December Update of Free Speech Union of Australia - Free Speech Union of Australia

December Update of Free Speech Union of Australia

Saturday Dec 09 2023 at 11:00 AM

December Update of Free Speech Union of Australia

The Free Speech Union of Australia opened for Membership two months ago. Since then, we have grown considerably. We greatly appreciate all your support and look forward from going to strength to strength, as we build momentum.

1. November Events and Launch Event

In November, we launched with a stellar line up of speakers, with Rowan Dean as host, and Peter Ridd, Moira Deeming, Holly Lawford-Smith and Jonathan Ayling as our speakers. We are particularly grateful to Professor Andrew Timming for organising the launch night - Andrew will be on our Advisory Council (which we plan to launch shortly). For those of you who missed it, Andrew also went on Outsiders to raise awareness about our launch in Australia.

We also ran some smaller events in both Melbourne and Sydney, which were free for members to attend. In Melbourne we had informal drinks and a catchup, which we will be expanding other cities in the coming months as part of our efforts to build up the Free Speech community in Australia. In Sydney, we also had a night of comedic entertainment with Rodney Marks, this time posing as someone from ACMA, which was greatly enjoyed by all our attendees.

2. Campaigns and Case

A significant part of our work is helping members with cases. A fair proportion of these tend to be resolved quietly, but we are kept busy fighting the quiet fight and supporting those members who need it.

Sometimes cases can be more public. One such case concerns our member Councillor Louise Elliot. Louise made an anodyne speech (which you can see for yourself - linked from here) about basic human rights - unfortunately, the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner has a different view and is taking her to a Tribunal for alleged 'vilification' on the basis of gender identity - a strange take on a speech which opened by pointing out that "the vast majority of trans and gender-diverse people are very decent people" and supported a range of positions taken by a substantial number of members of the trans community. The FSU have been in contact with Louise, and we are currently doing everything we can to assist her in her fight against censorship.

You can also donate directly to Louise's fight, which we hope many members would be willing to do, and if not, spread the word to others who might be interested.

3. What are we planning next?

In the coming months, we'll run events across all of Australia. One of our members asked us to not be the 'Free Speech Union of Sydney and Melbourne' - we believe that Free Speech matters whether you live in the outback, are in rural Australia, or live in one of our most populous cities. As we grow, we will be increasingly able to reach out across Australia. We are also looking at arranging speaker tours, but these have a longer lead time. The events will be a mix of members-only ones, as well as those open to the general public.

On top of that, we expect to be busy with campaigns. It is only a matter of time before the latest incarnation of the Misinformation Bill rears its head. There are also anti-hate speech bills under way in different states, which will no doubt be keeping us on our toes. For those of you on this list, we will likely be asking you take action, such as writing to your representatives and promoting our campaigns on social media.

In the meantime, we would be most grateful if you could help us grow the Union, perhaps by signing up if you haven't done so already, or persuading friends and family members to join our cause.