With regard to free speech, the only way Tony Abbott is consistent is in his inconsistency. Prior to the 2013 election, he originally pledged to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act after it was used against one of his supporters, right wing News Corp commentator Andrew Bolt, but he bungled it by attempting to go too far. He then abandoned the attempt. However, in the dying days of his ludicrously incompetent Prime Ministership, he started lobbying backbench senators to cease attempting to have it repealed. In an attempt to retake the leadership from Turnbull, he again insisted that it should be repealed1.
Journalist Latika Bourke is of the opinion that there is a pattern to this inconsistency: When Abbott is trying to ingratiate himself with the right of the Liberal Party he is all for ‘free speech’ on an issue which is not negotiable for the right. She suggests that this is the indicator as to whether he believes they will give him another crack at the leadership1.
Now Abbott has called for banning of American rapper Macklemore from performing his pro-gay song ‘Same Love’ at the National Rugby League (NRL) grand final. A Change.org petition, instigated by former NRL player, Tony Wall, demanded that the song be banned. The Coalition for Marriage, an agglomeration of religious groups, through their spokesman David Goodwin, said the grand final was “not a PC lecture theatre”2. This is all very rich when these ‘no’ campaigners whine that it is their freedom of speech somehow at risk if same-sex marriage (SSM) is legalised3,4. One of Abbott’s colleagues, Attorney-General George Brandis hammered Abbott, stating that he thought calling for a ban on the song was “a bizarre thing to say”, and added “I thought Mr Abbott believed in freedom of speech5. Precisely.
You can bet your bottom dollar that, if the positions were reversed, and an anti-SSM song was to be sung, Abbott and his cohort of bigots would be crowing about it being all in the name of free speech. Free speech is something they will only agree to, if it is their side of the story being presented. There was never any mention of the two anti-SSM advertisements that were run during the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final. Wouldn’t that be politicising football, too? The funny thing was that neither of these advertisements mentioned SSM except in passing, and threw up the usual red herrings6,7 how it was all going to be horrible for children in schools being taught to have respect for LGBTI people. What? Parents not being able to continue inculcating their children with religious bigotry? It will be the beginning of the end!
To call Abbott disingenuous is an insult to the disingenuous.