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A festival of freedom-loving ideas, yet Labor wants to gag it

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Labor has lost seven of the last nine federal elections. When will it learn crudely demonising opponents alienates middle Australia? This weekend the Conservative Political Action Conference comes to Australia. It’s the first time conservatives will convene under the CPAC banner outside the United States. Labor Senator Kristina Keneally calls it a "talkfest of hate" and the "normalisation of the extreme right wing in Australia".

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev with then US president Ronald Reagan in 1985 ... the Soviets embraced his success.Credit:AP

But what is CPAC? It is the right-of-centre equivalent of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (which invites thoughtful speakers on a range of subjects that are almost entirely lefties).

Keneally proposes one of the speakers, Raheem Kassam, be denied a visa to attend because of inflammatory comments about Islam. Kassam is an ex-Muslim and apostates are routinely the most critical of their former faith … but CPAC USA has previously invited Atheists for America, a group that is equally critical of Christianity.

CPAC-Australia will feature 29 speakers over the three days (including a Muslim and two Aboriginals). Four are Americans and unsurprisingly are pro-gun. Gun rights aren’t a contentious issue in Australia but should we not listen to speakers with whom we do........

© The Sydney Morning Herald