By Stephanie Bastiaan
Free speech and debate are important cornerstones of democracy.
History demonstrates that they are the first to go when bad, experimental agendas are supported, and common sense turns to madness.
This past week, newly minted Victorian MP Moira Deeming used her maiden speech to highlight the need for critical legislative reforms, including restoring sex-based rights for women and girls, amending the Sex Work Discrimination Act 2022 to ensure minors and babies are not permitted in brothels, and an inquiry into the ethics of medical gender affirmation practices on minors.
All perfectly reasonable to anyone with a straight moral compass, it has sent the extreme left in the media and political class into meltdown.
An onslaught of tabloid-style articles followed using slurs such as ‘extreme’ and ‘far-right’ questioning how Deeming ended up in parliament in the first place. Hint: democracy.
Conservatives are no more ‘far-right extremists’ than progressives are Stalin-style communists.
The media attacking and inciting hatred towards Deeming for her faith is Christophobic and no different to antisemitism or Islamophobia.
The real threat to our society and culture comes from the authoritarian left.
In an act demonstrating utter contempt for democracy, Leader of the Greens Samantha Ratnam took to Twitter to describe Deeming’s speech as ‘utterly vile’ and something ‘The Greens won’t stand for’. It’s not the first time Ratnam has pulled out a name from her slur book to detract a political opponent, and it won’t be the last. However, it is clear that when policies are indefensible, they are off the table for debate.
The authoritarian left and their allies in the media have succeeded in running aggressive campaigns across a range of issues with very little, if any, debate by beating their opponents into silence. If you do not support the status quo, your employment or business will be targeted, your family threatened, and you will become untouchable by society. Deeming is an example of this cancel culture, having to sacrifice her teaching career to speak out against the radical politicisation of the school curriculum. Activists now aim to see her kicked out of the Liberal Party and, in the long run, parliament.
You mightn’t have thought so reading the clickbait headlines in the Herald Sun, but Deeming has been a prominent campaigner across many issues for several years. Her views were widely and publicly known before she was elected in a democratic Liberal Party preselection followed by an election from the public at the ballot box.
While not everyone will agree with everything she stands for, there are significant issues facing ordinary Australians today, particularly women and children, and a shortage of advocates strong enough to withstand the lynch mob for speaking out, which makes her an appealing elected representative.
The authoritarian left fails to see that the public is seeing through the propaganda of ‘tolerance and inclusiveness’. It wants nothing less than the unconditional acceptance and endorsement of all their bad ideas. Anything that stands in the way, such as free speech, freedom of faith, thought, and debate, must go.
Males, let alone male rapists, do not belong in female prisons, and children should not be permitted anywhere near the sex industry, commercial or residential. Given the increasing cases of transition regrets, especially amongst females, there should be an inquiry into the ethics of the ‘affirmation only’ approach to transitioning minors with gender dysphoria, especially when it includes irreversible medical procedures and drugs.
These positions are not outrageous, bigoted or phobic. They are common sense.
History will condemn those who fail to act, particularly those in positions of power or with a platform.
Ex-MP Fiona Patten accused Deeming of ‘not telling the truth’ when Deeming revealed that babies 18 months and under are permitted in commercial brothels. Minors of any age are allowed in residential brothels.
“Unless Deeming has a crystal ball and can see what WorkSafe and other regulatory bodies are planning to implement, she’s guessing. Brothels will remain adult-only spaces.” Ms Patten said.
Like all bad ideas written into policy, Patten knows that should the public scrutinise her legislation, they would find it morally repugnant.
Despite what the media would have the public believe, there is strong support for Deeming in the public domain. For every nasty tweet and tabloid-style article, there’s an outpouring of support from feminists, men and women from all walks of life and political persuasions. The loud cheers and standing ovation after her speech showed how strongly her message resonated across the chambers of parliament.
As Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price commented after Daniel Andrews offered his criticism of a speech he had never heard, “mark my words, this will be the first of many attempts of character assassination. That’s all this misogynist has when faced with a strong woman who undermines his leadership with reality.”
Left-wing authoritarians do not care if you are a left-wing feminist, conservative or libertarian; if you question the status quo, you are a threat. They will throw whatever label they can, hoping one will stick and cause damage.
By and large, men escape the scrutiny that women like Deeming and Senator Price face. Strong male leadership is absent in parliament on many of these issues, with a small number of exceptions. It is women who are leading the charge, unafraid to put a spotlight on the ugly truth our legislators are desperate to hide as they implement their radical policy agendas. I hope these women inspire courage in other like-minded MPs hiding nervously in the shadows, to rise up and do the job they have been elected to do in accordance with their convictions, rather than pacifying the noisy few and appeasing the media (all in an effort to retain a pay check at our expense).
Like a growing number of women in state and federal parliament, Deeming has answered the call to stand up against the gross injustice and erosion of rights inflicted by the authoritarian left despite the consequences. For the sake of our children's future and to safeguard the hard-earned rights of women and girls, so must we all.
Stephanie Bastiaan is a Research Fellow with Women's Forum Australia.
Women’s Forum Australia is an independent think tank that undertakes research, education and public policy advocacy on issues affecting women and girls, with a particular focus on addressing behaviours and practices that are harmful and abusive to them. We are a non-partisan, non-religious, tax-deductible charity. We do not receive any government funding and rely solely on donations to make an impact. Support our work today.
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