Daniel Wild On eSafety Commissioner with Rita Panahi – 17 April 2024

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20 April 2024
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The IPA’s research and commentary on “Misinformation” and censorship appears here.

On 17 April, the Institute of Public Affairs’ Daniel Wild appeared on The Rita Panahi Show to discuss the IPA’s research into the government’s Nature Positive plan, misinformation, and Australia’s record migration intake.

All media posted onto the IPA website are directly related to the promotion and dissemination of IPA research.

Below is a transcript of the interview.


Rita Panahi:

Let’s bring in the Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs, Daniel Wild. Daniel, what do you make of this coverage? I’ve just been shocked to describe what we have seen as inflammatory. I don’t know, maybe there’s some sermons I’ve missed, but I imagine if they had something worse than what they’ve written, they would’ve published it.

Daniel Wild:

Yeah, I think so, and it’s an example of disgraceful victim blaming. Now, I haven’t watched all of his sermons, I’m sure I don’t agree with everything that he says, but what he says is irrelevant. He’s a victim of a stabbing. The New South Wales police have declared this a terrorist incident. It was a religiously motivated terrorist incident. That’s what needs to be dealt with. We’ve clearly got a problem in our society. The sectarian conflict and division is now spilling out into the community, that reflects years of failed migration program.

We’ve talked about the massive numbers of intake, and I’ll note that yesterday it was revealed that we had over 100,000 people enter our nation on a net basis in just one month. The first time that’s happened in our history, and now clearly we have issues with social cohesion. The federal labour government is hopelessly divided on this issue. They were quick to sort of have this two-way statement about this situation, but gave a leave pass to those who are protesting at the Sydney Opera House. So look, there’s a real issue here and Australians are looking for political leadership and we’re not getting it.

Rita Panahi:

Well said. Now, Lisa Wilkinson proclaimed outside court on Monday that she had been vindicated what she had broadcast about Bruce Lehmann and his rape of Brittany Higgins had been found to be true, but that’s not the full story. The real vindication really, if you ask me, is for Fiona Brown and Linda Reynolds. Justice Michael Lee was dismissive of any suggestion of a political coverup, which after all was the story 10 were pushing a high-level cover-up where a victim was being forced to choose between her career and the pursuit of justice. The now cause for Brittany Higgins $2.4 million payout to be probed, will the National Anti-Corruption Commission end up looking at this case, Dan?

Daniel Wild:

It should do in light of the judgement from Justice Lee, but I wouldn’t be holding my breath. I’ve got to tell you, Justice Lee has sort of restored a bit of my confidence in the justice system. I thought he was able to give a very erudite and clear assessment of the entire case. Nobody, other than the staff that you mentioned, came out looking better than when they went in, whether it was the media organisations that were pursuing eyeballs for advertising revenue, politicians trying to gain political advantage, or indeed the individuals themselves who the justice said were not reliable witnesses and had a problem with the truth. Look, I think Australians are concerned about the payout and they want to know the truth about that and also want to draw a line under this entire affair because it’s been, I think, a fairly shameful period in the lives of so many.

Rita Panahi:

Yes, former liberal staffer Fiona Brown I think is the only one who came out of this unscathed. Justice Lee was pretty glowing about her credibility. He noted the hardship she’d gone through, and I think he was fairly scathing of Channel 10’s treatment of her. Now, let’s talk about this case out of Belgium. Brussels Police shut down the National Conservatism Conference just as Nigel Farage was speaking. He was on stage when this happened. There are also going to be other big names there. Hungary’s Viktor Orban, conservative MPs, including Suella Braverman and Miriam Cates. The mayor of Brussels though, said he had issued an order banning the conference to guarantee public safety, adding, “The far right is not welcome.” The far right? This is just wildly illiberal, Dan, sinister.

Daniel Wild:

It is, and look, it shows a couple of things. As we’ve talked about before, the left is scared of debate. The people at that conference and that conference has now been going for a number of years, there are some serious people. It’s not just politicians there, it’s academics and public intellectuals that are trying to provide context to those in the West about, where do we go from here given all the challenges that we have? And it’s concerning that, again, it’s victim blaming like we just talked about. Now, apparently by having a conference and inviting speakers that are considered to be controversial, you are somehow inviting violence and that you are the one that’s going to be shut down. It should be the other way around. Police should be protecting the conference to protect free speech and debate, but it’s been flipped on its head.

