"30 minutes of truth bombs" is how one Twitter user described Liberal Democrat John Ruddick’s maiden speech to the New South Wales (NSW) Parliament, last Wednesday 28 June. "Indeed, Ruddick, who left the Liberal Party in 2021 after public disagreements over the Party’s handling of the pandemic response, said out loud in parliament what many Australians have been saying for some time now – at first privately, around dinner tables, but increasingly more publicly, over workplace water coolers or at the pub, as saying the obvious becomes more socially acceptable.
Nevertheless, what is socially acceptable offline is not necessarily acceptable on social media. YouTube swiftly removed Ruddick’s speech from its platform, just seven hours after it was uploaded. The NSW Liberal Democrats say this is the first time in Australian history that a politician’s maiden speech has been censored by the platform.
The interference of the social media giant in Australia’s political discourse is ironic given this line from Ruddick’s speech: “We libertarians are plotting to take over the world … so we can leave you all alone.”
A spokesperson for the Lib Dems says, “We initially posted the video on party founder Dr John Humphreys’ YouTube account. We then circulated that link on other social media – for example, this tweet from Dr John, which you can see now links to a takedown notice.”
YouTube claims that the video violated its ‘medical misinformation policy’, and implied that removing the video was necessary to ensure that YouTube remains a ‘safe place for all.’
Note the definition of ‘medical misinformation’ as information that, “contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical information about COVID-19.”
Hear that? Galileo just rolled in his grave.
So what did Ruddick actually say about Covid that might have disturbed the information gatekeepers?
He said that the NSW government had enacted an “authoritarian Covid police state.”
He said that the NSW government had given in to “vaccine extremism,” telling the public, ‘we won’t let you out until you take multiple injections of not only a rushed vaccine but of an entirely new class of vaccine’.
He said that, “NSW Health published weekly data showing, the fewer vaccines you had, the less likely you went to hospital or ICU. The fatality rate was similar for the vaxxed and the unvaxxed.”
He said that, “since the vaccine rollout there has been a 15-20 per cent increase in excess deaths in nations like Australia that had mass mRNA injections,” and questioned whether this might have anything to do with the vaccines, or from locking people up for so long.
He said that take-up of the fifth shot is low – “too many know of others with bad reactions.”
He said that ivermectin, a drug that won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine, was disingenuously smeared as a horse dewormer. He noted the financial incentives for suppressing ivermectin as a potential treatment for Covid, despite researchers around the world testifying to its efficacy.
He said that there have been over 137,000 adverse events reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration following Covid vaccination, and that many drugs have been pulled from the market for far less than this.
Agree or disagree as you please, but all these claims are evidence-based. As a friend of mine said when disagreeing with my insistence, in late 2021, that the vaccines would not be effective in preventing/reducing transmission, “We believe different scientists.”
The video of Ruddick’s maiden speech has been reposted on YouTube via the Lib Dems main account, and has not yet been taken down. You can watch the speech in full below, or via the Lib Dems twitter account.
John Ruddick’s first speech as MP in Parliament— Freda (@Freda8991) July 4, 2023
He says, “Many want to move on from COVID, but I don’t,” and he's right, we should NEVER forget.. pic.twitter.com/4oCSi5Iyth
Spectator has also published the transcript of Ruddick’s speech in full.
A spokesperson for the Lib Dems said on Friday,
“We’re obviously very disappointed that YouTube feels the need to censor something not only from NSW Parliament but as time-honoured as a maiden speech, but we also oddly must thank them as we’ve benefited from the Streisand effect.
“The video already has over 225,000 views on one tweet, and is also being viewed in Facebook groups, on Telegram and (for now anyway) a little bit on the federal LibDems YouTube page. The interest in the speech certainly seems to have increased exponentially after the YouTube removal, and we’re getting inundated with positive comments and questions.”
Other notable ‘truth bombs’ from Ruddick’s speech include his criticism of blown-out government debt, and his concern that pursuing a net zero carbon economy is a “reckless folly.”
While the Lib Dems are benefiting from the Streisand effect for the time being, Member of the European Parliament, Christine Anderson, is dealing with YouTube censorship by suing the social media platform. Anderson reports that YouTube blocked two videos from parliamentary sessions in which she acted on the official Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Anderson has described YouTube’s censorship as “anti-democratic,” saying, “I will not put up with uncontrolled influence on this scale, which is why I have now taken the necessary legal steps to… ensure that all citizens have unfiltered access to relevant information at all times.”