Mr Henri was kind enough to respond to my comments on his FSV response. I want to briefly address some points he has raised. Mr Burnsides letter is much longer and I don't have the time here to address it in detail, I will do it in the next few days.
This is what Mr Henri sent to me.
We thank Mr. Williams for his letter; though it was addressed to me (The Treasurer) I am certain that I will reflect the views of my fellow committee members in my reply.It is not our role to define, identify or defend the political affiliations or views of our‘Voltaire Award’ recipients nor for that matter our members.As for our award recipients I doubt if Stephen Mayne and Allen Fels would fall under Mr Williams’ definition of “left wing”. We don’t think Andrew Wilkie was left wing until the government made him so. In fact he is specific in his book about being politically conservative.Mr. Williams agrees with us in the fact that governments both Labour and Liberal may in turn “restrict freedom of speech and freedom of information” .We suggest that free speech issues often are directed toward the ruling government of the day – so what ever personal persuasions we may be of, we will be concerned with any legislative diminution to the right to free speech of the current government.Mr. Malcolm Frazer and Pauline Hanson attest that criticism of government policy is not the exclusive prerogative of the left.I believe for Mr. Williams to suggest we are overtly bias is naïve, if not totally unjustified, our guest speakers at our annual meetings are proof of the opposite.In regard to Mr. Williams’s opinion on Julian Burnside being a worthwhile recipient of the Voltaire award we can only strongly disagree.It is of no consequence but Mr. Julian Burnside has publicly declared he once voted for John Howard.Our system of the secret ballot prevents us from knowing if he still does.I suspect when Julian Burnside recommended the incarceration of politicians who liehe did so in wry humour, in the glorious tradition of ‘Rumpole of the Baily’.As to Julian Burnside’s view on climate change, we understand this to be a topic of open and at times controversial debate. Mr. Williams may be persuaded thatMr. Burnside is lying. We have no opinion on Mr.Burnside’s views on this particular issue nor that of Mr. Williams’ other than recommending the continuation of an open debate.It is hardly the basis of a valid criticism of Free Speech Victoria or a test of our credibility.Perhaps if every one who lied were forced to drive on the Monash freeway at eight o’clock in the morning there would be a traffic jam.Mr. Williams praises our contribution to Victoria but refuses to be a member; his prediction of our “slow death” might be seen as a self-fulfilling prophecy.It is hardly a genuine statement of support.We thank him for contacting usFranciscus HenriHon Treasurer .
I will address the points I have highlighted
I addressed the letter to Mr Henri as FSV has him as the contact person for their magazine - Speakeasy see link for details.
The government made Andrew Wilkie left wing. - I didn't know the government could practise mind control.
Julian Burnside being a worthwhile recipient of the Voltaire - He was a dubious choice in the first place but his recent statements make him unworthy of such an award. Free speech is FREE SPEECH.
Mr Julian Burnside has publicly declared he once voted for John Howard. - So what Malcom Fraser was Liberal Prime Minister look at him now. Nothing going on there.
Julian Burnsides suggestion to jail people for lying was done in wry humour - Mr Henri has to be kidding, Mr Burnside has not even hinted that what he said was humourous wry or otherwise. All that Mr Henri is doing is trying to find excuses for other people and for his organisations.
Mr Williams may be persuaded that Mr Burnside is lying. - I have said nor suggested that Mr Burnside is lying, I don't know where Mr Henri got this idea from.
Perhaps if everyone who lied was forced to drive on the Monash Freeway at eight o clock in the morning there would be a traffic jam. - I have no idea what Mr Henri is trying to say here.
It is simple Mr Henri and Free Speech Victoria - Free Speech is exactly that FREE. If some dill wants to lie in public or private let them. Let the hearers of the lies make their own decisions. To suggets that people should be jailed for speaking freely is very opposite that FSV says it stands for. I therefore believe that for FSV to have any credibility they must ask Mr Burnside to return his Voltaira award or make a public statement that his remarks were wrong and foolish and that he no longer holds the position of wanting to jail people for speaking freely.