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Day to Day Politics: Saying it the way it is.

Tuesday 9 August 2016

With the advent of a racist red-head and a human headline, together with other assorted prejudiced misfits being elected to the Senate, the subject of free speech has again entered the Australian political arena.

Both Pauline Hansen and Darren Hinch seem determined to raise the spectre of changing 18c.

Why you ask. Why indeed in an enlightened society would you enshrine in legislation the right to hate each other? If doing so demonstrates free speech in its extreme and purest sense then it cannot at the same time be enlightened.

It seems to me the opposite would be true of a truthfully enlightened society. An enlightened society is one in which the suggestion that we need to legislate one’s right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.

For me you cannot be an enlightened society and at the same time think that free speech allows everyone the right, in whatever medium of choice, to hate, demonise, slander, defame, libel, smear or whatever just because you have racist traits for example.

One Nations Malcolm Roberts said: “It’s very important to the country … because at the moment a lot of people are afraid to speak up.”

What absolute crap. As the law stands I know of no one who is restricted by free speech. The likes of Bolt, Jones, Hadley and others dispense their vile and nefarious spew on a daily basis with impunity.

I write almost on a daily basis restricted only by my sense of common decency and morality. I say what I think in a manner that I think is reasonable. I believe in fact and feelings and deliberately refrain from calumny.

So you have to ask yourself why Pauline Hansen, David Leyonhjelm and others want an expansion of free speech. Remember the Australian constitution only implies it. It doesn’t guarantee it.

Leyonhjelm, says he’ll push for the scrapping of the entire section of the Racial Discrimination Act that makes it illegal to offend, insult or humiliate a person on the grounds of race.

“Free speech is free speech, there’s no qualification to it, let’s just remove 18C entirely and everything that goes with it,”

They can only want it because the existing law doesn’t allow them to demonstrate their hatred for others as much as they would like. They want more rope to be insulting, to be abusive, disgusting, and deliberately provocative.

The pity is that those who want it the most are those with the loudest voices, the largest pay packets, the biggest publishers, and the electronic media outlets with the resources to spread their odious loathing.

Those they attack have little capacity to raise their voice in self-defence.

Proof of it is when Leyonhjelm says “You have the choice of feeling another feeling. Offence is always taken, not given. If you don’t want to be offended it’s up to you, don’t be offended. We’re not responsible for the feelings of other people. None of us are.”

This is the same man who agrees with American gun laws and would like to see them duplicated here. That aside the last sentence of that statement both assaults and confronts the very essence of the principle of ‘’love thy neighbour’’ ‘’do unto others as you would have them do unto you’’

In reference to this statement Jenifer WiIson on this blog said; “I find this notion particularly quaint coming from Senator Leyonhjelm: if indeed we can choose not to be offended and insulted, why does he so frequently choose to be angry and aggressive in reaction to others he feels have offended him? Especially on Twitter. He can get quite foul in that medium.”

One Nations Malcolm Roberts also said that ‘’minorities wouldn’t be hurt or humiliated unless they chose to take offence’’

Both statements completely lack any understanding, any empathy for the human condition. That in the recipe of what we are, feelings, in whatever form, are as an important ingredient too our humanness as is our logic.

The fact is that we will never truly understand the effect Free Speech has on an individual until we have suffered from the abuse of it.

You cannot be an enlightened society and at the same time write into law the right to legally hate one another.

The pedlars of verbal violence and dishonesty are the most vigorous defenders of free speech because it gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy. With the use of free speech, the bigots and hate-mongers seek to influence those in the community who are susceptible or like-minded.

The original intent of free speech was to give a voice to the oppressed and to keep governments honest. In the United States, the first amendment is now used as a justification to incite racism, validate hatred and promote both religious and political bigotry.

In a democracy the right to free speech in given by the people through the government. Therefore, it should be incumbent on people to display decorum, moderation, truth, fact, balance, reason, tolerance, civility and respect for the other point of view. Sadly, this seems to have been forgotten both here and in the United States.

I have all the free speech I need. I have just used it.

My thought for the day.

Nothing matters in life so much as to live it decently.