Rita Panahi:

To me, it’s astonishing that you could have someone like Suella Braverman labelled far right and a danger to the public. The fact that she would be taking to stage to speak amongst leaders and thought leaders is somehow dangerous in Brussels, or the love of God. Now, let’s come back to a crucial issue in this country. The government’s Nature Positive Plan has thankfully hit a road bump in West Australia. The Labour Party there are warning it’s not going to be popular, and Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek will now stagger the plan that’s angered green groups, Dan, but this plan is still a hot mess. It’s going to be catastrophic, not just for mining, but really so many other vital projects.

Daniel Wild:

Well, you’re right, and there’s not an aspect of our society that the Nature Positive Plan wouldn’t impact. Now, yes, there’s been a minor back down, but the government’s still going to proceed with the controversial Environmental Protection Agency, and what the Samuel Review recommended or talked about, and this was the major review into environmental laws. It said you can have an Environmental Protection Agency, but it needs to be limited to compliance and enforcement. Instead, what the government is proposing is that this EPA would be in charge of approvals of projects. These are major resources projects. Now, there’s a couple of problems. The first is that the role of the minister would be diminished in our Westminster system. Whether you agree or disagree, it must be the minister that decides on project approvals. And secondly, we all know where this is going to go. It’s going to be an untouchable bureaucracy filled with activists that only consider the environmental side, but not the economic and social side.

Rita Panahi:

Well, that is precisely what’s going to happen. And just through the process, the so-called consultations, the lack of transparency there, the lack of information that’s been put forward for such an enormous plan with wide-reaching consequences. I’m shocked that they’re still proceeding with this. Is this delay or staggered approach just to try to save WA come their election next March?

Daniel Wild:

It certainly looks political and WA would be the state that is hardest hit, given the importance of a resources sector. You’re right to mention the transparency. There’s been no real consultation about this. It’s been shrouded in secrecy-

Rita Panahi:

The consultation seems to be done in secret, which to me is questionable in itself. What’s the point of having consultations if there’s no transparency?

Daniel Wild:

And if it’s such a great plan, what do you have to hide? Why not bring the public along with you? So, clearly they’re trying to hide something. They’ve been called out, but like I say, this EPA is a concern.

Rita Panahi:

Absolutely, now, children’s rights campaigner Billboard Chris, we’ve had him on this program, has submitted a notice of appeal against the eSafety Commissioner in this country, Julie Inman Grant over her take down order for his post where he supposedly misgendered a trans activist. Tell me the latest with this case. It’s a fascinating one. It’s one that got international attention. People were shocked that this was happening in Australia. And you would think the eSafety Commissioner would have bigger priorities, I don’t know, child exploitation for one than to bring down posts on X.

Daniel Wild:

Yeah, that’s right. Look, there is a serious issue with the exposure of children to graphic and obscene content, and it needs to be dealt with. The problem that you’ve got here with this eSafety Commissioner, she’s an activist.

Rita Panahi:

Absolutely.

Daniel Wild:

She will continue to expand her role to police the internet, to censor debate in a way that’s consistent with her own ideological views. We’re just talking about the EPA. It’s the exact same problem. You have these unelected bureaucrats that have vague powers and they will fill it with their views and she has their track record of censorship and it only ever targets one side. And unfortunately, we’re seeing that happen again.

Rita Panahi:

And let’s not forget, we’ve mentioned it before on this program. She was appointed by the coalition government. This isn’t some labour appointment. This is another example of the coalition wasting power. You do wonder why, what’s the point of voting for them? They kind of just appoint lefties to run the bureaucracy.

Daniel Wild:

And also the misinformation and disinformation laws that started under Paul Fletcher when he was… Now, this government’s gone way further, but they permitted it through allowing it to go as far as it did.

Rita Panahi: Dan Wild, thank you so much for your time tonight

This transcript from The Rita Panahi Show on 17 April 2024 has been edited for clarity.

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