Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘George Pell’

IPA and Murdoch are freedom’s discerning friends: Abbott

In Federal Election, Ideology, IPA, Liberal Party on April 7, 2013 at 9:37 PM
IPA 70th Anniversary dinner attended by Murdoch, Rinehart, Pell, Abbott, Bolt,

IPA 70th Anniversary dinner attended by Murdoch, Rinehart, Pell, Abbott, Bolt,

By Tony Abbott
April 4. 2013
Source: tonyabbott.com.au

Andrew, thank you so much for that truly lovely introduction. All I can say is: I prefer your judgments to your reminiscences!

Mr Premier, Mr Lord Mayor, Your Eminence, parliamentary colleagues, I don’t want to single anyone out because there are so many of them here but I should particularly mention the Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis who did such magnificent work in opposing the current government’s attacks on free speech, family members of the founder of the IPA, CD Kemp, Gina Rinehart, who has given what I’m sure is the best speech that any one will give tonight, ladies and gentlemen.
At one level, tonight we celebrate the 70th birthday of the Institute of Public Affairs; but at a deeper level we celebrate things that are timeless – the freedom that our civilisation has nurtured and the faith that has nurtured our civilisation. In celebrating the IPA, we celebrate its calling which is to support and sustain the public culture which has shaped our country and influenced so well the wider world.

In the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve could do almost as they pleased but freedom turned out to have its limits and its abuses, as this foundational story makes only too clear. Yet without freedom we can hardly be human; hardly be worthy of creation in the image of God. From the Garden of Eden, to the Exodus, Athenian democracy, the Roman Senate, Magna Carta, the glorious revolution and American independence, the story of our civilisation has been the story of freedom and our struggles to achieve it.

Freedom, ladies and gentlemen, is what we yearn for but it can only exist within a framework of law so that every person’s freedom is consistent with the same freedom for everyone else. This is what the poet Tennyson meant when he described England as “a land of just and old renown, a land of settled government where freedom broadens slowly down from precedent to precedent”. At least in the English speaking tradition, liberalism and conservatism, love of freedom and respect for due process, have been easy allies.

The IPA, I want to say, has been freedom’s discerning friend. It has supported capitalism, but capitalism with a conscience. Not for the IPA, a single-minded dogmatism or opposition to all restraint; rather a sophisticated appreciation that freedom requires a social context and that much is expected from those to whom so much has been given. You’ve understood that freedom is both an end and a means; a good in itself, as well as necessary for full human flourishing.

I particularly congratulate the IPA and its marvelous director, John Roskam, for your work in defence of Western civilisation. Contemporary Australia has well and truly – and rightly – left behind the old cult of forgetfulness about our indigenous heritage. Alas, there is a new version of the great Australian silence – this time about the Western canon, the literature, the poetry, the music, the history and above all the faith without which our culture and our civilisation are unimaginable.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the foundation of our justice. “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” is the foundation of our mercy. Faith has weakened but not, I’m pleased to say, this high mindedness which faith helped to spawn and which the IPA now helps to protect and to promote.

I want to say of the IPA that, unlike some other bodies dedicated to the promotion of an ideal, the IPA has never been too proud or too pure to campaign for its beliefs or to take sides in a good cause. Your campaign against the bill of rights caused a bad government to capitulate. You campaigned against the bill of rights because you understood that a democratic parliament, an incorruptible judiciary and a free press, rather than mere law itself, were the best guarantors of human rights. Read the rest of this entry »

Fight for freedom like IPA: Brandis to Human Rights Commission

In Brandis Remember This Freedom, Freedom of Speech on February 22, 2013 at 2:39 PM

agf11lx

By Greg Barns
February 22. 2013

Expect to see political interference in the work of the Human Rights Commission – the national guardian of our human rights – under an Abbott Government.

Likely Attorney-General Senator George Brandis this week hinted at what might be in store in an interview with The Australian. He said the HRC was not doing its job  ‘unless it spends as much time promoting freedom and libertarian rights generally as it does promoting equality or egalitarian rights’ (Brandis eyes speech, press rights – Oz paywall).

Naturally he cuddled up to mainstream media organisations, declaring that  at ‘a time when, in Australia in the past 18 months, we have been having a very vigorous public discussion of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, the HRC has done virtually nothing to promote the rights recognised in article 19 of the ICCPR, that is, freedom of speech and expression, while it spends an enormous amount of time advocating other rights, in particular in the anti-discrimination area,” Brandis was quoted as saying in The Australian on February 20.

These remarks, and the idea that the HRC should be lectured by the Shadow Attorney-General or any other politician, are troubling.

Senator Brandis appears to be suggesting that the HRC, the only protector of human rights in a country which stands isolated among hundreds of democracies in not having a national human rights law, should be looking after those more than capable of looking after themselves at the expense of the marginalised such as asylum seekers and Indigenous Australians.

Brandis’ comments, in short hand,  are that the ‘human rights’ of media players are more important than those of children suffering psychological and physical harm in immigration detention centres.

To give weight to that observation consider that when the HRC Chair Gillian Triggs appeared before a Senate Estimates Committee last week Brandis used it as a platform for long winded criticisms of the HRC doing too much on discrimination and not enough on ‘freedom.’  A ‘freedom commissioner’ would be a good idea Senator Brandis thought.

And he upbraided Professor Triggs for not doing more to promote freedom of speech.  “I do not see the commission being a dedicated and committed advocate of freedom principles. You have think tanks, like in the Institute of Public Affairs, which has something called a freedom project. I do not see a freedom project in the Human Rights Commission,” Brandis said.

It would appear that the HRC, with Senator Brandis as Attorney-General, would shift scarce resources away from exposing the outrage of children in detention centres into producing PR material on freedom of speech. Read the rest of this entry »