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Speak Now or Lose Your Freedom By Bernard Gaynor
In news that should worry all Australians, the Coalition government has today told public servants that they can be sacked for their political opinions. From The Australian:
The Turnbull government will today seek to impose restrictions on public servants criticising the Coalition on social media, warning that employees risk disciplinary action for “liking” anti-government posts or privately emailing negative material to a friend from home.
Documents obtained by The Australian show public servants would also be warned they could be in breach of the public service code of conduct if they do not remove “nasty comments” about the government posted by others on the employee’s Facebook page.
You can read the new guidelines here.
I have been warning for some time now that workers have lost their political freedom. They, and their political views, are now legally owned by ‘The Company’ 24/7. This was rammed home by the Full Court of the Federal Court in Chief of Defence Force v Gaynor earlier this year:
“Measured against the respondent’s statements, it is not difficult to conclude that it was open to the appellant to reach the conclusion that the retention of the respondent in the Army was not in the interests of the Army, given the weight placed on the fundamental changes in attitudes and policy about diversity in the ADF, measured against the content, manner and tone of the respondent’s public statements…”
My statements opposed official Defence participation in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Anyone prepared to accept the truth (and the Mardi Gras’ own constitution) knows that this event is political and that it promotes all sorts of things. Like homosexual marriage. Which, apparently, is not government policy (yet).
I also pointed out that Defence’s own policy prohibited uniformed attendance at events of a political nature.
So, of course, I was sacked (ironic really considering I expressed views supporting the actual government’s position and Defence’s own written policies).
And then the Full Court found that the Chief of Defence Force was entitled to set Defence on a political course of cultural change (including aspects that were contrary to official government policy) and that it was also lawful to sack me for raising concerns about its process of politicisation.
Lots of people agree with my views. And lots of people don’t. For the purpose of this article that is irrelevant. What is relevant is the totalitarian and communist-like clamp down of freedom of political opinion. This affects all Australians. Not that you would know it. From the Catholic Church to the union movement, there has been complete silence even though all will be hit by a new system that says the government can censor, silence and target anyone it pleases on the basis of their political opinion.
I have not had help from any of the institutions that are now seeing their own freedoms eroded through these and other ‘human rights’ law, policies and guidelines, even though my High Court appeal will benefit them all (if it succeeds) or lock the shutters closed (if it does not).
The High Court will hear arguments in relation to my application for leave on 18 August. I will keep you posted.
The targets today are public servants. But this policy (and the principal behind it) has enormous scope for mission creep. Tomorrow it will be anyone who has any link with government funding. And that is everyone. And it will also spread beyond government.
Qantas, it seems to me, can legally decide to require employees to wear symbols supporting its stance in favour of ‘marriage equality’. And it can also, legally, decide to sack any of them who refuse to do so or who might question ‘marriage equality’ on Facebook. So don’t think the private sector will escape. The same principles apply there as well. The chiefs set the beliefs in today’s brave new world of freedom. And that is simply another way of saying might is right.
The Coalition might think this policy is good because it will prevent public servants from criticising its policies. But, instead, it is just dumb.
Malcolm Turnbull might be many things but there is one thing he won’t be: prime minister for much longer.
When he goes, it is likely to be Bill Shorten who replaces him. And, credit where credit is due, when it comes to political purges of the public service and socialist policy, Shorten and Labor have it all over Turnbull and the Coalition. The ‘Blue Team’ might be moving left as fast as they can, but they are mere amateurs at this game. The policy announced today will be a totalitarian disaster under Labor.
And even if the Coalition remains in power for longer than I anticipate, it is still dumb. Every government department now has bizarre politically-correct policies in place. And the public servants who are most likely to feel the pain of these measures (which openly speak of ‘dob ins’) are likely to be those who aggrieve the endlessly offended.
If you work at Centrelink and like a post supporting traditional marriage, you could well find yourself subject to investigations for a breach of code of conduct for offensive statements launched by a gay colleague. Ditto if you slave away at the Department of Immigration and share an article about the latest push for Sharia law.
This policy is straight out of the ‘Lefty’ handbook and it will be policed by Lefties and for Lefties.
Like I said at the start, we should all be concerned. But conservatives should know that they will be likely to suffer most.
Finally, if that doesn’t convince you, I hope the sheer hypocrisy will. Public servants have been told that they are likely to breach the APS Code of Conduct if they criticise their department, their minister or even the Prime Minister. So, if that is true, it seems that public servants could face disciplinary action if they share the posts of the Community & Public Sector Union (of which they may well be a member) on their own private Facebook account in their own free time.
However, the Australian Public Service Commissioner, John Lloyd, can use his official account to attack the union and its stance. Like this tweet (which is just one of many):
Time for the CPSU to demonstrate awareness of national concerns beyond their immediate industrial strategy. https://t.co/4IIMZ22ZS2
— John Lloyd (@JohnLloyd_APSC) March 23, 2016
I don’t bring this up to indicate that I support the CPSU or any other union. In fact, it promotes many things that I vehemently disagree with. But if we live in a world where union members are no longer free to express their views about government policy, we are probably living in a world that is closer to communist than free. And that’s not a world I wish to live in. Or to hand to my children.