Thursday, 19 December 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, your new "Freedom Commissioner" Tim Wilson

The Abbott Government lurches from one bad ideological decision to another.

This time it is Australian Attorney-General George Brandis’ appointment of Tim Wilson as a new Human Rights Commissioner aka Freedom Commissioner - reportedly a $325,000-a-year position.

Mr. Wilson will be joining the Human Rights Commission as its seventh commissioner and, is already known to be particularly concerned to support Liberal approaches to freedom of speech.

It is reported that he resigned from the IPA and also from the Liberal Party in the wake of his appointment this week by Attorney-General George Brandis.

This controversial stance hints at stormy waters ahead.

The Australian 18 December 2013:

The commission's president Gillian Triggs today warned Mr Wilson, who was hand-picked by Attorney-General George Brandis, that the commission must speak with one voice and be independent of government.
She said Mr Wilson, a former Liberal Party member and Institute of Public Affairs chief, would bring "fresh air'' to the body as one of seven human rights commissioners.
"But I think it must be stressed that ultimately ... we have ultimately to agree on a single policy,'' she told ABC radio.
Mr Wilson believes section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which prevents people from being offended or insulted on the grounds of race, should be "unambiguously repealed''.
"I have been appointed to the role with the full knowledge of my view and I expect a reasonable accommodation of those views with respect to what the commission's position is,'' he told The Australian.
But Professor Triggs said section 18C of the Act should be "tweaked'' rather than abolished.
"We have a legal obligation internationally and under the treaties to implement legislation that protects people from racial vilification in public. That is all 18C purports to do,'' she said.
"Of course it is possible to tweak it, to amend it, to take language out and to put new language in that strengthens it - all of that we of course fully support as a matter of law.''
She said the Human Rights Commission "isn't a place for party political rhetoric'', and must be independent of government.
"We are not here to give effect to government policy as such, we are here to monitor compliance by Australia with its international obligations to human rights,'' Professor Triggs said.
Senator Brandis has promised to repeal or amend Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act so speech that is found to be offensive and insulting is no longer defined as racial vilification.
The move will change the definition of racial vilification to eliminate at least two of the grounds that were used in a court ruling against Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt over articles about light-skinned Aboriginal people.
Professor Triggs said: "My understanding is that the Attorney is consulting and he will make up his own mind whether he decides to keep the provision and amend it, which we think is probably the better outcome.''
But Mr Wilson said the section represented an unjustifiable limit on free speech and should be struck out entirely.
"Obviously I have a very strong and different view, and I am planning to prosecute that within the commission,'' he said....

Then there is this previous anti-free speech/anti-political comment stance by Mr. Wilson on his own Twitter account in October 2011.

Click on all images to enlarge

As well as the fact he appears to be a stalking horse for the Institute of Public Affairs in its efforts to completely abolish the Human Rights Commission.

Freedom Watch IPA 17 December 2013:

The Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs, John Roskam, welcomed today’s announcement by the Commonwealth Attorney-General, George Brandis that Tim Wilson, Policy Director at the IPA, will be Australia’s next Human Rights Commissioner.
“Tim Wilson is a proud, passionate, and uncompromising voice for a classical liberal approach to human rights. Australia needs his voice in public debate now more than ever,” John Roskam said.
“Tim Wilson’s appointment offers the Australian Human Rights Commission an opportunity to prove it can do something which it has so far failed to do, namely defend the human rights of individuals against attacks on those rights by the state.”
“Fundamental human rights like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association have been under attack in Australia by federal and state governments and the Human Rights Commission has stood silent. The Gillard government’s so-called ‘anti-discrimination’ law is an example of how instead of defending human rights the Commission was a willing accessory in attempts to expand government control over what Australians can say and hear and do.”
“The Gillard government’s ‘anti-discrimination’ law would have made it unlawful to express a political opinion that offended someone. That law also reversed the onus of proof, and removed the right to legal representation of people accused of breaking the law. Instead of condemning the law, the Human Rights Commission said this assault on human rights didn’t go far enough.
“The Commission has also said nothing about the erosion of farmers’ property rights by native vegetation laws. Likewise the Commission was missing in action when Stephen Conroy proposed to take away freedom of the press and when he tried to censor the internet.”
“The IPA has called for the Commission to be abolished, or at the very least, for Freedom Commissioners to be appointed to balance the four existing Anti-Discrimination Commissioners.”
“Tim has been an outstanding advocate for freedom in the seven years he has been at the IPA. The Board and staff congratulate him on his appointment and wish him well on taking up this important role at a time when human rights need to be defended,” said Mr Roskam.
The IPA will soon release a major report on those provisions in Commonwealth laws which undermine fundamental legal rights such as the right to silence, the presumption of innocence, and the right to natural justice.
For further information and comment: John Roskam, Executive Director, Institute of Public Affairs, 0415 475 673,

Our new Human Rights Commissioner is also not backward in flaunting to the world his liking for liquor and his apparent penchant for drinking alone........


The Sydney Morning Herald 21 December 2013:

Alone among the seven commissioners of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Tim Wilson never had to apply for the job. He never had to sit for an interview, be screened by an expert panel, or undergo the rigorous weeks-long selection process that applied to the others.
Instead, Attorney-General George Brandis rang him up a couple of weeks ago and asked if he was interested. He took 24 hours to think about it and consult his partner Ryan, (a Melbourne primary school teacher) before saying yes. By Monday it was official, and the twitterverse went into meltdown. So hasty was the cabinet appointment, the formalities of submitting it to the Governor-General will not be conducted until early next year.
Wilson, 33, says he was shocked to discover what he'll earn in his new job - more than $320,000 a year, close to the $340,000 paid to a federal court judge. Even John Roskam, head of the right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs - from which Wilson was plucked - finds the amount ''obscene'', though he extols the virtues of his former employee.
''I think it's most appropriate that Tim is there,'' Roskam said this week. ''[The IPA] still think the Human Rights Commission should be abolished, but if it is going to exist, you want people with a range of life and political experiences.''....

The Sydney Morning Herald 23 December 2013:

Tim Wilson's appointment as human rights commissioner could lead to cuts to a program on school bullying as the Australian Human Rights Commission accommodates his six-figure salary without any extra funding from the government.
The incoming human rights commissioner, who is due to take up his position in February, will be paid about $320,000 - a sum equal to that of his fellow commissioners, though less than the commission's president, Gillian Triggs.
On Sunday, Professor Triggs said Mr Wilson's salary would have to come out of the commission's annual budget of about $25 million.
''This really does squeeze the commission,'' she said.
Professor Triggs said she and the other commissioners would meet in January to decide where cuts would come from to make room for Mr Wilson's salary but suggested an anti-bullying program and a program on education for older Australians might be in the firing line.
She said that an inquiry into asylum seeker children held in detention would still go ahead.
The commission had not anticipated it would have to pay Mr Wilson's salary as new appointees usually came with extra federal government funding, a spokesman said. The commission also had no funding set aside for the position as it has recently been filled by commissioners also performing another role.

1 comment:

John Fraser said...


Another Murdoch twat to destroy the gains Australia has made.

"Murdoch and Abbott lied to Australians".