The campaign to legalise Uber demonstrates how to campaign for liberty in the future

By Justin Campbell

This article was originally published on Liberty Works.

Last week the Queensland Government announced that it will legalise ride sharing in Queensland. Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on her facebook page that, “From September 5 this year, my Government is leveling the playing field so ride-booking companies will be able to operate in Queensland, in concert with the taxi industry.”  This happened in spite of the vested interests of the taxi industry, the makeup of the Queensland parliament and the status quo. Why then did the Uber campaign succeed and what lessons does it provide for other liberty campaigns?

 

The campaign to legalise Uber had three main elements: civil disobedience, social media campaigning and it built a coalition of supporters across society and the political spectrum.

 

Civil disobedience was key to legalising ridesharing. Embarrassingly for the government, thousands of people broke the law by using Uber and working as Uber drivers. This forced the government to either legislate by cracking down on ridesharing or to back down and

legalise it. Initially, it responded by increasing the demerit points drivers would incur against their driver’s license when caught providing a ride sharing service. This was then watered down replacing the loss of demerit points with an increased fine of  $2356 which was an increase of almost $1000. This was effectively a backdown since few drivers would risk losing their driver’s license, while a fine could be paid by Uber on the driver’s behalf. This also demonstrates the importance of having a financial war chest when challenging government edicts. Without significant financial resources it wouldn’t have been possible to ignore the existing laws that outlawed ride sharing.  By disobeying the law ordinary citizens stood up for their rights and demanded their freedom of choice. They chose Uber.

 

Uber and its allies effectively used social media to both market the Uber services and to organise support for ride sharing. Many commuters shared their stories of both horrible experiences with traditional taxi services and positive experiences with ride sharing. Facebook pages such as a ‘I prefer Uber’ helped organise support. Online petitions were effectively used with a 15,000 responses being printed out and delivered to the Queensland parliament by horse and buggy.

 

Uber supporters didn’t come from one political party or even from one side of politics. The campaign united ride sharers from cigar chomping LNP supporters to latte sipping Greens. The campaign succeeded because thousands of people from all walks of life stood up for their liberty and refused to bow down to vested interests. In fact no major party represented in the Queensland parliament supported Uber. All the major parties and many of the minors had received financial contributions from Taxi Industry.

 

For all of Uber supporters in the community there remained many people who were firmly against its legalisation. The taxi council was effective in telling a compelling story of hard working family losing their investment in a taxi license because of an illegal industry. There was also the status quo, many people unaffected by either taxis or ridesharing were against it because it was ‘against the law’. The taxi industry was able to use conventional advertising to communicate their message to thousands of people. Much of this advertising focused on apparent safety concerns around whether Uber drivers had undergone proper criminal history checks or whether Uber vehicle were adequately insured.

 

So why did Uber succeed? The campaign to legalise ride sharing in Queensland succeeded in spite of well organised opposition because it became a major issue in the minds of many voters. As much as politicians like political donations, they prefer votes. The Uber campaign blasted a bright light on the Queensland parliament and people from all political spectrums and walks of life knew they were being screwed. The Uber campaign also had the truth on its side. The average voter knew that conventional taxis often do not provide a safe or affordable service. In fact the Taxi industry’s attempt to focus on safety probably contributed to its downfall. The lessons for the future are: if you can get normal people to care about an issue, you can get it changed.

 

The lesson we can learn from Uber’s campaign is that we need to get better at organising coalitions of supporters and develop marketing campaigns that will reach normal voters. Many of the issues that liberty minded people care about affect people’s everyday lives. We need to get better at connecting with those people and telling an effective story. Whether it be tax reform, industry deregulation or cannabis legalisation we need to go outside our libertarian tribe and build support in the wider community.

Restore Free Speech – Urgent Action Alert!

We are only TWO votes in parliament away from reforming section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

Take action today: Tell your MP and Senators to to secure our most fundamental human right! 

Freedom to express yourself.  Freedom of conscience. The most fundamental human freedoms are only made possible by a strongly guarded right to free speech. It is this right that has made Australia great. But today, the threat to free speech on every mind is Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination act.

We have already seen the devastating consequences

Three students at QUT facing $250,000 in fines for criticising indigenous-only computer labs.   Andrew Bolt dragged through the courts for criticising the welfare industry that destroys indigenous communities.

Together, we CAN end this madness. We CAN achieve reform of s18C and restore free speech to Australia.

Send a message to your MP and Senators today!

On the Human Rights Commission

By Rowan Cravey

Well, well, well, what have we here? The Human Rights Commission of Australia failing to properly hire brown people? Failing to see how much these people deserve a job for no other reason than their skin colour?

