Leading article Australia

Free speech beached

12 January 2019

9:00 AM

12 January 2019

9:00 AM

Let’s start by stating the bleeding obvious. The organisers of any ‘right-wing’ rally that allow or fail to prevent a couple of brain-dead idiots goose-stepping with their fingers under their noses in the style of John Cleese in a Fawlty Towers skit deserve whatever opprobrium comes their way. Nazi imagery of any kind is repulsive; as are dim-witted references to Hitler and the Holocaust, regardless of free speech considerations. It’s no excuse that stupid or boorish behaviour is unavoidable at such events, and equally, it is always possible that such obnoxious stunts are actually done with mischievous intent to create TV imagery that will damage the rally organisers.

Next, let’s state the suppurating obvious. Any politician that attends political rallies in today’s toxic environment does so at their own considerable risk. Whether it be Greens or Labor politicians attending anti-Semitic, pro-Palestinian demonstrations or union marches attended by thugs and crims; or whether it be conservatives standing in front of juvenile ‘Ditch the Witch’ signs, our politicians frequently stand to lose far more than they can ever possibly gain by being seen at these events. Well, conservatives at least. The mainstream media, led by the ABC, have made it clear that they apply rigid double standards – if you are conservative, you will be judged harshly and condemned by the company you keep. If you are of the Left, however, there’s always a justifiable excuse, apparently.

Which brings us to Senator Fraser Anning and his attendance, along with the aforementioned goose-steppers, at a St Kilda beach protest organised, ostensibly, to demonstrate against Melbourne’s African crime wave.

Senator Anning was either deliberately courting controversy in order to raise his notoriety – and thus his appeal to angry, disgruntled Queensland voters – in the run-up to this year’s federal election; or he genuinely believes the issues behind the protest are of relevance and importance to his electorate. You can take your pick. But by the end of May we will know whether his strategy worked or not. Interestingly, a television poll seeking to have Senator Anning ‘ousted from parliament’ backfired somewhat embarrassingly, when nearly 80 per cent of some 50,000 voters responded in support of him.

Yet from the Prime Minister to the Greens to most of the mainstream media, the condemnation of Senator Anning has been swift, unequivocal, and damning. That the Left has seized this opportunity to breathlessly warn of an outbreak of neo-Nazism in Australia is as unsurprising as it is untrue. We heard the same hysterical claims after the Cronulla riots over a decade ago. But now the ironies multiply. These days, it is the hard Left across Western democracies who most closely emulate the tactics and strategies of the 1930s-era National Socialists of Germany, with brazen attempts to intimidate political opponents through the use of ideological labels (‘racist!’, ‘sexist!’, ‘homophobe!’ etc.) followed by public shaming, threats to employment and thuggish intolerance of any and all dissenting opinion.

Indeed, also at St Kilda beach, but ignored by the leftist media, were an ugly Antifa crowd (whose ‘anti-fascist’ red, black and white flag actually does resemble iconography of the Third Reich) who proudly glorify both anarchy (a recipe for poverty, depravity and disease) and communism (the ideology responsible for more death, terror and enslavement last century than any other in human history).

Most disappointing of all was the response of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who, increasingly, never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to attack Labor. Rather than focussing on Senator Anning (labelling him a ‘repeat offender’ as if he is some kind of petty criminal), Mr Morrison should have used the controversy to address the genuine grievances many Australians hold (but frequently dare not articulate) about the failures of multiculturalism; to focus on his personal role in stopping the boats and refusing to sign the Global Compact on Migration; and to aggressively attack Labor for their policies which will inevitably see an increase in illegal and legal immigration and thus an increase in the very problems the protest march was supposed to be about.

It’s time someone close to the PM gave him a good, hard shake and reminded him he is about to face an election – and his enemy is the Labor party, and the Labor party alone. Pandering to the Left, as he did with his put-down of Senator Anning, will only give succour to those who will never vote for the Coalition, whilst alienating even more concerned mainstream Australians who have had enough of excessively high immigration levels and abhor political correctness.

Also worth noting: Senator Anning was one of the most vocal politicians who doggedly fought – alongside this magazine – to stop Australian taxes going to support Hamas’s anti-Semitic terrorism. Mr Morrison sneers at Senator Anning, whilst ignoring Labor’s Penny Wong as she embraces ‘recognising’ what would almost certainly be a Hamas-dominated terrorist ‘state’ of Palestine.

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