Lauren Southern, the conservative political commentator and filmmaker, has been removed from the speaker lineup at this year’s CPAC Australia.
Southern was set to speak at CPAC Australia, starting on November 4th in Sydney to coincide with the presidential election, before being unceremoniously booted off the speaker list.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “a number of federal MPs scheduled to appear on the line-up and other interest groups had flagged discomfort standing up at an event” alongside Southern. “A lot of people that support CPAC and want the event to succeed thought it was inappropriate for her to be there,” one source close to the event said.
Andrew Cooper, the event organiser for CPAC Australia, claimed her removal from the list was purely down to space. COVID-19 restrictions have reduced the number of rooms at the event down to one from two. “Some questions were asked [about her inclusion], but it wasn’t just about her,” Cooper said. Cooper did not confirm whether the complaints had factored into her being one of the speakers taken off the list.
In a statement on Twitter, the Canadian journalist, who is now living in Australia with her husband and child, confirmed her departure from the conference:
Yes, I am no longer speaking at CPAC Australia. Unfortunately, it was not of my choosing. I don’t blame the other speakers for this. In fact I would highly encourage people still attend the event as many of the best and brightest voices for conservatism remain on the roster. I would like to think one of the key values of conservatism is free speech. More importantly an adherence to facts, not hearsay, slander and misrepresentation. It’s a great shame that an organisation trusted to protect these principles and stand against cancel culture has bowed to a heckler’s veto.
Southern added that her greatest fear is not for herself, but “instead for the other speakers and those attending,” as they will likely be “the next to be cut in this domino effect”:
Nothing will satisfy the radicals who are holding our civilisation ideologically hostage. Lest Australia let this go so far that they become America where the population is being physically held hostage as well. Thankfully I’m feeling far from detached. My documentary Crossfire is just wrapping up filming. It’s an incredible project and I’m looking forward to spending what would have been speech writing time putting more effort into perfecting this monumental movie before the election. Once again, I wish CPAC the best of luck and would encourage everyone to please still attend as the speakers had no say in my removal. The event has my blessing, but I give it with a heavy heart for the future and what sort of precedent this sets.
— Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern) October 1, 2020
“The reason people are moving to conservatism is because they are lied about, misrepresented, and judged for being radicals by the media, despite having perfectly sensible perspectives,” Lauren Southern said, speaking exclusively to National File about her CPAC speaker removal:
Unfortunately, CPAC has done exactly what people fear are happening to them, to me. This will erode their faith in conservative institutions and make concerned about the path the conservative movement is taking. People know I’m not an extremist, and I have the same concerns that the majority of the country hold. To allow these viewpoints to be played off as radicalism, and not to defend me, does a disservice to the majority of Australians. I know it’s not the fault of the speakers at CPAC, and therefore I wish them well at their event.