The HRC has reached only 2.3 of the 2.7 per cent of the workforce required to fulfil their commitment for employing Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander people for the 2015 financial year. But perhaps even they, the Moral Guardians of the Universe, the Arbiters of Feelings, nay, the God Kings of Thought! Even they may see the stupidity of such a target. They might tell themselves they believe in it, and lo, tell all else who live that they should also live by employing people based on their skin colour and nose shape, rather than their merit, but perhaps through experience, they have found that racist employing practices don’t work out so well and that putting in any effort to hire based on race is a wasted effort.

Or, more likely, they, like many SJWs and the Left more broadly, don’t care about their own consistency when telling others how to live their lives. ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ is the doctrine they live by. The extraordinary arrogance that seeps from the mouths of HRC President Gillian Triggs and Race Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane is only matched by their total disregard for due process and their total lack of responsibility.

In recent times, this can be seen in no uncertain terms. With Bill Leak’s cartoon portraying the major issues that afflict Aboriginal people, such as unstable family structures and widespread abuse of children, Soutphommasane has been actively encouraging people to complain to the HRC and any other force that could make Leak’s life harder. He doesn’t care that given his position as a Human Rights Commissioner, (a taxpayer funded position I might add), he has a special responsibility to remain as impartial as possible and to allow due process to have its way, to not actively attempt to have Leak dragged before a magistrate to tell him he is too stupid and mean to be allowed to speak on this issue.

At Queensland University of Technology, for three years there has been an ongoing case against three men who dared to use a computer. A computer for brown people. An academic from QUT has been doggedly trying to suck away their money, claiming she felt threatened over the use of a computer by white people. One of the men put it beautifully:

“…the university is trying solve segregation with segregation!”

Indeed, the HRC has entertained this farce for three years, now with the courts involved. If the SJWs could let us know how keeping computers ‘coloured’ and ‘white’ is somehow progress from the days of Martin Luther King Jr.? Tell us how the timeless quote, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Somehow includes, ‘except white people’ and how that isn’t racism. Until that time, the Left and the SJWs display their racism against whites and their patronising condescension against any other race.

The Human Rights Commissioners that grace the halls of the HRC are supposed to be the people who set the example of how to treat those in society. Not that we need such a patronising and condescending presence, but that’s the theory of what they’re supposed to be. Yet they don’t stick to their goals of racist hiring practices all the while criticising those who employ based on merit and not skin colour, they encourage people to become an angry mob to silence those they disagree with and yet, they still maintain that taxpayers’ money is still justified in being spent on their BS.

Living Museums

By Rowan Cravey

I recently saw the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, Journey’s End. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Star Trek more than any other TV show ever made, but sometimes, you can feel the Political Correctness (PC) just dripping from the writing.

I single out this episode specifically because it is emblematic of the psychosis of PC since when the episode was written in the early 90s right through to the present, 25 years later. The episode featured a group of Native Americans that had travelled to a planet that had been given to the not-very-nice Cardassians and they didn’t want to leave because… wait for it… their spiritual connection to the planet. Never mind they had been there only 20 years and had been living aboard starships their whole lives. Never mind that in 300 years, these people were being cast sympathetically as totally unchanged in every way, with not a hint of advancement in anything.

But this isn’t about that. Anyone can believe anything they want, no matter that might be. This comes to how the Left see indigenous peoples. To them, Aboriginals, either from Australia or anywhere else, are portrayed by the Left as perfect societies that existed perfectly before evil white people wrecked it all. They see them as living museums. Even the writers of Journey’s End could not countenance that in the 24th Century, Native Americans just might have come to the secular nature that the rest of civilisation had come to. That they might prioritise the immense technological advantages that were at their disposal. But no, they had to live in huts and to see ‘visions’ through ‘spiritual practise’ rather than see it for what it has always been, to get high like Towelie from South Park.

Continue reading

Who Funds the Olympics?

By Rowan Cravey

I know a man that once upon a time, was a competitive Judo practitioner. He even got a Black belt in it too. He spoke of getting up at 5 in the morning, doing crunches until he threw up, going to school, and training more after, all in the same day. One could paint a similar picture of many Olympians. Their personal drive to be a specialist and (hopefully) champion in their field, to train extensively for years on end is a testament to their will.

Continue reading

David Leyonhjelm Spins 18C on Its Head

By Rowan Cravey

David Leyonhjelm has done the impossible! He has chosen to invoke section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act as a white male!

Well, perhaps not quite as impossible as one might think. While so many in the SJW camp might think it is truly impossible to be racist against white people (no really, they actually think that), the Act makes no difference between the melanin content in one’s skin to determine whether one can be offended on the basis of their race. So go crazy, white people, Leyonhjelm certainly has seen much of some of their antics…

Continue reading

Revenge of the kids who never got invited to parties

By Satyajeet Mareer

Meet Bob. Like many teens, Bob once had dreams about going out and partying, enjoying great nights on the town and getting occasionally ‘sloshed’ with mates as well as enjoying the company of chicky babes.

