For years we’ve been subject to people with megaphones complaining that they’re not being given a voice. And when I say megaphones, I mean that both literally and symbolically.
Symbolically, the best example was Andrew Bolt’s piece on the front page of a major newspaper complaining that he was being silenced. Yes, he wasn’t allowed to express his views at all because the court had said he had breached the Racial Discrimination Act because the articles were not written in good faith and contained inaccurate statements. Tony Abbott jumped to his defence, arguing that free speech “the right of people to say what you don’t like, not just the right of people to say what you do like”… I guess Abbott would defend a person’s right to make inaccurate statements.
It would be interesting to ask these two whether they were supportive of Christian Porter’s attempt to sue the ABC or Peter Dutton’s dummy spit about what someone on social media said about him…
But the whole freedom thing got very interesting in Melbourne this week when a group of Nutters, Nazis and some who were a combination of both joined with some CFMEU members to protest mandatory vaccines, lockdowns, earthquakes and a range of things that make me feel like I’m making a speech at the Oscars and I should apologise in advance because I’m sure to miss someone.
There was some debate early in the week about how many of the protesters were actual CFMEU workers with some suggesting that there were tell tales signs that the protest was being infiltrated by regular anti lockdown protesters. These tell-tale signs included pristine hi-viz vests, posts on social media telling people to wear a hi-viz vest to the protest and photos of various known anti-lockdowners such as “Bunnings Karen”. (This is not her real name, but she was an internet sensation for a couple of weeks last year when she filmed Bunnings’ employers refusing her entry even though she was a sovereign citizen and they had no right to tell her that she couldn’t go anywhere. I was trying to find her address so that I could take a group of homeless people to her house and tell her that she had no right to deny them entry because they were sovereign citizens and the idea that this was her house was only something that the illegal government was trying to push….She later posted a video of herself putting a curse on Dan Andrews and saying that if wasn’t premier by the end of the day, we’d all know what happened. Seems like Dan had stronger magic because he’s still there a year later… although there was that earthquake…)
Whatever the actual number of construction workers on the Monday, by the next day, the crowd seemed to be filled with less likely looking bodies and their rendition of “Horses” on the Westgate Bridge wasn’t the sort of revolution song beloved by union movement. By Wednesday, they had the distinct look of sheep who’d managed to give the sheepdog the slip. If you’ve ever tried to herd sheep, you’ll know how apt that comparison is. Like sheep, the protesters changed direction, split up, rejoined the main group, turned left, turned right and didn’t seem to have a clear plan of where to go but the main thing was that they’d given the police (sheepdogs) the slip and they were free to run this way and that before making their way to the Shrine where they celebrated their freedom in a variety of ways which included drinking Jim Beam, doing Nazi salutes, urinating and chanting “Lest We Forget”. While the phrase is so sacred that Yassmin was abused for merely using it in a tweet, these Nutzis were saying it in a way that didn’t seem as though they were giving it the respect demanded by ANZAC or Remembrance Day, but more suggested that they were in the habit of forgetting owing to the amount of drugs and alcohol in their system.
They were disbursed, but they promised to come back every day. Clearly, they did forget. because on Thursday, the protesters turned up in such small numbers, the police were able to either send them home or arrest them. Perhaps this was to lull the police into a false sense of security because Friday saw tactics nearly as brilliant as the Rudy Gulliani press conference at Four Seasons Landscaping.
The protesters meeting place was Coles at Northcote Plaza. This was a masterstroke because there was no way that the police would be able to work out which of the two Coles stores they were to turn up at. And, it seems, neither were the protesters, with one of them live streaming a desperate plea for people to join him even though he felt that the leadership had abandoned them.
I could go into how some people were posting on social media that the earthquake was simply the government dynamiting the underground prisons where the children are being held, but I’d be accused of inhibiting their free speech by repeating what they’d said and suggesting that it makes them sound crazy.
But I guess that’s the problem: For years we’ve had the mainstream media push the idea that any time someone criticises or ridicules certain public figures, then it’s political correctness gone mad or restricting their right to free speech.
No wonder we now have people who think that freedom means that they can block traffic, harass others and ignore laws just because they don’t like them. I’m not saying that there isn’t a time for civil disobedience, or that we should never fight to change the law. But there’s a difference between that and arguing that freedom is your right to do whatever you like with no regard for consequences or anybody else.
P.S, Speaking of freedom, Clive Palmer has put out this statement: “Our position is clear and simple – Every Australian should have the right to choose what they put into their body.” Does this mean he’s supporting the legalisation of drugs?
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