Emer­gency law proves free speech fears are jus­ti­fied

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Opinion -

There is a very easy way for the same-sex mar­riage lobby to win next month’s public vote. Just prove you aren’t bul­lies.

Prove that you aren’t as in­tol­er­ant as the gay-mar­riage thugs who last week at­tacked Chris­tian stu­dents at Syd­ney Univer­sity, pelt­ing them with food, dye and glit­ter and over­turn­ing their table and tear­ing up their posters.

Don’t sim­ply dis­miss fears le­gal­is­ing same-sex mar­riage will li­cense a wave of more bul­ly­ing by politi­cians.

Don’t just scoff at fears we’ll get laws pun­ish­ing priests who won’t per­form gay wed­dings, bak­ers who won’t bake the wed­ding cakes or peo­ple who sim­ply say they dis­ap­prove.

Such fears are not “com­plete red her­rings”, as Lib­eral front­bencher Christo­pher Pyne claimed.

For­mer prime min­is­ter John Howard was right in at­tack­ing this de­cep­tive non­sense: “Those cam­paign­ing for a Yes vote call any ref­er­ence to these is­sues ‘red her­rings’ or dis­trac­tions. On the con­trary, they are le­git­i­mate con­cerns.”

Lead­ing Yes cam­paign­ers refuse to spell out how, or even if, they plan to pro­tect free­dom of re­li­gion and speech.

Last week the gov­ern­ment, with La­bor’s help, passed “emer­gency” laws lim­it­ing free speech dur­ing the plebiscite. What more do they plan? How safe is our free speech?

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