 

Unfortunately, Bob grew into an uninspiringly bland individual with no particularly impressive qualities who was constantly overlooked by the ‘cool kids’ because he was no fun to be around. In time, Bob’s seething bitterness manifested itself into a sinister will to power – “if I can’t have fun no one can!” cackled Bob as he neatly folded his freshly ironed underwear.

first

 

He hatched a brilliant plan to shut down the fun for all the other kids. It began with him growing into an old codger with deep-set frown lines and an unpleasant disposition. The second step was to lobby the government, taking away from the next generation of ‘cool kids’ their right to control their own lives and make their own choices.

 

Continue reading

Putting the BS in ABS

You know what really sucks? No, not a vaccum cleaner. Australia’s online census. Minister for small business, Michael McCormack wonders what all the fuss is about. After all, isn’t it no different than handing your personal details over to Facebook – something which millions of Australians voluntarily do?

Well, there are a few differences.

Firstly, Facebook doesn’t put a gun to your head by charging you $180 if you don’t hand over your personal information. However blaze we can be when it comes to divulging personal details online – we at least know that we’re doing it voluntarily and not out of coercion.

But but…. what is free will, really? Does it even exist? How can we see mirrors if our eyes aren’t real…?

Secondly, Facebook doesn’t demand your actual address and it’s easy enough to use a fake name. The truth is that like many of my fellow Gen Y and millennials, I don’t care that much if Facebook collects data about what I like so I can be hit with customised ad campaigns for cat food and dubious memes. I’m more concerned about handing over my name and address, knowing that the information could fall into the Dorito crumb-covered hands of some fedora-wearing hacker bent on releasing the private details of millions purely for the lols. Why not? Its already happened in the past – examples include Xbox Live and even the US Census Bureau which were both hacked. Despite the government’s tough talk about how good their cybersecurity is – and they may well be right, there’s still no guarantee that your details will be safe. This is especially so when the census now holds your information for 4 years rather than 18 months as they did in years past.

In any event – Facebook is a part of the private internet where you can be whoever you want. It’s a magical place where the men are men, the women are foreign men running scams and the kids are FBI agents.  My name is Count Swagula, I live on 666 Pimp St. and Mark Zuckerberg is yet to question these details. I’m not sure how happy the ABS will be with them, though.

Thirdly… Facebook doesn’t pull a Titanic when I need it. As I write this, I’m sitting in front of a screen emblazoned with an error message following a prolonged crash.  I thought Australia was the land of freedom. This truly put the ‘B.S’ in ‘A.B.S’.

Satyajeet Marar is an intern at The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance

What Australians need to know about the American election.

Donald Trump will win the US Presidential Election, argues Sam Oldfield:
Australians are looking at the American election through an Australian prism, they are looking at the negative campaign against Trump promoted by Sky News and others and thinking Trump can’t possibly win. They are mistaken.

America doesn’t have compulsory voting, less than 57.5% of eligible citizens voted in 2012 and that was for Obama, the candidate that beat Hillary in 2008. What got Obama his second term, and I said this at the time, is the absolutely lacklustre performance of Mitt Romney.

And therein lies the key, what’s going on with Sanders supporters, and democrats in general, is that they are not actually willing to vote for Clinton. Sure a lot of hardliners will make the trip to the booth, but Sanders supporters will wallow in their own misery and the cynical just won’t bother.

What Trump has that Hillary doesn’t have is a positive message, and Hillary’s slogan says it all “love trumps hate.” Donald Trump is defensible, anyone who’s tangled with me on the matter knows I can give a good defense and I’m not the only one. But nobody even bothers to defend Clinton. So the best Hillary can do is convince people not to vote for Trump, but Trump can not only give reasons not to vote for Hillary, he can convince people to vote for him. Continue reading

Union Intimidation Against Workers

By Katarina Perkovic

Threatening, intimidating and abusive behavior – time and time again, union officials face allegations for threatening and abusing workers who resign or choose not to join.

A construction union official is facing Federal court action after allegedly threatening workers whom were not members. During Mr Upton’s address on the 3rd December 2015 to 60 workers, it is alleged he stated that “We’re going to put your names on the back of toilet doors, we’re going to do standover tactics next year to let everyone know who you f-cking dog c-nts are.”

These remarks breach the Fair Work Act, as employees and independent contractors should be free to make the choice to join, free from pressure or threatening behaviour. As Glenn Taubmann, Staff Attorney for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation very fairly put it, “their view of ‘voluntary’ unionism is an iron fist against anyone who dissents.”