Free Speech Coalition writes: Axiomatic Events director, Dave Pellowe, has sent Victoria Police a letter explaining why he is refusing to pay the invoice for $67,842.50 they sent Axiomatic for police services outside the Lauren Southern & Stefan Molyneux Live event in Melbourne on 20 July.
The letter from Axiomatic’s solicitor highlights concerns that, despite the skill and bravery of police on the ground in dealing with the violent behaviour of extremist individuals and organisations like Antifa, the government appears to blame the victim. Such a penalty gives the appearance of enabling the Thugs’ Veto, adding to the injuries extremists can inflict by inciting such protests.
Mr Pellowe is concerned that simply paying the crippling bill would create a precedent by which other event organisers around Australia will change or even cancel their plans to hold political events which might attract the unwanted attention of extremists, and subsequently an enormous bill from law enforcement.
“The Andrews government has the gall to call this ‘user pays’ policing, but the reality is that it’s victim-blaming. Our event was a normal sized crowd in a venue that routinely hosts such crowds. We broke no laws and went above and beyond to cooperate with police, and greatly appreciate the work they do. But if Police Minister Lisa Neville is looking for creative ways to fundraise for Victoria Police she can keep looking. The fair and just way to go about it would be to issue a $1,000 fine to every thug who blocked the highway, who abused & intimidated the mums, dads and kids who came along, who damaged private property and turned Melbourne into a Berkeley war zone. Sending us the bill for their lawlessness appears to be simply enabling the Thugs’ Veto.”
Axiomatic’s letter to Victoria Police further explains that their legal advice has been that if the Andrews government wanted to pursue the matter in Courts they would likely lose because the invoice radically undermines the practical exercise of common law rights and freedoms. The letter states, “The imposition of fees for the performance of essential police purposes is unlawful,” and quotes the Victoria Police Act (2013).
“The role of Victoria Police is to serve the Victorian Community and uphold the law so as to promote a safe, secure and orderly society.”
Mr Pellowe stated that not only is there at least one YouTube video of an extremist boasting of his contributions to the behaviour that saw Victoria Police invoice Axiomatic for keeping the peace and recruiting others to do the same in Brisbane, but that he’s already been informed of other political groups changing their plans to specifically avoid a “$68,000 police bill”.
“The effect this has on important public debates is devastating. We cannot let this stand. I implore Premier Daniel Andrews and Police Minister Lisa Neville to commit to upholding the peace at future political events without blaming the victims and to reconsider the comfort they’re inadvertently lending to the Thugs’ Veto.”
To sign the petition and donate to the legal fighting fund, please visit FreeSpeechCoalition.info.