23 Aug 2007

Australia to ban boycotts


This is surely an extraordinary measure, almost unbelievable. Organising boycotts will be banned. Of course, it doesn't ban simply making an individual choice not to consume from a given corporation, one presumes. Many I know effectively boycott McDonald's for example.

The government's defence that the measure doesn't infringe free speech is an interesting one. It's interesting in that free speech is conventionally disallowed in cases where it is dangerous – the famous 'shouting fire in a crowded theatre' case. Conveniently, of course, Australia doesn't have a legally-enshrined right to free speech, so there's no way to test this claim; in the US, where such a right is in the constitution, it has had the effect of covering the right to call boycotts.

This is another attack on the right to collectively organise in Australia.