House debates

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Parliament: Freedom of Speech

8:58 pm

Photo of Bob BaldwinBob Baldwin (Paterson, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Defence Science and Personnel) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise tonight to talk about a serious concern, and that concern is one of censorship and the denial of freedom of speech and expression in this House. Through regulation instituted by the Rudd Labor government, it means that I can no longer inform my constituents—and indeed others—about the proceedings of this House, where those proceedings in Hansard are critical of this Rudd Labor government. The one thing that our forefathers did in developing the Constitution, and the one thing the troops of this nation did when they went to war and gave their lives, was to make sure that we had freedom of expression and democracy in this country.

This government—the Rudd Labor government—has sought to deny members of parliament, through regulation, the ability to inform the constituents of their concerns and to act as an opposition, putting forward suggestions of where this government has failed the people. To do that is in breach of the entitlements of the members of parliament in this House. And yet what is of great concern is there is nothing to stop members of the government benches putting forward their information, praising the efforts of this Rudd Labor government, but if we the opposition seek to explain why they have failed the people of Australia we are in breach. That is censorship; that is a restriction of the rights of members of parliament in this House to put forward the interests of their constituents.

Photo of Ms Anna BurkeMs Anna Burke (Chisholm, Deputy-Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! It being 9.00 pm, the debate is interrupted.