Enemies of free speech feel emboldened
Don Brash letter to free speech coalition supporters
Tomorrow I was due to speak to members of Massey University’s Politics Society in Palmerston North. I was invited by the group two and a half months ago to speak about my experience as Leader of the National Party.
This morning, the University’s Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas announced the University has cancelled the booking due to “security concerns”, my involvement with Hobson’s Pledge, and my views on Māori wards on councils, which she says “come dangerously close to hate speech” and fail to recognise “the values of a Tiriti o Waitangi-led organisation”.
She also references my “support” of Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux (which was in fact merely support of their right to speak, not an endorsement of their views).
I believe the Vice-Chancellor’s position is a disgraceful contradiction of publicly-funded universities’ role in hosting robust debate and the free exchange of ideas.
On Thursday night I am scheduled to take part in a debate at the University of Auckland. We now fear that the University of Auckland too will give in to the vocal minority. The University must commit to providing a secure environment for free speech, lest it spark a domino effect that will wipe away the long-standing tradition of free expression on university campuses.
These issues are not going away, and nor are they limited to university campuses. The following visits from international speakers are now all vulnerable to the “thug’s veto”, by which anyone can shut down speech they disagree with by threatening violent protest:
Douglas Murray, Aotea Centre, August 17
• Nigel Farage, SkyCity, September 4
• Pauline Hanson, venue TBC, November
• Jordan Peterson, venue TBC, February
It is clear that the thugs have been emboldened by Auckland Council’s capitulation to protesters of the Southern/Molyneux event. This is why we are continuing our fight to defend free speech.
Thank you for your support,
Free Speech Coalition