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  1. Pappinbarra Fox

    Free speech is free speech, there’s no qualification to it,
    – here is a man who knows nothing about free speech, who does not understand that with everything one says follows the consequences of what is said and most importantly the responsibility that is inseparable from those consequences. The man is a single idea fraud.

  2. Michael Taylor

    I saw a link to Leyonhjelm’s Facebook page where a message was posted that rude comments would be deleted (or something like that). Ironic, isn’t it?

  3. wam

    Does that set the level for turnball DD government??
    “Bolt, Jones, Hadley and others dispense their vile and nefarious spew on a daily basis with impunity.” but they can get done on the cheap under 18c. The libel laws are too expensive for the unprotected.
    Bolt’s Aboriginal ‘appearance’ rants are offensive but to want the right to name people he thinks are non-Aboriginal or not ‘Aboriginal enough’ is perverse.
    what’s his name has already gone to gaol for ‘outing’?
    ps does the first amendment preclude 18c?

  4. Kaye Lee

    The timing of this push by the IPA, Murdoch, and the stooges they can fool into working for them, is appalling considering the recently announced Royal Commission, the arrest of the Reclaim Australia terrorist, and the fire bombing of a mosque in Perth to name just a few incidents.

    The National Inquiry into Racist Violence and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody both found that racial hatred and vilification can cause emotional and psychological harm to their targets, and reinforce other forms of discrimination and exclusion. It was these inquiries that led to the 18C and 18D legisation in the first place. They found that seemingly low-level behaviour can soften the environment for more severe acts of harassment, intimidation or violence by impliedly condoning such acts.

    This is exactly what we are seeing.

    While many laws restrict freedom of speech, such as laws applying to defamation, advertising and national security, section 18C fills an important gap in legal protections for those affected by racial hatred and vilification. Section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act contains exemptions which protect freedom of speech. These ensure that artistic works, scientific debate and fair comment on matters of public interest are exempt from section 18C, providing they are said or done reasonably and in good faith.

    Why keep ignoring the advice of experts to enshrine your right to be offensive. If you can’t discuss something civilly then you have no case. If all you want to do is swear at people and call them names or make totally unsubstantiated slurs then save them for your mates at the pub. They have no place in public discourse.

  5. Michael Taylor

    Brilliantly said, Kaye. Your last paragraph in particular hit the spot.

  6. Kaye Lee

    “seemingly low-level behaviour can soften the environment for more severe acts of harassment, intimidation or violence”

    Can’t they see this already in what women have had to endure? How many times have you heard “Show us your tits”? Look at rape and domestic violence stats. People get annoyed with feminists objecting to offensive language that others defend as being harmless. We have to take a stand and demand respectful debate. Whilst one person may mean no harm in what they say, it empowers others to go a step further.

  7. ozibody

    The phrase … ” Common Decency ” … springs to mind.! …Toss this to the wind and say ” Good bye ” to … “Integrity ” ! …

    Were that to happen, society is then devoid of Intellectual capacity …. enter the word ” Savages ” !!

  8. wam

    spot on kaye. Remember a little boy empowered to throw a sandwich????? As for slurs, the morning shows are salivating over the manna from hanson.

  9. johnlord2013

    Yes well said indeed Kaye.

  10. Harquebus

    I repeat.
    Some need to toughen up. Words only hurt weaklings.
    Regulated speech is not free speech which, without we can not easily identify bigots and other fools.
    Remove all obstacles to free speech, including 18c and then, we will hear what people really think.

    I repeat again.
    “The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptive reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.” — Adolf Hitler

    You are being lulled into giving up much more John Lord.

  11. Kyran

    Out of curiosity, I googled ‘prosecutions under 18c’. Oddly, it is not a criminal offence, and the few ‘prosecutions’ (conducted in various forums), resulted in little more than the ‘offenders’ being required to print retractions.
    Each of our states and territories have additional acts to give redress when a person is victimised on account of race. They don’t appear to be used all that often.
    Once again, the argument has become about the bigots right to be a bigot, rather than the intent of the Racial Discrimination Act, and it’s state/territory equivalents, to protect the weak and vulnerable. The existing legislation is, at best, a fig leaf covering all that is indecent.
    “Those they attack have little capacity to raise their voice in self-defence.”
    Until such time as those holding the megaphone are held truly accountable for the impact of their mindless utterances on those without access to redress, we will have a problem. As long as the conversation pertains to their right to hold a megaphone, we will never address the problem.
    I haven’t posted links to the articles that came up when I googled, but many of them, whilst dated, are worth a look.
    Thank you, Mr Lord. Take care

  12. stephentardrew

    Great article John. With you and Kaye all the way. As it should be. Thanks once again for your clarity.

