bernard Collaery
Witness K lawyer Bernard Collaery.

As news broke yesterday of the government’s prosecution of whistleblower Bernard Collaery, Crikey readers were watching the responses. Many noted the ramifications of the case for free speech and civil liberties, while others asked: where are all those loud libertarians? Elsewhere, is there any explanation for Border Force’s threatening letter to a baby?

On the prosecution of Bernard Collaery

Mick Radealaide writes: It’s funny that those self-proclaimed “libertarians”, such as David Leyonhjelm, who pontificate at length about the evils of 18C have nothing to say about this case. It is a far bigger threat to democracy and freedom of expression than a bunch of racist university students being taken to court.

Bgas writes: We may all laugh and gasp at the insanity that is Trump, but our bunch of police statists are having no trouble at all turning Australia into East Germany. The continual erosion of civil liberties, ever growing surveillance, and war on any dissent or holding the government to account continues unabated. And those spineless twits in the Labor Party are as guilty as the LNP for supporting it. 

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Arky writes: This is a disgrace. This is the kind of thing which the media should be all over instead of 18C or complaining about soft media regulation, and yet apart from Crikey where are they? Demonstrates that the right’s “free speech” advocates are not really about free speech (as we all know, they are really demanding the right to speak without being criticised or contradicted) as they don’t seem to give a shit either.

The Curmudgeon writes: As Jim Cairns once observed (probably not the exact words): “If the police state marches in Australia, it will march on the back of the right”.


On Border Force’s letter to a baby

JMNO writes: This is not to excuse or justification, but they will be computer-generated letters. The original contents would have been drafted by Immigration’s Legal Branch in Canberra which has never taken lessons in writing approachable, clear and sensitive English — just mechanical reiterations of the law. I have read letters generated by this means which tell the applicant that they have been granted permanent residence but you wouldn’t know that what was said because the prose was so dense and legalistic. If letters must be computer-generated, then they need to get decent writers in to draft them and to inject some humanity.

Keith writes: “In fact the letter is written as though Sam dropped from the sky and landed among us.”
No, no, no…  As is made clear, despite being seven months old, Sam is obviously an unauthorised MARITIME arrival (born while his mum was surfing outside the flags perhaps?). Perhaps what Greg Barns meant to say is that the letter is written as though its WRITER dropped from the sky and landed among us.


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Peter Fray
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