IPA unsure about free speech (repost from 2014)

In the light of the Morrison government’s attempts to extend secondary boycott laws to cover boycotts by consumers, investors and advertisers, I thought I would repost this piece from 2014. I’m inclined to agree with Chris Berg (link broken unfortunately) that all restrictions on secondary boycotts should be scrapped. In particular, that applies to bans imposed on unions under Sections 45D and 45E of the Trade Practices Act.



John Quiggin

The reaction of the Institute of Public Affairs to the Abbott governments backdown on the race-hate proviions Section 18C has been, by its own admission, intemperate (“white hot anger” is the description they used; I think I also saw “ice-cold rage”.

By contrast, the IPA has been much more ambivalent on freedom of speech. I noted a while ago, this piece suggesting that environmentalists who questioned the viability of the coal industry could be prosecuted either under securities legislation or as an illegal secondary boycott. This view isn’t unanimous however. Following some Twitter discussion (must get Storify working properly for things like this) Chris Berg pointed to a piece he’d written arguing against such a use of secondary boycott legislation (and against such legislation in general).

I was, naturally interested in how Freedom Commissioner and former IPA fellow Tim Wilson would respond to proposals to suppress free…

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2 thoughts on “IPA unsure about free speech (repost from 2014)

  1. I understand you have all this in memory JQ, [wow] so following your links to refresh myself, I ended in a rabbit hole, leading serendipitously to Tom Beer today – “When Tucker left CSIRO, he took up a position at the Institute of Public Affairs, where he wrote articles sceptical of the risks of human caused climate change.”[3]

    And this ( new to me) – the [4] Mudginberris decision, raised in comments in chris berg article you reference. Shows the usual dinosaurs in NatLibs at this since < 1983. 36+ years and counting.

    1st dead ipa link – "this piece suggesting…". Here is the article in afr. Appropriate place as it entirely focuses in investing while ignoring anything other than return on capital and a 'balanced' portfolio. I wonder if sinclair d. gets irony – and hypocrisy; 
    "Investors, and policy-makers, should rely on energy projections from a variety of independent-minded forecasters, not those written by activists with an ideological axe to grind."
    https://www.afr.com/companies/mining/anti-coal-activism-has-unsound-basis-20140623-je1rw

    2nd dead ipa link ref re Chris Berg;
    "Once we have accepted that the regulatory state ought to control and supervise everything we do in the market, it's no great leap for that state to control our political expression. "
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-24/berg-freedom-of-speech-means-freedom-to-boycott/4977410

    And today we get thisclimate change, bushfire & IPA reminder;
    [3] "This interest in the issue, he says, was in contrast with the relative scepticism on climate of his boss, Brian Tucker, who was chief of CSIRO’s atmospheric research division.

    “Tucker thought there was no future in this climate change business,” says Beer, adding that Tucker was more interested in the prospects of an impending ice age. When Tucker left CSIRO, he took up a position at the Institute of Public Affairs, where he wrote articles sceptical of the risks of human caused climate change."

    'What could I have done?' The scientist who predicted the bushfire emergency four decades ago

    "Dr Tom Beer’s pioneering 1980s research into bushfires and climate change has, to his dismay, proved all too accurate."
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/nov/17/what-could-i-have-done-the-scientist-who-predicted-the-bushfire-emergency-four-decades-ago

    [4] The Mudginberri decision; (an impeachment is needed) as "In 1986 it was revealed in Business Review Weekly that the Country Liberal Party Government of the Northern Territory facilitated loans to Pendarvis with the proviso that he sue the union for damages."

    "The successful prosecution of the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU) under section 45D of the Trade Practices Act (Secondary boycott provisions) was seen by the National Farmers Federation and the developing New Right in and outside the Liberal Party of Australia as a breakthrough in a campaign to break the power of the unions and introduce contract employment.[1][2]

    Ian McLachlan, who was president of the National Farmers Federation (NFF) during the dispute and later a minister in the Howard Government, wrote that Mudginberri "turned the tide" against union power and "changed the nature of industrial relations in Australia". John Howard, then leader of the Opposition, urged the creation of many more Mudginberris. Barrister for Pendarvis and the NFF was Peter Costello, who was to later co-found the H. R. Nicholls Society, act for Dollar Sweets in the Dollar Sweets dispute and go on to become the federal treasurer in the Howard Government and a prominent architect of the Howard Government Industrial Relations reforms.[19]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudginberri_dispute

    Chris Berg may get free speech yet Sharon Beder outs 'growth will save us' Chris Berg; "Growth will fortify us against a climate that always changes. For if you can't cure the disease, manage the symptoms."

    http://herinst.org/BusinessManagedDemocracy/environment/warming/IPA.html 

    Here is part of "… Mark Dreyfus (Shadow Attorney General) gave a great speech." regarding flavouts of 'free speech at  Free Speech 2014 symposium, put together by freedom commissioner Tim Wilson.

    "These same loud devotees of ‘free speech’ are very quiet indeed when the freedom of community groups and activists to participate in important debates is threatened, or the freedom of community legal services to advocate for law reform is removed. They are nowhere to be found when overzealous or clumsy lawmaking threatens the ability of real journalists to do their vital work.

    They have a very narrow understanding of what free speech means."
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2014/aug/07/free-speech-2014-george-brandis-tim-wilson-to-speak-at-conference-live-updates

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