What's wrong with the Vic Libs?
Dear Mr. Doyle,
Being a Liberal voter from way back (although I will confess to voting against Jeff Kennet once), I am curious as to your stance on the idea of Victoria as a Police State.
The feeling amongst a lot of my friends, family and associates is that we are living in one.
Victoria may be a great state, and Melbourne my favourite city, but with the Racial and Religious (in)Tolerance Act, the ongoing speed camera debacle and the continual breaking of election promises, it's getting more difficult by the day to justify why I remain here.
You would no doubt be aware that Victoria both here in Australia and abroad is now known as "Brackistan" and has a growing reputation for a legislated intolerance of free speech and free thought. The few cases brought to VCAT under this law ensure that this reputation never diminishes, and that shames us all.
A person should have enough maturity to distinguish when offence is intended or not. It should not be up to the law to decide on the nuances of human communications; particularly when the communications may not have been intended to be offensive, and the person so offended was someone who was unaware of the larger context of the communication.
The ultimate case in point is, of course, the Catch the Fires case, with two pastors found guilty of religious vilification by the judicious quoting of the Qur'an.
It is now considered a chargeable offence to take another religion out of context, and even amongst the youth of today, it understood that if you are 'white' or 'christian' and get harrassed by another child or teenager of a different ethnicity, don't bother telling anyone in authority. Nothing will happen, and the harrassment may even increase.
This is an appalling state of affairs, and one that concerns me greatly.
What do you think is be the likelihood of a Liberal State Government repealing the Racial and Religious (in)Tolerance Act in the event of a successful outcome at the next election? There are many people out there who would like to see this piece of legislation ceremoniously burned - I'd pay to see it!
With our country being in the strait it is in - the so-called 'race riots' in NSW and the Labor Government's complete inaction on the perpetrators of retaliatory violence on Dec 12, 2005, for example - there is a need for our leaders to lead by example.
I can only speak for myself, but I am rapidly becoming a one-issue voter. My biggest concern is the 'War on Terror' and what our Governments will do about it. When people are too scared to speak aloud on their worries because there is a very real possibility that they can be charged for upsetting someone else, then there is no way we can effectively combat the menace associated with that.
The repealing of the aforementioned Act is one step on the road to ensuring that Victorians can feel safe to speak in their own homes or amongst themselves without fear of being branded a 'racist'.
As I re-read what I've written to you, I find it galling that even in correspondence to one who is seen as a leader in our state, I feel the need to be circumspect and not communicate directly. As an adult, responsible member of the community, it is insulting that I cannot speak plainly, but must choose my words carefully, in order to refrain from inadvertantly causing offence.
That I (and others) feel this way saddens me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
nb.I have a policy of posting correspondence on my blog.If you prefer that this correspondence remain private, please let me know within seven days, and I will not post it. Thank you, and enjoy!
ps. I hope you don't mind that I call it the Racial and Religious (in)Tolerance Act. Having read it, there is nothing tolerant about that piece of 'legislation'.
Apart from the fact that they can't read? I know there was at least one typo in there, which I apologise for, but the response I got is a bit lame.
Dear Ms Nilknarf
Thank you for your email of 20 January 2006 to Mr Robert Doyle MP, Leader of the Liberal Party.
Mr Doyle notes your concerns.
Australians rightly oppose intolerance and incitement to hatred based on race or religion.
The Liberal Party is monitoring the operation of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act and carefully examining a range of submissions and options.
A number of questions have arisen as to whether the Act is achieving its objective of promoting tolerance. When the Act was introduced, the Liberal Party sought key amendments so that the law would reasonably and in good faith protect people who genuinely practiced their religion. The operation of this clause is presently subject to an appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Liberal Party will continue to actively consult with stakeholder groups in relation to these issues.
In relation to speed cameras, Mr Doyle and Mr Terry Mulder MP, Shadow Minister for Transport have been very critical of the way in which the Bracks Labor Government uses these as revenue raisers. A Liberal Government will use speed cameras to enhance road safety. On some roads such as the Geelong Road which has been extensively redesigned and is a safe road, it may be inappropriate for speed cameras to be located. If this is the case, a Liberal Government would redeploy them.
Office of Robert Doyle MP
Leader of the Liberal Party
(del ph numbers)
Now bear in mind that this email came with the standard disclaimer signature about not being for dissemination and all that, but since I did state my intention to blog correspondence and there was nothing in the substance of the reply requesting confidentiality, I'm happy to post it here.
Not that there is anything in this response apart from typical politispeak.
There is no way I want Labor in for a third term of bleeding the taxpayers dry. The only problem is... what sort of Opposition do we actually have? A not very effective one, that's what. One that doesn't make any serious effort to reply to the concerns of a voter and taxpayer.
One thing to remember, oh, potential Liberal State Government:
I am only one person. I am not happy. I vote, and I don't waste my vote.
When Jeff was voted out and you were thrust into the Wilderness of Opposition, it was not because people voted for Labor, but because people like me were not happy and voted against Liberal.
I had one vote, I used it.
So did many others.
I want a Liberal Party that actually says what it intends to do, and then tells us how it's going to do so. I want a State Government that governs rather than just waffling on about not much at all. I want organisation and more than bloody speed cameras that have nothing to do with the road toll. Blind Freddy can see that the most obvious deterrent to speeding is police visibility. Anything else is for the coffers.
In any case, the speed cameras are not my main issue.
Tolerance or the mandated lack thereof is.
What, apart from looking into things, is going to happen? Who are the 'stakeholders' with regards to this issue?
Not the so-called average citizens.
I would suggest that the stakeholders are those who have a vested interest in maintaining a headlock on a politically correct way of life to our own detriment.