On December 12, Queenslanders Daniel and Stacey Train ambushed and killed two police officers and a bystander. It was an awful event, and I am very sorry for the fatalities. I have never, and never will, condone violence in any form, but I am concerned that the crimes are being used to push a political agenda against anyone who questions the government. The response seems to have been politicized in a way that is deeply concerning and disrespectful to those who have suffered.
In the wake of the tragedies, there has been continual use of broad slogans like anti-government, anti-vax, anti-authority, sovereign citizens, and conspiracy theorists. There are even mentions of the freedom rallies in association with the killings.
Worse, the police are trying to stoke prejudice in the community and get citizens to spy on each other. Queensland’s Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford has suggested that neighbours need to assume anyone who harbors non-mainstream views is a threat: “If there’s anybody out there that knows of someone that might be showing concerning behaviour around conspiracy theories, anti-government, anti-police, conspiracy theories around COVID-19 vaccination … we want to know about that. And you can either contact the police directly or go through Crime Stoppers”.
As someone who is an open spokesperson for freedom of speech, protest, and bodily autonomy, this is deeply concerning to me. This is not just from an activist point of view, but from a personal one. Will they use this to criminalize our freedom to have opinions on such topics? By claiming it could lead to violent behaviour somehow? As I am somewhat of a “face” for the movement, will they target me again?
It is entirely appropriate for police to investigate the online history of the criminals. But, to state the obvious, it does not mean that others who might have similar views are inclined to violence. Any suggestion along those lines is a disgraceful attempt at guilt by association. There were literally millions of Australians who attended the—entirely peaceful—rallies who did not commit acts of violence. They only had concerns about having their freedoms and medical choices being taken away. If there was political violence, it was being committed by the authorities.
Our leaders have intentionally targeted a huge portion of the Australian population. I was in Canberra last year where there were at least 500,000 attendees. There were 600,000 in Melbourne protesting. Are all the people against the so-called vaccines going to be tarred with the same brush?
It is yet more disgraceful behaviour by those in authority and positions of influence, the kind of thing that has been happening for three years now. Across the country, anyone who wanted to make their own medical choices about a drug that was still in its trial phase were locked out of society, forced to wear masks, demonized and attacked.
At this point it is hard to say how low the authorities will sink. It would not surprise me if they tried to use the situation to come after people in the freedom movement, people like me. They certainly have a track record that points in that direction. I was jailed for 22 days for simply wanting to have the right to protest publicly.
The Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neill in her statement to parliament about the two dead police officers said: “there will be deep and very important questions for us here as a parliament.” Why? It is not a matter of policy. Murder is already illegal; the problem is that criminals do not abide by the law. Yet it seems there are legislative moves, despite the Queensland Police saying the murders were not an act of domestic terrorism. Former policeman and opposition party politician Peter Dutton, ever prone to overreach, has called for tightened regulation on encrypted messaging services, like Telegram, that would allow conspiracy theories to be shared.
The Australian Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2021 allows the Australian Criminal Investigation Commission (ACIC) to “disrupt data by modifying, adding, coping or deleting data”. They can “take over a person’s online account for the purposes of gathering evidence.” In other words, they are allowed to fabricate evidence.
I was considered a criminal just for promoting a protest. Under this legislation, authorities could log into my account and post on my behalf. How many other people from the freedom movement will also be targeted? Worse, the legislation allows such interference with people who are only “likely to engage” in an offence: that is who have committed pre-crimes, which are not crimes at all.
The government is legislating against any speech that does not comport with its narrative. I reject any new amendments that would consider the broad term ‘anti-government’ as being criminal. If they manage to pass legislation like that, Australia will no longer have any form of free speech left. There will just be speech for the side of politics the government condones.
The Queensland murders require a full and thorough investigation and I look forward to seeing the victims get justice and closure in some way. But I will also be looking closely at the use of broad brush, largely meaningless terms to push some type of narrative that all people who are anti-government, anti-vaccines, or questioning of authority are violent and need to be monitored regularly.
The aim is to divide Australia and criminalize anti-government sentiment. It will perpetuate the rot of Australian institutions that has occurred over the last three years and ensure that our children, Australia’s next generations, will live in a far worse society. I am putting my faith in God and human nature that we can stop it before it happens.
Article originally posted on LifeSite News