When I hear people talking about Milo, I instinctively think of that chocolate beverage that my housemate used to drink because she believed coffee was sinful and dangerous, so when someone asked me if I thought that Milo should be let into the country, my first reaction was to ask why on earth would anybody object to such a harmless thing. But then I realised they were talking about Milo Yiannopoulos.
I guess we’ve got a pretty simplistic view of human rights in this country. A lot of that stems from having so many. No, I don’t mean that we’re perfect or that there aren’t people having their rights impinged. I just mean that compared to a place where people can be whisked off the streets and be questioned by the security forces and tortured for days on end without the need for them to lay charges, we’ve got it pretty good…
Actually, under the anti-terror laws passed by John Howard, we can be whisked off the streets and be questioned by the security forces for days on end without the need for them to lay charges, but I’m sure that they wouldn’t torture anyone in their custody because this is Australia. Mind you, if they did, a person wouldn’t be allowed to say because it’s illegal to reveal that you’ve been taken in and questioned, so telling people that you were tortured would be a little difficult when you’re not allowed to say who was questioning you or why.
Anyway, part of the problem when discussing human rights is that they sometimes overlap. I may assert that I have the right to sing, but according to the UN, cruel and unusual punishments are a breach of human rights and some would argue that my singing falls into that category. When it comes to free speech, it’s often said that people shouldn’t be allowed to scream “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, but I would argue that even this would be all right if a fire had actually broken out.
So when governments ban someone like David Icke there’s always two ways of looking at it. David Icke, in case you’re unaware, is one of those people who started hearing voices but instead of going onto medication and getting help, he developed a following. He believes that a race of inter-dimensional lizard people have hijacked the Earth. While this may sound like the ravings of a madman to most of you, to others it’s a perfectly valid theory. Of course, the election of Donald Trump, Tony Abbott and various other leaders does make me pause before I dismiss the idea of lizard people altogether. However, I remind myself that if there really were such a race, surely it would have developed a more appealing set of world leaders.
Of course, the point isn’t whether or not I agree with the person. The point is should they have the right to come to Australia and share their message because once a government starts banning people just because they don’t like their message we have the old slippery slope problem. How long is it before Craig Kelly is arguing that we should ban Al Gore? Oh wait, I think that might have already happened. Ok, for a better example, remember Kisch.
Generally speaking, I don’t think governments should be banning people just because they don’t personally like their views. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t sometimes good reasons to stop someone from entering the country. Someone, for example, who’s likely to promote violence. Or someone who ignored the laws on a previous visit.
So, I was right behind the decision to refuse Milo Yiannopoulos a visa, and not simply because his visit could “incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community”, Not only has Milo made offensive comments about Muslims, Indigenous Australians, African Americans and the LGBTIQ community, but he used PayPal to send a Jewish journalist $14.88 a number used by neo-nazis where the “14” represents a future for white children and the “88 “means “Heil Hilter”!
He was also issued with a bill for $50,000 from Victoria police over security which he failed to pay. If a music festival in NSW had to be cancelled because of the promoters’ inability to come up with enough money to pay for police security, I don’t see why a foreign speaker should feel that they have the ability to just ignore payment and go ahead with his tour. (The issue of whether people should have to pay for a police presence is another issue altogether, I’m just arguing for consistency)
However, I didn’t realise that the people in charge of this country were likely to overrule the decision on Milo’s visa. Yes, Andrew Bolt and Pauline Hanson quickly sprung into action with Pauline suggesting that government was “acting as an arm of AntiFa.” Outrageous! Government going along with an anti-fascist group. Which side are they on?
Ok, free speech and all that. But given the Minister can ban anyone on “character grounds”, do we really need to import another offensive racist bigot when we’ve got more than enough of our own? Jobs for Australians first, I say, and I thought surely Pauline would support me, but no. Pauline called the decision “weak” and “gutless” and lobbied the Immigration Minister, David Whatshisname. who responded with a show of strength and reversed the decision. In fact, we were told that he’ll “personally approve” the visa – I’m trying to work out how one could impersonally approve something – which makes it sound like it’s practically a character reference.
Yes, nothing demonstrates the resolve of the Morrison government like their handling of Milo. Honestly, if they were a jockey they’d be up before the stewards to explain why they were running dead…
Actually, when I look at the betting odds on the election and their performance, I do have to wonder if a large number of them haven’t put their money on Labor.
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