The rise of political violence in Australia

It is valid to ask seriously what kind of society we are becoming. At the weekend vandals smashed windows at the office of the Queensland One Nation MP Mr David Dalgleish only a week after he was punched in the face in the street.

In Melbourne yesterday a rally by a legitimately registered political party had to be cancelled because a crew of screaming thugs successfully launched a violent attack on free speech. This is nothing to do with the policies of Pauline Hanson or the One Nation Party.

What this seems to be about is attacking the Prime Minister and those who hate free enterprise and personal responsibility and family life and financial prudence and it seems that these people are prepared to seize any pretext to attack John Howard who they see as standing between themselves and political power.

The watching world is entitled to expect that Australians do not attack police. The watching world is entitled to expect that Australians do not break up political party meetings. The watching world knows that the sort of disgraceful behaviour exhibited by these people yesterday takes place in dictatorships.

This is the way Mussolini's men behaved to break up Socialist rallies in 1923. This is the way Hitler's brownshirts behaved in 1934, Stalin's thugs did much the same thing in Poland, Hungry, Czechoslovakia and the Baltic States.

The print media and the ABC have been in the habit of describing such violence as "Clashes between protesters and One Nation supporters" as is to give the impression that One Nation supporters are equally to blame. Surely in Australia anyone is allowed to meet for any lawful purpose. Surely the propounding of political views whatever they may happen to be is a lawful purpose, or do we live in a country where political discussion is replaced with the clenched fist?

This is for us to decide.

If we can't accommodate differing views then we make a mockery of the concept of a free society.

I'm Alan Jones

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