Joined a packed crowd of about 400 at the Irish Club this evening to listen to Clive Hamilton speak about his new book ‘Silencing Dissent’.

He described John Howard as a control freak and cited a ‘petty’ example of how media photography in parliament has been controlled to the extent that any photos that are published must not show politicians looking stupid. If this occurs more than 3 times then the media accreditation of that parliamentary photographers is withdrawn (in essence, ending their future employment prospects). What a ludicrous law.

He spoke about government attacks on NGOs who disagree with government policy and stories of those who perform advocacy work receiving threats to withdraw their funding.

I asked Clive what his thoughts were on the ability of direct action to affect change (I mentioned that protests were a popular method used by young people to get heard). He used the Joe Bjelke Peterson era as an example and how persistent, prolonged protests were successful in affecting eventual change. He said a similar attitude should be used when mobilising people for protests now. Yay! So come on everyone, let’s hit the streets!

I bought the book and look forward to reading it.

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