Release: Keneally, Wong & Ayatollah Khomeni: Peas in the Same Pod

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA) today condemned smear attacks by failed NSW Labor Premier and current Senator Kristina Keneally and Labor Senator Penny Wong on politicians and public figures who are attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference to be held in Sydney from Aug 9-11 and proudly supported by the ATA.

Noting Senators Wong and Keneally’s calls to ban political activist and former Muslim Raheem Kassam from entering Australia, ATA Policy Director Satya Marar said “It’s disgusting and deplorable that Senators Wong and Keneally are supporting anti-blasphemy laws by calling for someone from an ethnic minority to be denied admission to Australia for criticising the religion which he was raised with.”

“The Senators’ bigoted views are in-line with those of theocrat dictators and religious zealots like Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeni who believe that religious ideologies and belief systems should be exempt from criticism and not subject to the same battle of ideas to which we subject any other kind of belief or ideology.

“What message does this send to the many refugees who’ve fled to our shores from countries like Iran, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, who’ve escaped places where they could be killed for exercising their free speech under laws policing blasphemy?

“While we don’t necessarily agree with Kassam’s comments, in the same way that we don’t necessarily agree with those of Richard Dawkins, ideological and theological debates are important to any functioning liberal democracy. Will Senators Keneally and Wong condemn Kassam’s fellow apostate and human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali next because her views and advocacy risk causing offense?

“Perhaps Senators Keneally and Wong should put Iran-esque thought crime policing and McCarthyian guilt-by-association smears against their opponents aside. Perhaps they should instead focus on the genuine interests of working-class Labor voters by taking the government to task for their failure to index income tax brackets permanently to inflation: a failure that takes more money out of workers’ pockets every year without improvements in real wages or living standards.” 

“But what would I know? I’m just a brown man with right-of-centre views who thinks that free speech is a principle worth upholding.”

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Brian Marlow