Yes, it really could happen here

From our good friend Phineas, writing on his site as well as Sister Toldjah:

Freedom of speech beaten and left bleeding in Australia?

Posted by: Phineas on November 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm

This is the kind of authoritarian garbage I would expect from real dictatorships, such as Venezuela or Russia or… Chicago, but not from one of the stalwarts of the Anglosphere:

The whitewash begins. Now that the carbon tax has passed through federal parliament, the government’s clean-up brigade is getting into the swing by trying to erase any dissent against the jobs-destroying legislation.

On cue comes the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which this week issued warnings to businesses that they will face whopping fines of up to $1.1m if they blame the carbon tax for price rises.

It says it has been “directed by the Australian government to undertake a compliance and enforcement role in relation to claims made about the impact of a carbon price.”

Businesses are not even allowed to throw special carbon tax sales promotions before the tax arrives on July 1.

“Beat the Carbon Tax – Buy Now” or “Buy now before the carbon tax bites” are sales pitches that are verboten. Or at least, as the ACCC puts it, “you should be very cautious about making these types of claims”.

There will be 23 carbon cops roaming the streets doing snap audits of businesses that “choose to link your price increases to a carbon price”.

Instead, the ACCC suggests you tell customers you’ve raised prices because “the overall cost of running (your) business has increased”.

(Emphasis added)

So a barkeep or beauty salon owner in Australia can be fined one million Australian dollars for speaking the truth?

Seriously?

Once again, we see the statist, totalitarian nature of the Green movement laid bare for all to see in a way that would leave Stalin smiling. Dare to criticize the dogmas of the High Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming and you’ll be fined for more than you’re worth. Question their jihad against the demon CO2 and watch as the Carbon Tax Inquisition smashes your business.

Phineas continues to note that, for Australians, freedom of speech is not something guaranteed in their constitution,¹ but the result of the decision in Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation, by the High Court of Australia.

Phineas was surprised that such a governmental restriction on speech could exist in a free country, but noted that we “enshrine free speech as a natural, preexisting right” in our Constitution. Such, Phineas seems to have implied, couldn’t happen here.

Well, if he meant to imply that, I think that he’s wrong. Our Supreme Court reaffirmed that the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, even for corporations, in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission [558 U.S. 08-205 (2010)]. However, the decision reaffirming freedom of speech was only 5-4; it would take only the retirement or death of one conservative Justice, and his replacement by someone appointed by President Obama, to once again render corporate political speech subject to regulation and prior restraint by the federal government, and this is a goal for which many liberals strive. Prior to Citizens United, and, if our friends on the left get their way, possibly once again, why couldn’t the federal government institute just such a requirement for corporations and businesses?

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¹ – Australia does not have a single, written constitution in the same manner as the United States, but one composed of several documents and pieces of legislation.

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