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Freedom of speech the Bernardi way

Front man for the far right conservatives, Cory Bernardi is a strong advocate for freedom of speech – for some.

On his questionably named blog “Common sense lives here”, Bernardi decried the “insidious” progress of debate around marriage equality and LGBTI issues, describing it as “Orwellian…a cynical manipulation of language for the purpose of oppression.”

Of course he is not talking about the victimisation and discrimination against gays – he is talking about the mean people who call him a homophobe.

“The advocates for change have determined that anyone opposed to changing the definition of one of our oldest social institutions is a ‘homophobe’. It is a term that has been levelled at me hundreds of times over the years and yet not one of my critics has been able to substantiate the slur with any factual evidence.

The demand for tolerance by leftists is nothing more than a thinly veiled insistence that you surrender your views, your values and your beliefs in favour of theirs. If you don’t, the name calling starts. You instantly become a ‘phobe’, a ‘bigot’ or worse.”

Bernardi spoke against the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws–Superannuation) Act 2008, which had bipartisan support. He opined in the senate that the bill would throw open the doors of “the marriage club” to people “whose relationships are uncharacteristic of the most basic elements of a marital union”.

Makes one wonder what Cory thinks marriage is all about.

Bernardi also gets terribly upset if you call him a ‘denier’ despite the fact that he was instrumental in destroying Rudd’s ETS and bringing down Malcolm Turnbull in 2009 using a Tea Party inspired orchestrated ‘grassroots’ campaign – CANdo.

In 2013 he clearly stated his views on Q&A.

“I don’t, and I have never bought the alarmist hysteria attached to carbon dioxide as driving climate change. There’s no consensus of scientists, I’m afraid. There’s literally tens of thousands of scientists who have a different view on this. Over the course of time, a lot of the alarmists’ predictions and forecasts have been proved wrong.”

But if you dare call him a denier, or even mention the word denial, it is a “perjorative slur” that will not be tolerated because its links to the holocaust are offensive.

Apparently that doesn’t apply to the word “appeaser” which Bernardi likes to use in various contexts, particularly when talking about Muslims.

Speaking about criticism of his meeting with Dutch far right leader Geert Wilders, Bernardi said “my meeting with him created national headlines here – and the inevitable calls for me to be sacked by Liberal and Labor colleagues, the media and an assortment of appeasers and apologists.”

Cory is not a racist or a bigot and it is wrong of anyone to say so.

“Even the name ‘Islamic State’ should provide the most clueless of apologists with some idea as to what underlies the greatest terror threat we face today.

Now here’s the disclaimer for all those who are leaping out of their skin to claim ‘racist bigot Bernardi is picking on the Muslims again’: I am not picking on anyone – most Muslims live peaceably – but I am merely stating the bleeding obvious for anyone who cares to see the truth.

We have a growing global problem and its origins lie within the Islamic community.

The big problem is that the West alone cannot fix it. Only the Muslim population can do what needs to be done: reject, refute and reform Islam.”

Cory frequently criticises the Grand Mufti.

“Personally, I found it somewhat bizarre that this particular religious leader spoke strongly about the need for community integration but insisted upon doing so in Arabic through an interpreter.

Whatever the language, as long as those in positions of influence refuse to discuss frankly and candidly the elements intent on undermining our values and way of life, they will be effectively sweeping the problems under the carpet.

That approach has been a disaster overseas and there is no reason to expect it would have a different result here.”

So Cory wants free speech provided you don’t call him names and you say what he wants you to say how he wants you to say it. Considering how sensitive Bernardi is to criticism, one would think he would understand the reasons why we need Section 18C to remain in the Racial Discrimination Act.

Sections 18C and 18D were introduced in response to recommendations of major inquiries including the National Inquiry into Racist Violence and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. These inquiries found that racial hatred and vilification can cause emotional and psychological harm to their targets, and reinforce other forms of discrimination and exclusion. 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.

Echoing these inquiries, the Australian Law Reform Commission published the 1992 report, Multiculturalism and the Law, which recommended the introduction of legislation to deal with racial hatred.

Considering recent revelations of abuse in juvenile detention, a terrorist plot by a Reclaim Australia member, and violence between rival protest groups, now is not the time to be relaxing the laws that protect us from acts that are reasonably likely to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate.”

Malcolm Turnbull assures us that the debates about marriage equality, Indigenous recognition, immigration and religious freedom can be carried on in a civilised, mature fashion. That being the case there should be no worries about 18C. Consider it insurance to remind people to behave themselves.

