Monday, 25 June 2018
Freedom of Speech
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 872 standing in my name for today by substituting the words 'New South Wales government' and replacing it with 'New South Wales parliament'.
I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the New South Wales (NSW) Parliament has copied the socialist government in Victoria to ban protests by people trying to protect the rights of the unborn outside abortion clinics,
(ii) people who enter the 150 metre "exclusion zone" arbitrarily declared around abortion clinics to peacefully protest in defence of the right to life now face jail terms,
(iii) these "exclusion zones" are nothing more than an attempt to restrict freedom of speech,
(iv) no such "exclusion zones" apply to any other forms of protest and violent left-wing protesters opposed to democracy and capitalism do not face such draconian punishments, and
(v) a democratic government should not involve itself in regulating the faith and prayers of Australians, much less imprisoning people for them; and
(b) condemns the NSW Parliament for introducing a law which severely restricts freedom of speech and political expression.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
Following the example of the socialist state of Victoria, the New South Wales parliament has introduced 150-metre exclusion zones around abortion clinics, with draconian penalties, including jail terms, for those who breach them. These zones are nothing more than anti-free-speech areas. Worse still, the targeted nature of these exclusion zones is that they exclude only those who are peacefully defending the rights to life of the unborn. No such exclusion zones or jail terms are applied to violent antifa Marxist extremists. Like Victorian socialist premier Daniel Andrews, it seems that so-called Liberal premier Gladys Berejiklian considers peaceful protests defending the right to life to be more of a threat to society than violent anarchist criminals. These laws not only show utter contempt for freedom of religion and free speech but also would appear to show total contempt for the concept of liberalism.
As this motion involves a matter of conscience—in particular, the exercise of freedom of speech—in line with longstanding practice, government senators are free to vote in accordance with their own conscience. It should be noted that the Commonwealth has intervened in the High Court case of Clubb v Edwards in Victoria because it may consider and determine the extent of the implied right of political communication in Australia.
The Greens—and all the Greens—oppose this motion, because women and all people exercising their choice to have an abortion should not have to run the gauntlet of aggressive opponents in order to do so. Quite frankly, we don't need another man, like Senator Anning, chiming in to challenge women's ability to access health services safely. We know that these so-called protestors outside sexual health clinics have handed out plastic fetuses. They throw holy water at people accessing the premises, and clinic staff are worried about their safety. No reasonable person can call this repulsive behaviour 'free speech' or 'protest'. This is nothing short of coercion and abuse, which is completely and utterly unacceptable. The safe access zone in New South Wales and in Victoria was a victory for the fundamental right of people to access a medical service free from intimidation and harassment and ensure that abortion services can be accessed safely and securely. (Time expired)
This motion is an obscenity. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech. We have seen these cruel, insensitive antics by Senator Anning before. I said last time that I was ashamed, as a male, to even discuss the day's agenda with female members of my staff. Exclusion zones are there to protect women from ratbags, religious zealots, proselytisers, right-to-lifers and others who target vulnerable women going through probably the most traumatic times of their lives. I suggest that the Katter party senator google the name 'Peter James Knight'. Knight was a rabid anti-abortionist who shot and killed security guard Stephen Rogers when challenged as he tried to enter an abortion clinic in Wellington Parade, East Melbourne. His goal was to massacre every person in there. He had guns and 16 litres of petrol. Last month, an anti-abortion protester attacked the partner of a woman inside a termination clinic in Surry Hills in Sydney. Look it up, Senator, and consider withdrawing your foul motion.