DO YOU BELIEVE IN FREE SPEECH?
Unelected bureaucrats and the Labor Party have been uncovered running a covert and coordinated political operation out of the Attorney-General’s department designed to silence conservatives and libertarians.
I became their first victim. I'm determined there will be no others.
My name is Andrew Cooper and I am the President of LibertyWorks , a free market not-for-profit organisation which hosted the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC ) conference in Sydney in August – the one that Kristina Keneally and her Labor mates tried to shut down.
30 July 19 - Kristina Keneally calls for CPAC speakers from the USA and UK to be banned during a 10 min speech to parliament. Anthony Albanese, Penny Wong and Richard Marles joined in. The diatribe continues for two weeks.
2 Aug - Former PM Tony Abbott and myself are emailed letters from the Attorney General's department suggesting we each may be "under foreign influence" from CPAC sponsor the American Conservative Union (ACU) and that we should register with the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme (FITS) - the scheme set up to stop Chinese influence over Australian Politics.
Both Mr Abbott and I refused to register.
9-11 Aug - A sold out CPAC goes ahead despite the attempts by violent Antifa protesters to shut it down, egged on by Senator Keneally.
22 Oct - I am served a Section 45(2) Notice demanding thousands of confidential emails between CPAC speakers, delegates, myself and ACU be handed over to the AG's office - within 14 days. The letter states "that failure to comply could result in referral to the Federal Police for criminal prosecution and up to 6 months jail".
Despite being certain that I have breached no laws, including the FITS Act, I considered it impossible to hand over confidential emails and communications with political leaders such as Nigel Farage of the UK's Brexit Party, Tony Abbott or US Congressman Mark Meadows. It smacks of our own bureaucrats meddling in the affairs of Australia's closest allies and security partners. I will continue to refuse to comply.
28 Jan - The Institute of Public Affairs receive documents from a FOI request that show Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus secretly met with the FITS enforcement bureaucrats and directed them to investigate CPAC - back on 22 July 19!
So the reasons for Kristina Keneally's verbal attacks on CPAC becomes crystal clear; it was all coordinated and run by the Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus in secret collusion with bureaucrats inside Attorney General Christian Porter's own department.
I am the only person ever to be served with the Section 45(2) Notice and demand for documents under threat of jail. Think about that. No Confucius Institute, no insidious Chinese actors or foreign aligned organisations at all, no GetUp! and no other left-wing organisations. Just me because LibertyWorks dared to host CPAC, a talkfest for conservatives and libertarians.
HOW CAN IT HAPPEN?
I believe that foreign influence over our political system is a growing concern that needs to be dealt with seriously. The coalition government introduced the FITS Act in late 2018 and was supported by Labor as a mechanism to deal with the problem. While the intent of the Act was pure the language and terminology is loose allowing bureaucrats wide ranging powers to investigate anyone based on suspicion, not facts. They can demand material without proper cause and use the threat of jail to intimidate and harass individuals (as happened with me).
WHY THE HIGH COURT CASE IS CRITICAL
No unelected bureaucrats should be able to wield such power over people, especially when they are taking direction from politicians. The application of the Act has clearly been politicised.
The FITS Act is a weapon of mass destruction over free speech. It seems certain that if Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus is prepared to secretly direct bureaucrats inside the AG's department to attack conservatives and libertarians whilst in opposition, he will "release the hounds" if/when he becomes actual Attorney General.
We have launched the High Court Challenge to ensure that one of Australia's founding principles, clearly implied in the constitution, is protected - that we should be free to speak. And that those who do speak - whether from the left or the right - should not be intimidated, threatened or harassed by unelected public servants conducting witch hunts.
HOW CAN WE PAY FOR IT?
Our legal team headed by the eminent Peter Dunning QC, former solicitor-general of Queensland, and instructing lawyers Speed & Stracey have both generously volunteered to act substantially on contingency basis. They believe so much in this cause and hold grave concerns over the application of the legislation. But High Court cases are still not cheap.
LibertyWorks is a small grassroots run nonprofit organisation - our people are volunteers, we run CPAC and other events with the support of volunteers. And now we need your support to now run this High Court challenge.
Please ask yourself... do you believe in free speech? If so, help us to remove this illiberal weapon against free speech. Helps us protect free speech.
Invest in Free Speech Now >>>
Where will the funds go?
The length of time and resources required for any legal case, particularly a High Court matter, are always uncertain. However, based on our legal advise, total funds will be expended as follows:
Filing and lodgement fees: approximately $20,000
Hard cost legal and administrative fees: approximately $30,000
Management expenses, promotion and staffing costs: approximately $35,000
Discounted law firm and barrister's fees: approximately $100,000 (down from circa $400,000)
Note - in the event of unexpended funds, the surplus will be applied to expanding CPAC Australia Conference to create an even bigger platform for conservatives and libertarians to speak.
In the News:
5/2/20 -High Court to Rule of Foreign Influence Laws
31/2/20 - How Labor’s top lawyer Mark Dreyfus steered bureaucrats against ex-PM Tony Abbott
2/11/19 - Tony Abbott declares: I'm not an agent of foreign influence
2/11/19 - Tony Abbott says he was asked to register as a foreign influencer before CPAC
- Rodney Reincastle
- Nigel Richards
- Steve Cranitch
- Pam Pownall
- David Fielding
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