On Friday, the Prime Minister announced the Directors for her new Centre of Research Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, a Government entity reporting to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet that will “focus on understanding diversity and promoting social cohesion”.

One of the key people the Prime Minister has appointed to run the new Centre is Prof Joanna Kidman of Victoria University.

Centre of Research Excellence for Preventing and Countering

Violent Extremism.

You might have heard of Prof Kidman. She is a vocal campaigner against what she calls messages of “hate” and regularly attacks people online for daring to have controversial or conservative views. She’s even thrown many an ‘extremist’ barb at your humble Free Speech Union because of our work on promoting academic freedom and free speech at universities.

Initiatives like this barely have a fig leaf covering for what they really are: government overreach trying to push an ideological agenda that actually undermines social cohesion and threatens minorities. 

The reference to violent extremism in the new Centre’s name is a red herring: Kidman’s background is in “indigenous sociology, Māori youth, higher education, decolonisation studies and comparative education”.

At the announcement of the Centre, Prof Kidman claimed that “in our own communities we’ve seen the rise of groups that carry messages of hate and destruction”. 

So what does Prof Kidman consider “hate and destruction”? Well, here she is responding to a historian she disagrees with:

Joanne Kidman

That’s right folks, among the people running this powerful new “anti-extremist” body are the very people who use their positions of power to bully political dissenters.

Prof Kidman once even tried to cancel fashion designer Trelise Cooper, accusing her of “colonial violence in floral polyester” after she named one of her dresses “Trail of Tiers” –- you can’t make this stuff up. 

This hand-picked appointment for a nebulous research centre is just the start of a propaganda arm that will select Government-backed “experts” to stand on the news telling us why it’s “safer” to restrict speech, all in the name of “social cohesion”. This is straight out of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.