Our distinguished President and law professor at Sheridan College, Dr Augusto Zimmermann, has just attended the 82nd Annual conference of the WA Police Union, where he has been invited to address members of the Police Union on the important topic of freedom of speech.
The WA Police Union was created in 1910, when three police officers lodged a petition for improved wages, and it was this action which proved the catalyst for the decision to create a representative organisation for the State’s police.
The conference started with a message from WAPU President George Tilbury. He expressed his “utmost faith” that the WA Police Union will continue to be “a well-respected Union who advocate for exceptional people who do extraordinary things”.
The first day of Annual Conference highlighted a motion to remotely disable vehicles during pursuits and terrorist incidents. Dr Zimmermann was the guest speaker during the morning session of the conference. Other speakers included, inter alia, Hon Michelle Roberts MLA (Minister for Police), Chris Dawson APM (Commissioner of Police), Hon Mike Nahan (Leader of the Opposition), Ian Levers (President, Qld Police Union), and Scott Weber (Chief Executive Officer, Police Federation of Australia).
In his address to members of the WA Police Union, Dr Zimmermann explained how in recent years there have been numerous attempts to unreasonably restrict freedom of speech in Australia. As a result, he explained, some people have been found at the receiving end of severe persecution as well as protracted and expensive legal action for holding ideas that are no longer accepted by the political and intellectual elites.
Dr Zimmermann provided a legal analysis of the remarkable decline, particularly over the last fifteen years, of free speech in Australia. For instance, he mentioned the ongoing push to extend controversial Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to cover religion. The proposal comes from Dr Anne Aly, an Egyptian-born Muslim MP who notoriously seeks to expand the scope of anti-discrimination laws to religion, while simultaneously imposing significant restrictions on both freedom of speech and religion.
Dr Zimmermann also spoke about false accusations in the context of family court disputes, including those “verbal abuse” that might lead to considerable loss of property rights and parental rights, as well as the recent Victorian Police’s decision to issue bills to the promoters of conservative events in Melbourne as another serious sign of the decline of free speech in Australia.
According to Dr Zimmermann, “When members of the extreme Left resort to violence in an attempt to prevent conservative events, the Victoria Police have been instructed by the state government to issue hefty bills not to the violent and rioting protesters, but to the organisers of peaceful speaking engagements. Rather than prosecuting the violent protestors, the Victoria Police Commissioner decided rather to punish the victims by issuing outrageous bills to its promoters, to keep a premeditated violent mob at bay.
“If the extreme Left wish to attack a cardinal principle of every democratic society – free speech – then it is they who should be billed for creating mayhem in the streets and not the exponents of those presenting their case logically and calmly. What happened with those event organisers in Melbourne is utterly unacceptable, although it merely prefigures a wider war that has been waged against free speech in this country”, Dr Zimmermann concluded.
Above all, Dr Zimmermann explained why he strongly believes that freedom of speech is not properly recognised and respected in Australia.
We are delighted to inform that Dr Zimmermann’s presentation was very well received. This is a fact that can be gathered by the applauses and positive feedback received after his presentation.
We congratulate Dr Zimmermann on his talk and the WA Police Union on a very successful event.