Thursday, 18 February 2021
Statements by Members
News Media and Digital Platforms
What a difference 24 hours makes. Yesterday I stood in this parliament and advised the House that I'd become the first member of parliament to be blocked from posting to Facebook. I quote my exact words from yesterday:
… this is a very dark day for freedom of speech. I may be banned today—and it may be my colleagues next week or next month or next year or next decade who are banned …
Well, this is the next day. But yesterday when I said those words, members of the opposition, rather than standing up for the principles of free speech and espousing the concept 'I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to my death your right to say it', they sniggered, sneered and celebrated that a member of this parliament had been shut down. If you say you believe in free speech but not for those who disagree with you, you don't believe in free speech at all. Shame on you! That will eventually come to bite you on the backside. If social media companies want to operate in this country, they must do so with a commitment to free speech. Otherwise, they should not be able to operate in this country.