As for Bernardi, I will leave the last word to one of his colleagues.

“He wants to be some sort of conservative warrior but he’s not up to it intellectually,” says a Liberal associate. “In reality he’s like the kid in the playground who pulls his pants down so everyone will look at him, but he has no idea how he’s embarrassing himself in the process. He’s basically kryptonite for any serious person in the party because he’s a complete embarrassment.”

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  1. Kaye Lee

    A mother wrote to Bernardi supporting the Safe Schools Program and he emailed her back within thirty minutes.

    The email, signed off with Bernardi’s initials “CB,” tells Cerveri “you clearly haven’t got any idea what is in the program.” The email goes on to describe Safe Schools as promoting “unhealthy ideas at such an early age” and claims the information provided on the Safe Schools site can be used “to find more about bondage clubs and adult sex toys.”

    “This is what the safe schools materials encourage. If you think this is ok then I worry for your children,” the email continues.

    “Inform yourself properly and then get back to me. Your opinion will carry more weight then.”

    Nothing worse than an arrogant fool.

  2. Duffa

    Bernardi has said “Safe Schools Program ‘intimidates’ children to conforming to the ‘homosexual agenda.’” And he has said gay marriage will lead to polygamy and bestiality. What are these statements if not an expression of Bernardi’s fears.
    So if you take homophobia as “Fear, hatred, or mistrust of lesbians and gay men”, then he can be fairly described as a homophobe.
    As for Common Sense this is one of the term used by ‘superior’ people who believe they are smart use when they want to put down those who don’t think the way they do.
    But the real problem with Bernardi is he only wants to be conservative, he has no progressive agenda at all it is all about keeping things the same. Marriage for instance he just wants to keep the meaning as it was for the last hundred years regardless the different meanings it may have had previously. And he wants to keep it the same despite changing the definition to include same sex couples will not change the nature of opposite sex couples relationships. It is good to keep what is good but it is not good to keep it just because it is old. It is time for Bernardi to take some humility pills and join the 21st century. Common sense bah common quack

  3. Anon E Mouse

    How can anyone take poor Cory Bernardi seriously when he seems to be overtly fascinated with other people’s bedroom activities, even between consenting adults (its a wonder that he hasn’t drawn up rules to dictate missionary position only).
    He also has an unhealthy obsession with bestiality, and goes troppo at the mere thought of adult toys…

    Bernardi thinks he is the minister for morals and bedroom rules.

    If they repeal Sections 18C and 18D, he might not like what people can say about him and his mates without fear of crossing the line.

  4. etnorb

    Sadly, this lying, incompetent nincompoop is just one of many who are in the Liberal/National party! He is just another example of the whole tea party, right wing, conservative, flat earth society. And yet he is in “power” WTF?? Also, as is typical of a huge lot of these conservative’s, any one who dares to disagree with any of their statements, policies, sayings, viewpoints etc, must be a Communist or “lefty”, or something akin to that! There would be plenty of “right wing”/conservative voters who would not agree with these warped views, but it appears there are very few in the Liberal party! As usual, Kaye you have hit the nail on the head! I also thought the “caricature” of Bernardi in the cartoon, at the top of your article, could almost be seen as a “male” Pauline Hanson! Does any one else see the “similarities” of this cartoon drawing?

  5. Miriam English

    Fear and hate work… at least for a while. Bernardi knows this and will ride it as far as it can take him.

  6. jim

    Cory must be straight out of the KKK.

  7. Malena Stule

    I’ve only just come across the phrase “post-fact politics” (post-truth politics), and it answers a lot of questions that I’ve had for the last five years) for me.

    Namely, how do obviously ill-informed polticians and hacks hijack important public policy to their own agenda by demonising people with accepted peer-reviewed research, and to the detriment of Australia and its citizens?

    It’s a monstrous and outrageous anti-academic phenomenon that has given us Tony Abbott, George Christendom, Cory Bernardi, ‘Lord’ Monkton’ and Lord Lardarse of the 19th Hole, Donald Drumpf.

  8. lawrencewinder

    There are now a significant number of these medieval thinking oddity’s (Leyonhjelm, Bernardi, One Notion, et al) in the parliament that the truism that when a law is bad it must be acted against; so our parliament is, it seems to me, getting very close to the same state of intellectual and socially moral dysfunction.

  9. Terry2


    Thank you for mentioning both sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act.

    The Far Right will only ever mention section 18C…..funny that !

