On August 19, Deputy Executive Director Daniel Wild addresses CPAC 2023 in Sydney on how ‘misinformation’ is being weaponised against mainstream Australia by an overclass of elites.
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Below is a transcript of the interview.
Well, thank you everyone. Great to be back for another year of CPAC. We almost didn’t make it here. Thanks to our friend, Alan Joyce, we got to Melbourne Airport at about 2:00 PM yesterday and we arrived in Sydney at 8:00 AM this morning. So unfortunately, we didn’t get a welcome to country when we arrived either, which just didn’t make it worthwhile. So very disappointing there, but we’re here and that’s the main thing.
Look, to begin, let me read something out to you. “The voice is creating a separate entity. We, indigenous Australians, are not a separate entity. We should be considered Australian citizens and a part of the fabric of this nation.” Now, that was the great Senator Jacinta Price, who we heard from earlier today. That quote was from a video that she did with us at the Institute of Public Affairs, discussing her perspective on the Voice to Parliament. Also on that video was Senator James McGrath and leading academic Anthony Dillon. That video was censored by big tech, by Facebook. They said it didn’t comply with their policies on elections or referenda. We asked, “Well, in what exact way does an elected member of parliament saying that she believes all Australians are equal, not abide by your policies?” We haven’t heard back yet.
But have a look at this. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to see this, but I want to hold this up. This is what you see when you go on Facebook and look at our research, a post on the Voice to Parliament. It’s all blurred out. That’s what they’re doing to your voice. And this is not the first time we’ve had censorship and we’re not the only ones to be censored. And I can guarantee you, it won’t be the last time. What is happening now to censorship of mainstream Australians like you is just an entree with what will happen to our nation. Under laws proposed by the government, you may have heard of the misinformation and disinformation laws. Well, the combating misinformation and disinformation bill would be the single biggest assault on freedom of political communication in Australia’s peace time history, and it would outlaw disagreement, dissent, and criticism of government policy.
Never before has an Australian government sought to weaponize its bureaucracy through compelling a private digital organization to shut down speech and the communication of Australian citizens. The bill takes the very worst of sections 18C and the since abandoned Finkelstein laws, it supercharges them, removes critical legal protections that Australians ought to have and would empower a vast and secretive bureaucracy to hunt and shut down Australians who disagree with contentious and debated government policies.
Under the bill, there are entities who of course would be exempt. Government is exempt. Academia is exempt. Politicians are exempt. The mainstream media is exempt. You are not exempt. They exempt themselves and they permit themselves to spread misinformation, yet citizens who share that information could be punished and censored, including through imprisonment under certain circumstances, that an Australian government would ever contemplate a scenario whereby one of its citizens could be potentially be jailed for merely expressing an opinion which they hold to be true violates every principle of human rights.
Under the laws and unelected and unaccountable star chamber bureaucracy in the Australian communication and media authority would be empowered to define the official definition of the truth. It would be ACMA that adjudicates on what is and what is not misinformation. Yet even ACMA itself has conceded that these terms are relatively novel and dynamic phenomena with no established consensus on the definition of either term. And at the same time as they concede this, the bill removes critical legal protections such as the privilege against self-incrimination, a linchpin of judicial fairness which dates back to 17th century English common law. And the vagaries of the bill were such that no Australian could be sure if at any point in time they’re following the law.
As you know, a foundational principle of the rule of law is that for the law to be followed, it must be understood. Yet terms such as misleading or deceptive are inherently vague and evolving and subject to interpretations. Yet in face of all this, it is up to you and I to continue to tell the truth. Truth such as Australia is a great nation and a force for good. Truths such as we are all equal and must not be divided by race. Truths such as pursuing moral, spiritual, cultural, and economic excellence is superior that a life based on identity, politics and division. It is our civilizational duty to continue to communicate these truths so that the values that have made Australia the nation it is today will endure for generations to come.
Friends, as we gather here today, we must reflect on the question of why it is that they are going to such great lengths to censor us. Well, there are two reasons. The first is that we are right and the second is that we are winning. This is a government more radical than Whitlam. They’re cheerleaders and apologists in big tech, the mainstream media, academia, the ABC, the woke corporations and the inner city elites know that the only way they can win a debate is through refusing to allow one to happen. The only debate they can win is a debate which they make unlawful. And they know when Australians learn the truth about their agenda, they do not support it.
