Category: Personal Liberty

Brutality exposes dark heart of Australian police culture

The shocking footage of a Victorian pensioner being beaten outside his home by police has highlighted a festering blight that taints governance in this country, revealing some very dark truths about how we citizens can expected to be treated by those who wield the gun and the baton over us. Concerned for his welfare as he came off his pain medication, the carers of the pensioner, only identified as John, called the authorities and half a dozen police officers were dispatched. Despite the fact that John asked the officers to leave, saying he wanted to be left alone, the police told him that they would break down his door if he didn’t let them in. Once he unlocked the door, the police pepper sprayed him, dragged him out of his home and to the ground, beat his leg with a baton, and then six of them pinned him to the Read the rest

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No, we don’t need a law for that

Inevitably, when advocating for freedom of any kind, one is accused of being a champion of certain lifestyle choices or political attitudes. If you fight to protect freedom of speech for example, it is assumed that this means you’re a bigot or racist, because you believe that it’s more beneficial for society that bigots and racists are free to speak their minds without sanction by the state.

I suppose it’s easy to make such an assumption. On the face of it, it may seem that freedom of speech allows for the freedom of expression of all sorts of abominable opinions. After-all when people advocate for a cause, it means they are after a particular outcome and it often means minimising or suppressing opposing points of view.

But with freedom it’s different. Being for freedom means that you desire for individuals the freedom to think things or do things that you Read the rest

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Cannabis: just legalise it already

Nearly half of all Australian electors are in favour of legalising cannabis, as a recent survey by Australian National University shows. 43% of respondents are in favour of legalisation and only 32% believe cannabis should remain criminalised. This means pot is more popular than either Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten. Similar levels of public support triggered a national plebiscite on same-sex marriage. With more and more jurisdictions seeing the green light on cannabis, why are Australian politicians lagging behind on legalisation?

Cannabis is the fourth most popular recreational drug in the world after alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. Its use has been documented in humanity’s earliest writings. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime recently found that five percent of the world’s population have used cannabis in the previous year. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that locally, more than ten percent of Australians have used cannabis Read the rest

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Empower kids not to fear bullies

WHAT makes a bully?

And, more importantly, what can be done about them?

We know bullying is a huge problem. Even the Prime Minister has admitted to having been a target as a boy, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers research suggests the problem costs society $2.4 billion per annual school cohort.

The first step in addressing bullying is to realise that we as a society have been unwittingly promoting the view that people are fragile, are in need of constant reassurance, and must be protected against criticisms and so-called microaggressions.

Consider a report on the BBC website which states “A head teacher of a leading primary school has said young children should not have best friends because it could leave others feeling ostracised and hurt.”

Seriously? Children are being taught that their feelings are easily hurt and that they are easily offended and powerless to not be offended. Such thinking becomes a

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Freedom to discriminate

Now that the country has been surveyed on the question of same-sex marriage, it’s time to turn our attention to the details of the same-sex marriage bill that is before parliament. Religious freedom to dissociate from same-sex weddings will be at the forefront of the minds of many Christians and Muslims who do not support same-sex marriage. Before and during the postal survey, assurances were given, by the Prime Minister no less, that ‘religious freedom…will be protected in any bill that comes before this parliament.’

The Constitution of Australia makes provision for limited religious freedoms protections in s116 which states that ‘The Commonwealth shall not make any law… prohibiting the free exercise of any religion.’ However, this has been narrowly interpreted in the past to apply only to laws, the express purpose of which is to prohibit the free exercise of religion, not as an unforeseen consequence of anti-discrimination laws. … Read the rest

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Everyman’s home is not his castle

We all know that with any land we ‘own’, there are rules and regulations over exactly what we can do with it. Some of these rules make sense such as a ban on burning off during the summer months; while others seem less useful and border on the pedantic. For instance, in my own suburb, we cannot fence in our front yards with walls any higher than 1.2m. The purpose, one assumes, is to ensure our streets maintain a certain look, to the benefit of all the residents.

If you think the rules and regulations governing how people make use of their own property is restricted to the cities and surrounding suburbs, think again. A WA man living on his own patch of paradise in the outback, has accumulated almost $5000 in court costs and fines for ‘camping’ on his own property in the middle of nowhere.

Roland Gopel, an Read the rest

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Campaigning for cancer

If you were told that the Cancer Council along with the Australian Medical Association were campaigning for more cancer, you would want to know what the hell is going on. And yet judging by their stance on e-cigarettes, it would seem that is precisely what they are doing.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into the Use and Marketing of Electronic Cigarettes and Personal Vaporisers in Australia currently being held by the Standing Committee on Health Aged Care and Sport heard testimony last week from Dr John Bartone from the AMA. His stance and that of the AMA is that because we don’t know for sure that inhaling nicotine with vaporisers is 100% safe in the long run, then we should keep prohibition in place until exhaustive long-term studies have been done.

This might sound reasonable on the surface. After all how could the AMA endorse the use of a product that could Read the rest

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Same-sex marriage lobby has a poor track record when it comes to personal freedom

A churchgoing driver getting harassed on his way to a meeting, a young woman losing her job over her stance on the survey, a football club being pilloried by the media for refusing to endorse same-sex marriage and legislation that remains uncertain. Although there are some, including Attorney-General George Brandis, who say that the introduction of same-sex marriage would not weaken personal freedom, there is great doubt in light of recent events.

I’m not a legal scholar so I’m not going to presuppose whether religious freedoms could be weakened or protected by a bill to introduce same-sex marriage or look at overseas precedent. Nor am I a polemicist so I won’t make the case for or against same-sex marriage. I am however a keen observer of politics and instead will look at the political climate around same-sex marriage which has, thus far, been anything but liberal, leading me to be … Read the rest

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Progressive or Liberal? Pick one, because you can’t be both.

Recently Liberal Democrats (UK) leader Tim Farron was forced to resign as leader of that party because of his Christian faith. Over the past few months, the contradiction between his Christian faith and his party’s platform on same-sex marriage was highlighted in the media, and his position became untenable. In spite of his support for same-sex civil marriage, the fact that he privately did not support same-sex marriage for religious reasons made him a pariah in his party. In other words, for progressives, tolerance is not enough, only screaming acceptance will do.

 

Farron wrote, “To be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me. I’m a liberal to my fingertips, and that liberalism means that I am passionate about defending the rights and liberties of Read the rest

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