Silencing Dissent

Silencing Dissent

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How the Australian government is controlling public opinion and stifling debate.

For over a decade, the Howard government has found ways to silence its critics, one by one. Like the proverbial frog in boiling water, Australians have become accustomed to repeated attacks on respected individuals and organisations. For a government that claims to support freedom of speech and freedom of choice, only certain kinds of speech and choices appear to be acceptable.

Silencing Dissent uncovers the tactics used by John Howard and his colleagues to undermine dissenting and independent opinion. Bullying, intimidation, public denigration, threats of withdrawal of funding, personal harassment, increased government red tape and manipulation of the rules are all tools of the trade for a government that wants to keep a lid on public debate. The victims are charities, academics, researchers, journalists, judges, public sector organisations, even parliament itself.

Deeply disturbing, Silencing Dissent raises serious questions about the state of democracy in Australia.