Australian Government to end free speech soon

Australian Government to end free speech soon. By Adam Creighton.

Modern states have vast resources to promote their views on their own websites and in paid advertisements, and that’s even before much of the commercial media amplify the government’s views and attack its critics. Could the last few years provide any better example?

So it should be regarded as beyond the pale that government be allowed to censor those with whom it disagrees. Yet this hasn’t been the experience of supposed liberal democracies, least of all in the US, which was once the gold standard for free speech rights. …

The leftist Australian Government is preparing the legislation:

The government is set on passing the Combating Misinformation and Disinformation Bill, which can only be described as a shameful, Orwellian piece of legislation that would empower the government to censor just about anyone for anything.

It’s a step on the path towards the style of governance we see in China, where the Chinese Communist Party works hand-in-hand with social media platforms to silence views it doesn’t like and control “the narrative”.

Under pain of financial penalty, the bill would compel social media companies to remove any speech that caused “harm” to Australians’ “health”, to “the environment”, or any “economic or financial harm”. Of course, this also includes the usual prohibition of undefined “hate speech”. These definitions are ridiculously broad, giving the green light to censorship of posts critical of the government’s 2050 “net-zero” carbon emissions goals, for instance, or criticism of compulsory superannuation (which, ironically, is a cause of economic harm).

The collective shrug when it emerged in May that the Australian government had been urging Twitter and other social media platforms to take down posts it didn’t like during the pandemic — including those poking fun at Dan Andrews — foreshadows a worrying deterioration of our freedom. …

The US might be moving back towards free speech:

A landmark court ruling in the US last week highlighted the shocking extent to which the US government has been pressuring social media platforms, mainly Twitter and Facebook, to remove viewpoints it didn’t like. A 155-page ruling by a Louisiana federal court judge laid out in depressing detail how various US government departments — especially the White House — provided significant encouragement, verging on outright coercion, to social media platforms to remove or throttle posts the government didn’t like. …

Some of the speech removed from these platforms included criticism of Covid-19 vaccine mandates, the vaccines themselves, the wisdom of lockdowns, the veracity of Hunter Biden’s laptop, US election outcomes and governance, and even parody or joke accounts mocking Joe Biden. … What’s doubly shocking is that the bulk of the posts censored were either correct at the time, later turned out to be, or were clearly open to intellectual debate.

When the Rudd Government tried on something similar in about 2009, Joanne and I were considering moving to Singapore for the political freedom to be able to continue criticizing the carbon dioxide theory of global warming. Fortunately, the legislation was defeated back then.