Most Australians have never lived under an authoritarian dictatorship, and therefore we are largely ignorant of how quickly circumstances can descend. It was the great Russian novelist — Alexander Solzhenitsyn — who resolutely warned against such wishful thinking.
In Live Not By Lies, Rod Dreher draws us back to reality by diagnosing two troubling features of the current political climate in the West:
- The fallacious notion that the West cannot, and will not, never descend into a totalitarianism.
- The reality that government-censorship of non-state views is both the feature and precursor of authoritarian dictatorships.
It is because many in the West don’t recognise these facts that it is easy to turn a blind eye to the censorship of Christian organisations, such as the ACL.
Earlier this week, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) was banned from hiring a publicly funded venue in Albany, WA, because of their ‘politically motivated objectives.’
The ban follows an edict that was enforced by the McGowan government two days after their re-election. If this sounds frighteningly similar to the thought police in George Orwell’s 1984, that’s because it is.
Managing Director of the ACL — Martyn Iles — shared on Sky News this morning:
“It’s one rule for [Premier] Mark [McGowan] and one rule for everyone else.…the policy that the government has literally adopted for all of its publicly owned venues — which are all the best venues in WA — says that ‘if your views do not accord with the views of the state government, then you are cancelled. These are publicly owned, tax-payer funded venues.”
According to The Australian, the citizens of Albany contribute $400,000 of their taxes annually to the Perth Theatre Trust.
The DailyMail reports:
“Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has banned any group that disagrees with his government from hosting events in state-funded facilities. The exclusive venue hire policy was enforced just days after the state government’s definitive win in the March election.”
However, according to The Australian, prior to McGowan’s re-election, the very same facilities were rented out to WA Labor candidates.
The ACL has signalled that the WA Government’s behaviour violates non-discrimination laws contained within the 1984 Equal Opportunity Act, Section 62.
Only time will tell whether the ACL is successful in challenging the WA Government on its inconsistent application of anti-discrimination laws.
This development comes in addition to McGowan’s pre-election commitment to ‘ban gay conversion practices,’ which includes counselling Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction.
McGowan’s behaviour mirrors the censorship of Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party. During his reign, Mussolini’s mantra was:
“Everything for the state. Nothing against the state. Nothing outside the state.”
Australia is quickly becoming a nation in which only state-sanctioned opinions and convictions are permitted. The speed of the descent largely depends on whether Australians rise up to defend those who are being unlawfully discriminated against.