Free speech fetishist Tim Wilson is nasty, racist and wrong: he should resign

Australia’s recently-minted ‘Human Rights Commissioner’ says he believes in the rights of individuals, not of groups. In the Fairfax press Wilson is quoted thusly:

“I believe in individual rights, not in group rights,” Wilson says.

I’m not really sorry Tim, but this is utter cant and crap that completely underlines the point that your appointment was politically-motivated and entirely inappropriate.

I have written this open letter to Tim Wilson, urging him to resign.

Dear Tim,

As a paid up member of the libertarian Right who had, and most likely continues to have, a strong professional and personal attachment to the right-wing politics of the Institute of Public Affairs and the Liberal Party, you are not a fit and proper person to hold the important position of champion of the rights of citizens.

You and the IPA have  long history of supporting group rights — you support the rights of the mining industry to plunder wealth from the ground at the expense of both people and the environment.

The expansion of the mining industry and the resources that are being attracted to the industry are a capitalist economy at work. We are seeing exactly what should happen under specialisation and the division of labour. Those industries where Australia has less of a comparative advantage are shedding resources to the mining industry.

Just as public ownership of the commanding heights is a failed experiment, so managing private assets for the public good is an economic experiment that has been tried and failed. Adam Smith famously said that he has never seen any good come from those who profess to act for the public good. Little has changed in the subsequent 240 years.

We now have a renewed assault on regulatory costs with an industrious Parliamentary Secretary, Josh Frydenberg, specifically tasked to assist Tony Abbott in rolling back regulations. Frydenberg has laid out an ambitious program to cut $1 billion a year in red and green tape. The measures he has proposed include expediting approval processes, simplification of paperwork and an annual bonfire of regulations, the first scheduled for the end of March.

You support the rights of big business to exploit workers by denying them weekend penalty rates.

John Lloyd, Director Work Reform and Productivity at the Institute of Public Affairs today called on Bill Shorten and the unions to listen to the concerns of leading restaurateur George Calombaris about the impact of weekend penalty rates.

You support the rights of corporations and the uber-rich to pay almost no taxes.

Australians are over-taxed. And, to paraphrase Kerry Packer’s immortal phrase, governments don’t spend our money well enough to deserve any more of it.

You support income inequality and shout out against any welfare state measures of support to poor and marginalised groups in our society.

Those multinational corporations that are being targeted for this political abuse are fully compliant with all taxation laws. They are also fully compliant with international tax treaties. In short, they are not exploiting loopholes in the tax system – they are compliant with how the tax system was designed and meant to operate.The real problem isn’t that some firms don’t pay enough tax; rather that governments have been routinely and systematically living beyond their means.

You support the rights of the big polluters through your championing of climate change denialists like the IPA’s very own Bob Carter.

Man made climate change has become one of the most dangerous arguments aimed at distorting human efforts and public policies in the whole world.

There are few people in the world better able to marshal the evidence on climate change than Professor Bob Carter. He’s an Emeritus Fellow of the Institute of Public Affairs and one of the world’s leading climate change ‘sceptics’.

You support the business lobby against the collective action of trade unionists.

“It is time for an independent and thorough inquiry into the management of union funds to be conducted,” said John Lloyd, Director, Work Reform and Productivity at the Institute of Public Affairs.

The IPA has called for stronger regulation and penalties. We have proposed that unions be treated like corporations and be regulated by corporations law. Their financial management and governance would be overseen by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Perhaps most egregiously you support the rights of the tobacco industry to continue to kill people with their poisonous products by opposing plain packaging legislation.

“Bad anti-intellectual property laws by State and Federal Parliaments could require taxpayers to gift up to $3.4 billion per year in compensation to film companies and big tobacco for the loss of their trademarks”, Director of the IP and Free Trade Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs, Tim Wilson, said today.

I could go on, but I think everyone gets the point. The group rights you support are those which impact on the individual rights of workers, the disposessed, ethnic and racial minorities, the poor and the marginalised.

On the other hand you do not support the group rights of workers to organise in trade unions in defence of their wages and conditions — in fact you argue ad nauseum that unions are the bane of life for your key supporters in big business.

In short, you are a hypocrite and a fraud and you would — if you had any principles at all — resign your commission.

You won’t do that, I’m certain, because you understand the politics of your un-memrited appointment. You are in that job because you are a pet of Brandis, Abbott and the Liberal party. You were selected because it was thought that you would be a tame bureaucrat who would bolster the credentials of the current government

Your appointment was a case of political favouritism, partisan jobs for the boys and a token of gratitude from a government grateful for all the good campaigning work that you and the IPA did in 2013 to secure an election victory for the coalition.

In fact, you were a paid-up member of the Liberal Party until your appointment in December 2013. It would be beyond belief to think that you renounced a lifetime of political commitment when you officially left the IPA and the Liberal Party.