Let’s briefly look at the voice. When Australians understand that the voice will create division based on race, when they understand it would brick into the Constitution and cannot be removed, when they understand it’ll be a Canberra based bureaucracy with an urban bias removed from remote and indigenous communities, when they understand that indigenous communities themselves are split on a matter, far less likely to support the proposal. As it’s mentioned before, we are up in the polls. And as people learn about this, it goes our way. But there is a long way to go. The Yes Campaign is armed with $30 million of corporate and taxpayer money. They have an army of volunteers and we can’t grow complacent. Yet rather than debate the political, corporate, and media elite seek to censor and no wonder why, nothing annoys the Yes campaign is more then when you quote back to them words that they have actually said. So let’s do that.
Listen to this. Marcia Langton co-author of the Calma-Langton report, which our prime minister has repeatedly referred to as the authoritative source on details on the Voice to Parliament, including holding that report up in parliament, this is what Marcia Langton said, “Our constitution is racist. It was designed as a racist constitution. People who are opposing the voice referendum are saying we are destroying the fabric of their sacred constitution. Yes, that is right. That is exactly what we are doing.”
Think about that. The Yes Campaign believes our constitution and by extension our nation is racist. They don’t want to change our constitution, they want to get rid of it. And how do they do that? Through a treaty. Make no mistake, the purpose of the voice is to be a counterparty to a treaty. And a treaty would become Australia’s second constitution, nullifying our actual constitution. And Australia Day? That would be Treaty day. This is why our prime minister parades the New Zealand model based on the Treaty of Waitangi, which is in essence the New Zealand Constitution as the model that Australia should follow. This is what is at stake for our nation. This referendum is not about the Voice to Parliament, it’s about the future of Australia. It is a turning point. If we lose, then the Australia that we love, the Australia of egalitarianism, of democracy and of freedom, will be lost forever.
But what if we win? If we win, then we continue our journey as a nation. The true story of Australia is not that we are a racist nation, built on stolen land by colonial invaders presiding over a never ending series of oppressions. That’s not our history. It’s not even close. The exact opposite is true. The true history of Australia is how a group of disparate inward looking penal colonies set up on the other side of the world by Britain overcame hardship and division to become among the most tolerant and fair-minded of nations. We are the people who made pioneering advances to freedom and democracy, which were well ahead of their time. We are the people who went further than any other nation in establishing the rule of law and equality before the law just four months after the very first Australia Day in 1788 when two lowly convicts won the right to sue a ships captain known as the cable case. This was foundational and visionary. It gave equal standing before the law for all from convict to captain, something not available in Britain for decades to come.
We are the people who as far back as 1836 made critical advances to religious tolerance when New South Wales Governor Bourke established the Church Act providing equal funding for Catholic and Protestant churches at a time when sectarian conflict was rife. We are the people who invented the secret ballot, a cornerstone of democracy around the world, guaranteeing one person, one vote. We are the people of the Eureka Stockade, where workers fighting for their rights lost the battle, but won the war for fairness and took the digger’s oath to swear by the southern cross to stand truly by each other to defend our rights and our liberties. We are the people of the ANZACs who forged our national identity on the first ANZAC Day 25, April 1915, and defined our nation by the values of endurance, courage, ingenuity, and mateship.
We are the people by a margin of 90 to 10 said yes to removing divisive references to race in the Australian constitution in 1967, in what was a watershed development for racial equality in our nation. Australia is, as with any other nation, not without fault, but we are without peer.
There is a very clear choice in front of us between those who run down our country and call us racist and between us who believe Australia is a force for good in the world, between those who preach divisive identity politics and between us who believe we’re all Australians, between those who say our constitution is not worth defending and between us who understand it is our constitutional democracy, which is the foundation of our way of life and our prosperity, between those who say we should go backward and those of us who say we must go forward. And it is our opportunity to say no to the divisive sectional agenda of the elites and our opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to Australia, the Australia that we love and that we know, to pass this nation and its values and its institutions onto our children and onto our grandchildren. This is our responsibility. I’m grateful to be in this fight and I’m looking forward to casting my vote in October because Referendum day will be the day that we say yes to Australia.
This transcript with Daniel Wild talking at CPAC 2023 from 19 August 2023 has been edited for clarity.
This speech draws from forthcoming and unpublished IPA Research on Misinformation.