An interesting conversation with my son, which was initiated by the latter, turned into a debate about whether Freedom of Expression is anti-government or not. An educator had brought a particular scenario to the attention of his students where a statement made by an adult was deemed anti-government. I was quick to point out that if pointing out the inequities, inconsistencies or flaws in a system were regarded as taking a stance against the government, then the opposition party would be non-existent in the parliament as the chief function of the opposition party is to “scrutinise the work of the government. ask the government to explain its actions. debate bills in the Parliament.”
This reminded me of another instance which could be regarded as anti-government. Being an educator and a member of the New South Wales Teacher’s Federation, I have had a few opportunities to participate in what is called teacher’s strike or stop work. All the educators who partook in the stop work were expressing their disapproval of the government’s refusal to increase teachers’ pay and hence indulged in a collective action against the government by refusing to work for a specific period of time. Making an honest opinion about particular state of affairs should be encouraged for the sake of accountability if not for any other reason.
If citizens have a right to vote and elect a government, it would seem fair that they have a say about government policies, initiatives, actions, decisions, especially if these have a huge impact on them. It would be preposterous to interpret the voters opinions or criticism of the government they have elected to power as anti-nationalist in nature. We should have the freedom of expression which not only includes freedom of speech, the right to assemble and other important ways of expressing ideas and opinions. Australia does not have freedom of speech with the exception of political speech. While browsing for relevant videos to enhance my understanding of the freedom of expression in Australia, I stumbled upon this video clip. The youTuber has left no stone unturned to reveal all significant issues pivoting around Freedom of Speech and her brutal honesty does not render her anti-government.
If Human rights are defined as “rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status” and if Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more then why should we be denied this right?