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Real leaders needed to protect free speech and protest

3 0 0
05.11.2019

Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:

I commend Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes for breaking ranks with other corporate leaders and dismissing the Morrison government's plan to stop protesters boycotting companies they oppose (''Atlassian founder slams PM's crackdown'', November 5).

All major changes which have benefited society and the planet have come about by people protesting. As the late Christopher Hitchens wisely observed it is important we “never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity … the grave will supply plenty of time for silence”.

We need more leaders like Cannon-Brookes now more than ever. - Narelle Ryan, Woollahra

Cannon-Brookes is absolutely right in saying that people have the right to protest strongly about companies that wilfully ignore the stark realities of climate change. As he says, Morrison's plan to criminalise protests and boycotts against businesses that deal with coal companies denies "a basic right". It is also a threat to free speech and public debate, the freedom of peaceful assembly, and possibly to democracy itself.

Cannon-Brookes is only partly right in observing that the Morrison government "is [all] quiet on the climate" front: it is doing absolutely nothing. The PM is seeking to halt – or reverse – progress, and cannot tolerate views that conflict with his own. - Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin, ACT

Mike Cannon Brookes.Credit:Bloomberg

Women were imprisoned, tortured and died to get the vote. Abolitionists fought and died to stop slavery ("Anti-protest 'thought bubble' hints at more sinister intent", November 5).

Climate change is a moral issue of that order, and as the glaciers melt and the fires burn Australians (quiet and loud) are galvanised by the lack of federal government action. Some will take to the streets and others will take to the companies. All of us should take to Scott Morrison to oppose his inflammatory and despotic plan to halter and hogtie free speech and protest. - Deb McPherson, Gerringong

The leaders of the federal and state Liberal parties believe we should follow themwithout question. This includes their unquestioning kowtowing to big business. This is a problem because the best interests of big business are not always the best interests of Australia. - Graham Hansen, Denistone

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

Scott Morrison was lucky to win the last election, calling it a victory for "quiet" Australians. But he doesn't seem to get it that the environment is a concern for the silent majority. As John Howard overreached on Work Choice reforms and lost 2007 election, Morrison could easily lose the next poll if he keeps banging on with muzzling voters protests with draconian laws. - Mukul Desai, Hunters Hill

Morrison’s claim to govern for the “quiet Australians” has taken a sinister turn, as it becomes more and more obvious that he’s determined to make us all quiet. - Alan Marel, North Curl Curl

Our current government doesn't seem to like criticism or public protest, now they want to protect businesses from boycotts. At one time businesses used slavery, asbestos and child labor. What if they had been protected by anti-protest and boycott laws? - Paul Doyle, Glenbrook

If there is a sign-up sheet for dissenters to federal government attempts to impose its discriminatory will upon us, please let me know where to find it. I'm 76,........

© The Sydney Morning Herald