Leading article Australia

The intolerant Left

8 September 2016

1:00 PM

8 September 2016

1:00 PM

Three recent events have exposed the hypocrisy of the Left. While trumpeting civility and tolerance, and parading its hatred of hate speech, the Left will do anything to avoid debating contentious topics, or even hearing an opposing view. The lone tool in its rhetorical tool-box is the kind of virtue-signaling, Godwin’s Law-fulfilling, debate-chilling retort that Bill Shorten used so nonchalantly against Cory Bernardi on Safe Schools back in February: ‘No, mate. At least I’m not a homophobe either, mate.’ At least they’re still ‘mates’.

We’re not sure that applies to Ian Powell, however. The Anglican minister approached Shorten after the recent church service to open the parliamentary year: ‘you described people who weren’t in favour of changing the definition of marriage as haters who come out from under rocks. Can I ask you not speak like that? Please don’t speak like that about other Australians so we can have a civil and tolerant discussion.’

One imagines that in the Shorten household, ‘faggot’ is only to be used for a bound bundle of sticks. All the Reverend was asking for was an extension of that same linguistic precision, as public discussion continues around the Left’s most all-consuming obsession. But this was hardly going to be one of those polite after-church, handshaking conversations: ‘If you’re going to quote me, quote me accurately,’ said a terse Shorten. Really? Powell’s paraphrase doesn’t describe your position at all, Bill?


The game is simple. In the face of opposition, call out the ‘haters’. If those who dwell under rocks insist on engaging you, accuse them of misquoting. Teach that turbulent priest some tolerance!

No. 2 on the list of the Left’s causes célèbres is the indoctrination of all children, Years K-12, through the patented and certified Safe Schools® regime (which has gone from cause to reality in Victoria). It is no exaggeration to say that this pernicious syllabus is a front for Marxism, but it’s the truth that dare not speak its name. Even LGBT activists who whisper it face the slings and arrows of outraged Leftists; as Speccie contributor Catherine McGregor, herself transgender, has recently discovered. She came out against the program in May saying, ‘when I learnt more about the political leanings of Roz Ward, whose role in Safe Schools is pivotal, I simply could not countenance it. She is a committed Trotskyite, who believes in the overthrow of the capitalist system.’

Unfortunately for McGregor, the Left cannot countenance her outspoken opinions. Recently she was sacked from Kaleidoscope Australia, the so-called human rights foundation ‘committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of LGBTI people [which works] directly with local activists… helping them achieve the freedom and equality essential to living a life of dignity.’ Catherine McGregor is nothing if not dignified. ‘Our schools must be safe for all our kids,’ she wrote. ‘Decent teachers and parents, not Trotskyites, can ensure that.’ But her conflating Trotskyite Diversity and Tolerance with actual diversity and tolerance has led to her also deciding to withdraw from various speaking engagements, including the (highly prestigious, we are assured) Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration.

Allow us to hereby nominate a replacement speaker: Bill Leak, now only being pursued by one Soviet-style speech enforcement agency over his insightful but uncomfortable cartoon in the Australian last month. After reviewing all the complaints, the Press Council benevolently decided neither to stop the Oz’s presses nor to command Leak give an insincere apology. Rather, ‘it considers that the best outcome in the public interest’ is to make the paper publish a couple of op-eds by Aboriginals. As they (and we) frequently already do.

For Leak, there’s still an inquisition by the HRC to endure, prompted by Dr Soutphommasane touting for business, but regardless of the outcome, we join Bill in promoting the rights of us all to free speech, choice in what our kids learn at school, the contest of ideas, and to even be offended by cartoons.

Dastyari had to go

Just as we were going to press, the communist-China-enthusiast, atheist-yet-Muslim, ‘faceless’-yet-spotlight-seeking-obsessed, backstabbing-yet-ever-so-loyal-to-whoever-the-latest-leader-may-be, morally-posturing-about-multinationals-and-banks-yet-surprisingly-unprincipled-when-it-came-to-his-own-expenses, deeply-committed-to-understanding-the-role-of-our-allies-in-responding-to-tensions-with-China-and-enthusiast-for-letting-the-Chinese-do-whatever-they-want-on-the-high-seas, Senator Sam Dastyari did the right thing and resigned. Full marks to Cory Bernardi for leading the attack. What a shame it took the rest of the Libs so long to catch up.

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