Free Speech A Priority

February 10, 2018

Lyle Shelton isn’t finished yet with his campaign to rally conservatives opposing the so-called “Safe Schools” program in Queensland state schools.

The Courier Mail reports today Shelton (pictured with his wife Wendy) said, “We are looking for a clear statement from the Palaszczuk Government."

“The State Government in Queensland still hasn’t disavowed itself of the so-called Safe Schools program,” he said.

The Courier Mail reports that Shelton has something else going for him: He is eloquent and committed. No wonder he is regularly vilified by social media trolls.

Shelton was a leader of the “No” campaign in the marriage plebiscite and still has unfinished business there. He believes there will be a lot of “buyer remorse” with many coming to regret voting “Yes”.

He rejects suggestions he is a homophobe. “That’s just a slur designed to bully and intimidate people into silence,” he said.

“I should be free to talk about those ideas without being labelled a bigot or a homophobe.”

He said calling someone a bigot, a climate change denier or a homophobe was a tactic to block debate.

“We have to get these slurs out of public discourse and have evidence-based discussions in a calm, civil matter.”

Conservatives, he said, were routinely demonised by the media, “by the elites in the commentariat”.

“There is very little diversity in their thinking. Instead of having a debate they use slurs and labels to shut debate down. We are committing intellectual suicide when we give in to that."

“A free society can only exist when there is a contest of ideas.”

Shelton said the Human Rights Commission and similar state tribunals had become tools to silence and punish people.

He said prime examples were the persecution of the QUT students and the antidiscrimination action against Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, simply for opposing same-sex marriage.

Controversially, Shelton said the marriage debate was not really about marriage. “It’s about de-authorising conservative points of view in society,” he said.

“If you change something as fundamental as the definition of marriage, and then make it hate speech to advocate for the traditional definition, you exercise massive legal and thought control over a large cohort of the population.”

He said the Turnbull Government admitted there was a loss of freedom by having an investigation into how to deal with the loss.

"They have given (retired cabinet minister) Phillip Ruddock the task of trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again,” he said.

Shelton added: “Unfortunately the Liberal and National parties are not strong enough in standing up against them."

“That is why we need the leadership offered by the Australian Conservatives.”

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