Another Conservative victory for free speech

August 16, 2018

The Senate has passed Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi's motion upholding free speech for doctors after a last-minute push from the Australian Medical Association to ensure doctors do not lose freedom of speech rights under the Medical Board’s proposed new code of conduct.

The motion passed after Toowoomba Doctor David van Gend (pictured) was placed under investigation by the board’s policing arm, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, for expressing views on social media about the ethics of teaching children that their gender is fluid.

Conservative Party Queensland Senate candidate Lyle Shelton welcomed the Senate's recognition that the Medical Board’s new draft code “could be seen as trying to control what doctors say in the public arena by stifling doctors’ right to publicly express both personal and professional opinions, while also undermining doctors’ contribution to the diversity of public opinion, debate, and discourse”.

“Doctors must be free to engage in contentious political debates and it is good to see the AMA recognising this in the face of the board’s move to gag them,” Mr Shelton said.

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