Free speech – left, right want it for people they agree with

Free speech is being freely debated again.

Political Roundup: Chelsea Manning visit exposes hypocrisy on left and right

The latest free speech debate – ignited by the National Party opposing Chelsea Manning coming to speak in New Zealand next month – illustrates that many on the political left and right are actually in broad agreement in their desire to severely limit free speech when it suits them.

All they differ on is who should be allowed the right to speak. In the case of the left, they generally want the likes of the recent Canadian alt-right speakers suppressed. The political right wants anti-war dissidents like Chelsea Manning kept out.

There has been some criticism of this on Twitter:

@MJWhitehead :

Gosh it’s almost like people told you the entire time that this was bad-faith political partisanship from the right-wing and not a genuine concern for frozen peaches, Bryce. Come off it.

You’ll also note that the locus of the left-wing debate was “should they have a right to a platform through a venue,” and largely not “should they be turned away at the airport.” National has no such qualms.

And, I do actually believe right-wingers when they say they care about free speech, I just don’t believe they’ll prioritize it as much as we do when it comes into conflict with other values- Woodhouse has shown that even *respectability politics* trumps it for them.

“I just don’t believe they’ll prioritize it as much as we do” suggests that Matthew sees himself as a spokesperson for ‘the left’.

But he is generalising somewhat claiming “the locus of the left-wing debate” and “largely not”.

While Edwards is also guilty of over-generalising he is largely correct in saying “All they differ on is who should be allowed the right to speak”.

I’ve seen a lot of people from the left (notably Golriz Ghahraman) who speak strongly againts peeople they don’t agree with from being allowed to come to New Zealand to speak, while staunchly supporting people they agree with.

Michael Woodhouse has merely highlighted that it is often people getting confused over championing free speech versus championing their politics and preferences.

 

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42 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  August 30, 2018

    NewStalk ZB reported around 8 am that it appears Australia is going to ban Chelsea Manning from entry on character grounds.

    Also being reported by RNZ: “The Australian government is preparing to ban US whistleblower Chelsea Manning from entering the country for a speaking tour.”
    More …
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/365242/australia-preparing-to-ban-us-whistleblower-chelsea-manning

    Reply
    • sorethumb

       /  August 30, 2018

      I’m not sure of the details of the Womanning case but it appears to me [the crazy person] was an irresponsible mass dumper?

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  August 30, 2018

        Pete generally deletes comments where people are mis-named (or in this case, mal-named).

        Reply
  2. Ray

     /  August 30, 2018

    The Left really, really don’t want to hear dissenting voices and will ban them from venues, make so much actual noise no one can hear them or threaten with bombs or violence to make sure we don’t hear them.
    The right just point out that if you have a criminal record you require a special dispensation to enter our country.
    One is not the same as the other.

    Reply
    • Beat me to it. Corky made this very point the other day.

      Banning entry on ‘character grounds’ is just the same meaningless, indefinable, invented waffle that the UK trotted out for banning Southern, translating as “We really, really do not want the peasants to hear dissenting voices”.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  August 30, 2018

        Good character in the immigration sense, means:

        “IMMIGRATION NEW ZEALAND
        Good character for temporary visas
        To apply for a work, student or visitor visa, you must be of good character.

        Applicants for all visas must be of good character, not pose a security risk and not threaten New Zealand’s international reputation.

        People with serious character issues can’t be granted any visa or entry permission, except in very special circumstances.

        People with other character issues must have the good character requirement waived before they can be granted a temporary visa.

        Serious character issues
        You can’t be granted a visa if you:
        – have ever been convicted of an offence for which you were sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 5 years or more
        – have been convicted in the last 10 years of an offence for which you were sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months or longer
        – are prohibited from entering New Zealand
        – have ever been removed, excluded or deported from any country.

        You will also not be granted a visa if we have reason to believe you:
        – are likely to commit an offence in New Zealand that is punishable by imprisonment
        – are likely to be a risk to security
        – are likely to be a threat to public order
        – are likely to be a risk to the public interest.

        If you have a serious character issue, you are normally ineligible to be granted a visa unless we grant you a special direction.

        Character issues that require a character waiver
        You will also not meet our character requirements for a temporary visa if you:

        – have ever been convicted of an offence against immigration, citizenship or passport laws in any country
        – have ever made or provided false or misleading information, or withheld material information when applying for a New Zealand visa, or when supporting another person’s New Zealand visa application
        – have ever been convicted of an offence for which you have been imprisoned
        – have ever been convicted of an offence in New Zealand for which the court had the power to imprison you for three months or longer
        – are under investigation, wanted for questioning, or have been charged with an offence which, if you are convicted, has a term of imprisonment of 12 months or longer.

        If your character may prevent us from granting you a visa, you should provide a full explanation about your character issue with supporting evidence when you apply.

        We will use this information to consider waiving the character requirement or granting a special direction for very serious character issues.”

        Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  August 30, 2018

          “If you have a serious character issue, you are normally ineligible to be granted a visa unless we grant you a special direction.”
          Let’s leave this up to those charged with making such a decision (that’s not Woodhouse et al).

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  August 30, 2018

            Well, exactly. An ex-Immigration Minister has no business directing Immigration New Zealand or the current Minister of Immigration what decision they should make on a discretionary exemption.

            Most likely
            1. Attention-seeking
            2. Helping divert public attention from some other scandal for National.

            Reply
            • High Flying Duck

               /  August 30, 2018

              Woodhouse was just pointing out this:

              Serious character issues
              You can’t be granted a visa if you:
              – have ever been convicted of an offence for which you were sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 5 years or more
              – have been convicted in the last 10 years of an offence for which you were sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months or longer
              – are prohibited from entering New Zealand
              – have ever been removed, excluded or deported from any country.

              It’s not a discretion here other than at Government level. Immigration can’t let her in under the rules.

              You’re being a bit harsh on Woodhouse IMO.

            • Blazer

               /  August 30, 2018

              Training Communist spies and falsifying residency applications is a good qualification for entering Parliament…though…on the condition you are a good fundraiser for National.
              What ‘character’.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  August 30, 2018

              Graeme Edgeler has tweeted that right of entry is still a decision made by officials, even where S17(1)(a) is triggered:

            • Gezza

               /  August 30, 2018

              Woodhouse was just pointing out … serious character issues

              Don’t be dense, HFD. Do you think Immigration New Zealand officers and the Minister of Immigration don’t know this? For heaven’s sake man. it’s their feckin job.

        • NOEL

           /  August 30, 2018

          Shouldn’t “can’t” be substituted with “may”.

          Reply
    • Blazer

       /  August 30, 2018

      people in NZ with criminal convictions have Knighthoods FFS!

      Reply
      • Ray

         /  August 30, 2018

        And have the same problems that all people with serious criminal records have when it comes to entering other countries.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  August 30, 2018

          are you aware that knights of the realm have a ‘special’ passport?

          Reply
          • High Flying Duck

             /  August 30, 2018

            Do they? Link?

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  August 30, 2018

              I may be wrong I always though they were issued these…

            • High Flying Duck

               /  August 30, 2018

              Diplomatic passports are issued to New Zealand diplomats, top ranking government officials and diplomatic couriers.
              Note: Holders of a diplomatic / official passport must use their ordinary passport if their travel is for non-official / diplomatic reasons.

              Easy mistake to make. I only knew those existed because of the ridiculous Clarke Gayford rumours which mentioned he “had to use a diplomatic passport” to gain entry to other countries.

            • Corky

               /  August 30, 2018

              You can diplomatic passports from certain countries. However, some services may be expected of you.

            • Corky

               /  August 30, 2018

              *buy*

      • robertguyton

         /  August 30, 2018

        And there are people in NZ with knighthoods who have yet to collect their criminal conviction, it is said.

        Reply
  3. robertguyton

     /  August 30, 2018

    If Manning can be granted a special dispensation to enter, National need have nothing to say on the issue. They have though, for political and ideological reasons.

    Reply
  4. bjoneskiwi

     /  August 30, 2018

    I don’t care if she speaks or not, she should be allowed to in the same way the Canadian pair should have been able to, without the frenzied protests and banning from venues.

    However as a convicted felon she fails the visa test –

    – have ever been convicted of an offence for which you were sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 5 years or more
    – have been convicted in the last 10 years of an offence for which you were sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months or longer

    and also this one if Oz refuse her a visa –

    – have ever been removed, excluded or deported from any country.

    If the Minister wants to grant her an exception and allow her a visa then great, she should be allowed to visit and speak wherever she likes.

    Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 30, 2018

    Gezza will correct me if I am wrong but my impression is that of you fail on one or more of the character tests you may still be granted a visa if you persuade immigration that you are no longer a risk for further violations.

    Seems to me Manning has a reasonable chance of achieving that and the normal process should have been allowed to take its course without this obnoxious grandstanding from National.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  August 30, 2018

      It’s probably a weighing and balancing decision – pros and cons. I imagine the main consideration for an exemption by special direction in this case is probably is the type of offences & their seriousness. It would probably go without saying Manning wouldn’t be contemplating further violations as she is in no situation to have access to any more classified information to release. I’m going to be interested to see what the decision eventually is.

      Reply
  6. Tipene

     /  August 30, 2018

    Officials may be charged with making a decision, but it’s the “thugs veto” that currently determines the ultimate outcome of the decision made.

    Reply
  7. Tipene

     /  August 30, 2018

    Oh, and just so we are clear: Mannings a bloke (i.e. HE). Just because I might dress yellow and bend at the waist doesn’t make me a banana.

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  August 30, 2018

      If you dress yellow and bend at the waist, I think you are… an ACT voter.

      Reply

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