Boycott call by lobby group GetUp is nothing but blackmail

Source:  Herald Sun

ONE of the things we must never lose in this country is our freedom to speak our mind.

But this week many chief executives got a letter from a lobby group called GetUp, whose founding directors included Bill Shorten, now the Assistant Treasurer.

Some extracts:

Dear CEO,

You may be aware that … the Australian Food and Grocery Council has reportedly put its support behind a multi-million dollar campaign to fight proposed legislation to put a price on carbon pollution …

As such, it is our intention in the next few days to provide easy to use product information to our membership such that they can boycott goods and services that are linked to the scare campaign …

GetUp! has more than 570,000 members … We’re asking companies the below questions and we’ll inform our members and the Australian public of the answers to these.

1. Do you accept the science of climate change?

2. Do you believe the Australian Government should take action to address climate change in the cheapest and most effective way possible?

3. Do you support the proposed AFGC campaign against carbon pricing?

4. If you do not support the AFGC campaigning against carbon pricing will you immediately write to the AFGC to inform them of your position and will you resign your membership …

To me, this seems close to blackmail.

Moreover, it is appalling that companies are threatened with a boycott, even if they are merely sceptical about the science of climate change – a science fiercely contested even by the greatest scientists.

GetUp’s claim to have 570,000 members is a bluff. You can get listed as a member just by signing a GetUp petition.

In fact, its most recent annual report says just 17,295 people gave any money to GetUp, which actually gets much of its funding from unions.

But GetUp has an outsized reputation, thanks to the eagerness of journalists to treat it as the voice of the streets, and to the fact that that one of its officials, Lachlan Harris, became the media adviser of prime minister Kevin Rudd.

It’s used that reputation to become a big player in a wider push to make free debate on some Leftist issues too scary for dissenters.

Another example. The GetUp website ran several appeals to members to disrupt the current speaking tour of global warming sceptic Christopher Monckton, publishing a list of his venues, and particularly highlighting the Brisbane Broncos Leagues Club.

The club received more than 100 messages from people it took to be club members, and panicked, cancelling Monckton’s booking.

GetUp then deleted its website appeals, making the Broncos decision look more like a genuine grassroots protest.

But it’s not just GetUp that’s now trying to shut down debates or delegitimise them, especially when the topic is global warming.

I don’t mean the increasingly desperate abuse, such as calling sceptics deniers, which warmist Prof Robert Manne openly admits is meant to make people like me seem like Holocaust deniers.

I mean more a new tactic to refuse to debate sceptics, both to pretend there actually is no debate and to avoid getting disproved.

For instance, Labor ministers and the Greens have refused all invitations to appear on my own Channel 10 show to discuss global warming, as have the climate commissioners, government adviser Prof Ross Garnaut and many others.

Just recently, a Melbourne public policy centre asked me to argue global warming with Garnaut. I agreed, Garnaut refused.

The Spectator magazine had the same trouble trying to get Labor politicians and warming advocates to agree to a debate next month in Sydney with sceptic Lord Lawson, the former British chancellor of the Exchequer.

Sceptic Prof Bob Carter says he can’t buy a debate, either, and 50 academics in Perth petitioned Notre Dame University to ban Monckton from even speaking.

But Monckton has suffered even worse from the new McCarthyists, especially those in The Age newspaper and the ABC.

Sydney ABC radio host Adam Spencer this week first abused Monckton for allegedly making false claims about his peerage and his Nobel Prize – baseless slurs both and then hung up – when he started to talk science.

Spencer particularly berated Monckton, a gifted mathematician, for having no formal qualifications in climate science. Yet nor do Al Gore, Tim Flannery, Bob Brown, Ross Garnaut and most other catastrophists including Spencer himself, who serves on the NSW Government’s Climate Change Council.

The viciousness of the attacks on Monckton is so extreme that it seems intended to warn off other sceptics.

Take Age environment reporter Adam Morton’s sliming report this week on Monckton, who’d apologised for saying Garnaut’s appeal to the authority of warmist scientists was a fascist thought:

“The attack on Prof Garnaut was not the first time Lord Monckton accused those he disagrees with of being Nazis,” Morton wrote.

“In December 2009 he accused students who stormed the stage as he delivered a speech in Copenhagen of being Hitler Youth.”

This is a grotesque misrepresentation.

I’ve seen the footage of what happened that day in 2009. A Monckton lecture was gatecrashed by dozens of protesters who shouted him down, blocked his video link to his audience, and physically intimidated him.

Holding his nerve, Monckton continued to speak, telling his audience through the screams and jeers that these protesters were like the Hitler Youth – not because of their opinions, as Morton claims, but because of their jackboot tactics.

And he was right. There is something of the fascist in this stifling of debate – the threats, abuse and blackmail.

A line has been crossed, and these enemies of free speech cannot be allowed to win, whether against Lord Monckton or the humblest grocer who simply dares to doubt