The date November 30, 2016 will surely go down in infamy through all history — or at least until the developing ecoholocaust being worsened by Australian government policies destroys the basis for human civilisation and renders meaningless the concept of history. So until about 2030, at least.
On that day, in Canberra, a terrible assault on democracy took place. It pains me to write this, but Parliamentary Question Time — that institution all freedom loving people throughout the world hold so dear — was delayed for 40 minutes by chanting protesters in the public gallery.
And why? Simply because our government violates international law and jails innocent people seeking safety, including children, in isolated, offshore prison camps condemned by the United Nations as hellholes. Some people just have no sense of perspective.
Or decency, as shown by the fact the democracy-hating degenerates returned the very next day to chant some more about closing Australian-run concentration camps in which children are subjected to torture.
No wonder Coalition Senator James McGrath condemned the protesters as “a bunch of absolute grubs”, “who only care about themselves”. Because driving desperate people to extreme acts of self-harm in violation of the United Nations Refugee Convention is one thing, but preventing a government backbencher from asking his leader a planted question on whether the tax rate applied to European backpackers should be higher than 13% is on a whole other scale of horror.
Labor leader Bill Shorten described the protest as “the exact opposite of democracy” on the grounds it temporarily stopped elected representatives from performing their functions.
These include things like passing the Australian Building and Construction Commission Act (ABCC Act), which grants secret police powers to persecute building workers, by establishing a star chamber in which workers have no right to silence. It makes taking industrial action around safety issues an offence that can lead to jail, despite a startling rise in the number of fatal workplace accidents on construction sites in recent years.
Luckily the ABCC Act passed the Senate hours before the refugee rights protests, but it was a close call.
It is hard to think of any historical comparison, but it does bring to mind such infamous events as Franco’s fascist destruction of the Spanish republic in the late 1930s. Or perhaps Pinochet’s bloody coup against an elected Chilean government in 1973. Or even the horrific case of Black Friday in 1910 in Britain when the suffragettes tried to subvert democracy by forcing their way into the House of Commons to protest the lack of a vote for women.
I can’t believe I even have to type this in 2016, but such things as engaging in civil disobedience on behalf of those denied a say in parliament, despite parliament determining their futures, quite obviously has no place in any true democracy.
It is like the words of the great Martin Luther King Jr have been forgotten: “Of course I respect your right to protest, but please, try not to disrupt anything as you’ll only damage your own cause.”
Or even Voltaire’s famous injunction: “I don’t agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to death your right to say it unless you force the suspension of parliamentary standing orders and delay Question Time by any more than about half an hour.”