Tony Abbott Speech On Free Speech

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has addressed the Institute of Public Affairs on freedom of speech.

Tony Abbott

Abbott committed a future Coalition government to repeal Section 18(c) of the Racial Discrimination Act, the section that Andrew Bolt was found guilty of breaching in a case brought by nine indigenous people.

Abbott also rejected the recommendations of the Finkelstein report.

The Liberal leader’s speech otherwise tied the question of media freedom to the actions and policies of the Gillard government. He said of the Coalition: “We stand for freedom and will be freedom’s bulwark against the encroachments of an unworthy and dishonourable government.”

  • Listen to the introductions from Rod Kemp, Chris Berg & Tom Switzer (18m)

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  • Listen to Abbott’s speech (23m)

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  • Listen to the vote of thanks (4m)

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  • Transcript of Tony Abbott’s speech to the Institute of Public Affairs.

    FREEDOM WARS

    Right now, Australians are understandably and necessarily impressed by China, a country which has liberalised its economy without liberalising its polity. Lifting several hundred million people from poverty into the middle class in a single generation certainly is one of the great economic transformations in human history.

    China’s success, though, need not mean that liberal democratic freedoms are merely an optional extra for countries that take nation building seriously. The communications revolution is affecting China no less than everywhere else, despite official misgivings. The blogosphere and tweeting could soon give even China the “question everything” mindset that has been so important to other countries’ creativity and weight in the world.

    Then there’s India which has achieved a scarcely less remarkable economic transformation while largely preserving democracy, the rule of law and comparative freedom of speech. Two decades after Francis Fukuyama jumped the gun to proclaim the end of history and the triumph of liberal democracy, it would be equally presumptuous to conclude that western civilisation’s moment has largely passed. History’s lesson is still that countries are stronger, as well as better, with democratic freedoms than without them. [Read more…]