Tim Wilson, for the past seven years a policy director of the Institute of Public Affairs, a conservative think tank that early this year called for the abolition of the Human Rights Commission, will be known informally as the “Freedom Commissioner”.

Mr Wilson, who resigned from both the IPA and the Liberal Party soon after the announcement, told Fairfax Media he was determined to “re-focus” the commission on the task of defending freedom of speech as a human right, rather than concentrating on anti-discrimination work.

You have not resiled from your previous positions and if you had your appointment to the Human Rights Commission would not be so effective would it? After all, you are there to do a job on behalf of the coalition government.

Attorney-General George Brandis, made it clear Mr Wilson’s $325,000-a-year appointment was made on both political and ideological grounds.

“The appointment of Mr Wilson to this important position will help restore balance to the Australian Human Rights Commission which, during the period of the Labor government, has become increasingly narrow and selective in its view of human rights,” Senator Brandis said.

Your appointment was a disgraceful act by a disgraceful minister in a disgraceful government.

Now you have made your position even less tenable by supporting repeal of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act which is a key piece of legislation underpinning the work of the Commission.

Personally I find it astonishing that as an openly gay man and therefore a member of a stigmatised social group subject to vilification, abuse and even physical attack that you would hold such a position, but you do.

Do you remember this profoundly disturbing article you wrote in The Sydney Star Oberserver in December last year? Helpfully, like all of your previous work it is archived on the IPA website.

LGBTI Australians should reject special group rights that undermine their human right to free speech to defend themselves…

For years LGBTI Australians have fought for the same legal standing for themselves, and their relationships. More often than not, the very intention of campaigns to change laws has been to achieve the classical liberal spirit of universality before the law, not a special status. Section 18C represents ‘special’ rights for a certain group of people, not ‘equal’ rights. The simple reality is that some individuals from different cultural, ethnic or national backgrounds don’t accept people being same-sex attracted, and make it known. If section 18C is allowed to stand they can throw hostile verbal bombs at LGBTI Australians, but retreat to the protections of 18C should LGBTI Australians respond.

As LGBTI Australians know: haters gonna hate. So we should defend our human right to speak out, defend ourselves and ridicule narrow-mindedness without fear.

Leave aside your rewriting of the history of the struggle for LGBTI rights in Australia as somehow a heroic “classical liberal” fight, that is a typical mistake of ignorance on your part. The collective struggle of the gay and lesbian community and their straight supporters began with an attack by the police. The community came together to demand their group rights; the struggle was collective, but you conveniently ignore that because it doesn’t feed your revisionist narrative.

However, back to the main game. It is worth reading these passages a couple of times. I’ve been staring at them all afternoon and here’s my interpretation. I think it’s reasonable and perhaps, if I’m wrong you could point out where and why.

Is this what you mean Tim?

If people from “different cultural, ethnic or national backgrounds” express homophobic prejudice that might be hurtful or discriminatory to the LGBTI community then it is alright for the LGBTI community to “throw hostile verbal bombs” back at them?

Do you mean that it is OK for gay and lesbians to be racist as long as they go to Mardi Gras and have fun afterwards?

Do you think that most members of the LGBTI community are privileged white males just like you?

By “different” do you mean (among others) the Muslim community and non-white groups?

How do you think LGBTI people from “different cultural, ethnic or national backgrounds”  would feel about this?

Or do you actually think in some blinkered way that only real Australians can be LGBTI and that they don’t exist in other ethnic groups?

I can’t see how any answers to these questions can get you out of trouble.

It seems to me that by supporting repeal of Section 18C you are actually supporting the official state sanctioning of bullying.

Bullying: Using superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force them to do something;

to act the bully toward; domineer; habitually badgering smaller or weaker people.

If it’s not OK to bully LGBTI people (and I assume you don’t think it is), why then are you prepared to accept bullying of people based on racial, ethnic or national difference.

Don’t you think it’s time you acknowledged the contradictions in your position and resigned your tax-payer funded post?

4 Responses to Free speech fetishist Tim Wilson is nasty, racist and wrong: he should resign

  1. Matthew says:

    Oh give it a rest Martin you sanctimonious old bore.

  2. scrambo says:

    love the free speech matthew, something missing on every pro liberal website, enjoy

  3. Roger says:

    I agree entirely. I’m gay and I find Tim Wilson makes my skin crawl. He is a hypocrite. He is a racist, nasty right winged creep. His political beliefs are too extreme to hold that job.

  4. george says:

    He’s got Reagan in his bedroom. ..

    Enough said.

    Weird yet wonderful that Liberatarians are represented and Liberty with a gay man involves being a bigot to everyone else.

    He’s different at least!

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