  13. Florence nee Fedup

    I wonder how long one would last without seeing the police, if one stood outside the good minister’s home, screaming to all and sundry, he bashed his wife?

  14. Michael Jones

    Right now 18C is being used to attempt to financially destroy a couple of university students, for expressing and sticking by the view that indigenous only computer labs at the Queensland University of Technology amount to segregation. I don’t happen to agree with them but to suggest that this should cause offence worthy of such a legal process is absolutely outrageous.

    The likes of Andrew Bolt may have the backing to take risks in relation to that law, but for an ordinary person can only have the effect of intimidating them put of expressing themselves. That is the sort of thing that makes people angry enough to vote for One Nation, so it is safe to say that ultimately these laws undermine the intent of those who drafted the.

  15. Harquebus

    Removing a piece of legislation does not “legislate one’s right to hate”.
    I hate George Brandis. Should we llegislate to not hate politicians?

  16. Kyran

    “One Notions Malcolm Roberts said: “It’s very important to the country … because at the moment a lot of people are afraid to speak up.”
    One notion started 20 odd years ago, extolling the virtues of free speech. Their one notion was that you could say anything you liked, without fear of repercussion, without fear of accountability. Back in them good ol’ days, names like Ettridge and Pasquarelli were at the fore. Until they said something about their ‘leader’. Oldfield survived a bit longer, because of his ‘special’ relationship with their ‘leader. All were discarded because they dared offer advice, which their ‘leader’ viewed as dissent. Hmmm, free speech?
    Fast forward a couple of decades, and their ‘leader’ is already dispensing with advisors like Nelson and Virgo. She has retained Ashby, presumably because of their ‘special relationship’. I suspect they both have a mutual (dis)trust.
    Pasquarelli has hit the hustings.,d.dGo

    Freedom of speech is a notion tossed about by politicians to cover their inadequacies in explaining what the heck they meant to say. And the useless, mealy mouthed, worthless gits will toss anyone under the bus to protect their illusion, however delusional.
    It is because of them, 18 c & d need to be retained.
    I would love to say that this freedom of speech is an abstract peculiar to Queensland. I have served many summonses on Hinch. The only character reference I would ever give him is ‘pfft’. All wind, no substance. A bit like talcum in a high breeze.
    Thanks again, Mr Lord. Take care

  17. Karl Young

    Hi Michael I think someone has removed all my comments from today !

  18. Kaye Lee

    Harquebus, I don’t think you understand what 18C is all about.

    The first thing to note is that it refers to a public (not private) act, including speech “that is likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group of people” and “the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin” of the person or persons.

    Therefore, it prohibits some speech, made in public, based on certain features of a person’s identity.

    Section 18C is limited in scope, and it would thus be wrong to claim that free speech carte blanche is under threat. It is, after all, a section of the Racial Discrimination Act, not “The Stop Anyone Being Offensive To Others Act”.

    Section 18D of the act says “Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith” or that is “held for any academic, artistic or scientific purpose, or any other genuine purpose in the public interest” or made in “a fair and accurate report” or “is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment”.

    So, there are a great many exemptions to Section 18C that allow comments that might offend, insult, humiliate and even intimidate a person on the grounds of race, colour, national or ethnic origin. And we therefore don’t need to change it in order to be bigots.

  19. The AIM Network

    Karl, none of your comments today have been deleted. Mod.

  20. Carol Taylor

    Karl, your comments are on the Speaking of Hate Speech and So They Want To Change 18c topics..easy to get lost. 🙂

  21. win

    If a man says”show your tits” suggest that he show you his brain , which is clearly miniscule.

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