It is with relief and celebration that Australians, who value free speech, strong borders and reject identity politics and political correctness, welcome the news that Gillian Triggs term as President of Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) will expire at the end of this month after the government decided not to renew it.
Her replacement however Rosalind Croucher, who has been President of the Australian Law Reform Commission does not have as strong a commitment to a free society and has been criticised by many on the right and described as ‘’Triggs-lite”. The appointment has been seen as a disappointment, especially when there was a true freedom fighter that the Coalition Government could have appointed. Croucher does support modest reform to Section 18C so we can at least be certain she will not behave in the same manner as Gillian Triggs has done.
But the bad news for defenders of freedom of speech is that departure of Gillian Triggs is not end of the Commission’s attacks on Australian society. It would appear that Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane has picked up where Triggs left off in the past week with his attacks on Australia’s media and leadership for being too white.
Sadly, we are stuck with Soutphommasane until August 2018 as he was appointed to the Commission in the dying days of the Rudd Government to a five-year term by then Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus. He is a blatantly partisan person as he has been a Labor Party member and worked for Bob Carr and Kevin Rudd and also held a position at the Labor-aligned think tank Per Capita.
He sees racism everywhere and believes you are racist if you can’t pronounce his long name. His conduct at the Commission has been just as bad as Triggs as he encouraged people to complain to the AHRC if they were offended by the late Bill Leak’s cartoon highlighting dysfunction in Aboriginal communities. This was a clear conflict of interest as he was encouraging complaints that he would be the judge of if they were valid.
Soutphommasane’s latest contribution to the public discourse has been the release of the Commission’s Leading for Change report which calls for pressure to be put on corporate Australia to have racial and cultural diversity quotas and that companies should collect data on the cultural background of their employees. Soutphommasane said that while Australia’s multicultural society was strong he claimed that the “ethnic and cultural default of leadership remains Anglo-Celtic’’.
It worth noting that the reason why our leadership positions are filled by mainly Anglo-Celtic people is because that is the still the ethnic makeup of most of Australia, as was discovered in the latest census. Ancestries of Australian citizens were 36.1% English, 33.5% Australian, 11.0% Irish and 9.3% Scottish. England is also still the most common place of birth of migrants to Australia.
Soutphommasane also raged against too much free speech and open debate among matters concerning immigration and Islam stating that believers in free speech were complaining “about there not being enough freedom of speech to racially insult or offend others”. He also dismissed the concept that some people had a victim mentality and lamented that people said mean things on social media stating it “has become a breeding ground of hate”.
Thankfully members of the government have dismissed Soutphommasane’s latest foray into identity politics labelling it “creepy”. Commentator Rowan Dean went one step further on Sky News’ Outsiders this Sunday saying to him ‘Tim, if you don’t like it, join Yassmin, hop on a plane and go back to Laos where I doubt you will find the taxpayer paying you $300,000 a year to lecture bigotry and racism which is what you are doing by attacking Anglo-Celtics”. It is certainly true that Soutphommasane has been offered opportunities beyond his wildest dreams in Australia as his homeland of Laos remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
Soutphommasane’s response was ironically to claim he was entitled to free speech: “Being from a migrant or non-English speaking background doesn’t disqualify you from enjoying your freedom of speech and from contributing to this country”. Nobody said that wasn’t the case Tim, Rowan Dean wasn’t asking for you to be deported, just to reflect on whether, given your constant criticism of Australia, you want to stay here. It’s just a shame you don’t respect the free speech of those you disagree with Tim.
In his response, he also criticised the Aussie Nationalist Pokémon posters that had been put up around Sydney mocking Yassmin Abdel-Magied and Waleed Aly stating “The vile posters in Sydney reflect how extremist racism is being emboldened,” and claimed “Some of the public commentary about race and immigration is encouraging vicious racism”. He of course believes that Australians who criticize Islam are doing it for no good reason, which we have stated previously couldn’t be further from the truth.
Soutphommasane may have missed that Australia just had its first politician of Black African descent elected to the Federal Parliament in Lucy Gichuhi, yet I don’t recall a campaign of hate against her telling her to go back to Africa. Perhaps because she is grateful for the opportunity Australia has offered her, I don’t think it’s unfair to ask people who come to this country to be thankful for the opportunities we offer them. If somebody offered you a job for example you wouldn’t spend all your time criticizing your employer?
Although we are soon free of Triggs it is clear from the past week that Soutphommasane has now taken up the job as Australia basher in chief, worst of all of course is that it is funded by the taxpayer. We have to wait until 2018 to be rid of him and for the AHRC to be cleaned out completely. Of course, it would be better if the Commission did not exist at all, as Tony Abbott has proposed. But if it is to stay we hope that soon it will have commissioners who actually believe in human rights and freedoms.