Michelle Lensink MLC: you’re being outflanked by One Nation on a matter of civil liberties. You were a philosophical liberal when we were both on the Federal Executive of the Young Liberal Movement. What happened to you?
If you’re reading this, speak up! If you’re a Liberal Party member, get on the phone to your MLCs now. If you’re a Labor Party member, turn up to your MLC’s office now.
The freedoms to assemble, protest, speak and petition the government are not negotiable.
Doc Evatt, exemplar of the civil rights that Labor used to cherish, would be pulling his hair out today because of his own party.
And of all places in our Commonwealth, South Australia was the freest historically.
Thank you for your support. To help us in our battle to protect liberty and freedom please click here
An entrepreneur who has employed 1,470+ people, Kenelm was admitted to the BRW Fast 100 three times with businesses in Australia, NZ, Singapore and New York, where he lived for 12 years. Kenelm’s investment firm performs mid-market leveraged roll-ups. He was a regular columnist for the Australian Financial Review. Kenelm is the Founder of Liberty Itch.