  10. Michael

    I would like to draw a distinction between “saying” and “doing”

    – “say” what you want and realise (through education/life’s experiences) it can only be your responsible choice how you respond (“the devil made me do it” does not cut it)

    – “doing” or a consequence of something which is “said” is one’s personal choice can be shared not to be thrust/forced on others using one’s more than 1 vote 1 value position (CB’s)

    What one “says” reflects on the “sayer” and always gives one the choice of how to respond – verbally, behaviourably, etc – that is how some of us learn to learn.

  11. Freethinker

    We can put bets on this issue, who will win, the Brandis team ot Bernadi’s team ?

    Going by the news on the issue of superannuation the faith between Morrison team and Christensen team looks like the the fat man from the north has won again.
    Please, for the good of the nation call an election before the next budget.

  12. Phil

    He’s a closet cross-dresser for sure. Actually I’d hazard a guess his closet is chock full of weird little peccadilloes.

    He spits pejoratives at his detractors, often without provocation – hardly the actions of one worthy of sitting in our parliament. Has all the hallmarks of privilege and erotic self interest.

    The sort of public figure to be wary of.

  13. Kaye Lee

    Mr Christensen, who represents the biggest sugar growing electorate in Australia, has accused the National Health and Medical Research Council of demonising sugar and running a nanny state with draft new food guidelines that tell Australians to “limit” their sugar intake.

    “You can call me the sugar plum fairy if you want to,” he told News Limited. “I’m happy to be associated with sugar. What will happen to the taste of Tim Tams in Australia if regulations force the sugar content to halve?”

  14. Anon E Mouse

    Its hard to spot the biggest dill in the LNP. They do seem to go for the lowest iq.

  15. helvityni

    ” What will happen to the taste of Tim Tams in Australia if regulations force the sugar content to halve?”

    Finally the bodyweight of Mr Christensen, or anyone else’s (overly obese), might get halved…

    Win/win for us and our healthcare systems, never mind the profits of biscuit merchants…

  16. Harquebus

    Freedom of speech the Kaye Lee way.
    Delete all comments that you do not agree with.

  17. silkworm

    Corgi St Bernardi is a conservative, except when he’s a libertarian.

  18. Kaye Lee

    If your comments continue in that useless way I certainly will delete them. This isn’t a forum for you to take shots at people.

  19. guest

    Was it John Howard who legislated that marriage is between a man and a woman? How was marriage legislated before that? Or was it simply a matter of ‘common sense’? The notion that marriage is a matter between two people is an entirely different view.

    The whole matter of sexuality seems to be beyond the understanding of critics of LBGTI people. Their ‘common sense’ view that if the baby has a penis it is a boy child and if it has a vagina it is a girl child is a limited and inappropriate way of determining sexuality. OK, so it works for most children, but not for all. And this is the undoing of the conservatives: they cannot conceive (!) of any other possibility.

    Hence the fluster about Same Sex Marriage. See how they have a battery of ready responses: it will degrade the marriage of heterosexual persons; it will lead to whole football teams wanting to marry; it will lead to bestiality. . All of this is part of a nightmare dreamed up by themselves.

    The same with Safe Schools. For the conservatives, the program is a Marxist scheme to destroy families and indoctrinate children into the ways of LGBTI. They will talk about ‘life style choices’ in the same way they talk about Aboriginal poverty. They just do not understand that people do not choose sexual orientation. And it is something which the LGBTI discover about themselves, sometimes even at an early age. It is not as if there are huge numbers of these people, but they need to be heard because of the discrimination and humiliation heaped on them by others who are afraid of people who are different in some way. We see it with sexuality, with skin colour, with religion, with clothing, with food culture… It is discrimination born of ignorance.

    They do not want to talk about keeping LGBTI people safe from bullying. They prefer gay-bashing, perhaps? They would prefer that LGBTI people get back in the closet. but it ain’t gonna happen.

    So when the topic of bullying is raised, they do not wish to speak about LGBTI people because, for the conservatives, LGBTI people are not real people; they are abominations which must be kept out of sight, not mentioned and given no rights.

    So much for the conservative talk about freedom of speech, freedom for this and that. But no freedom for LGBTI people

    And the Christian talk about a god of love does not ring true when we hear the hate and misinformation – ignorance, in fact – that is aired with such vehemence and smug certainty in the conservative stance on these issues.

  20. wam

    the school-yard image is priceless!!!!!
    speech, freedom of speech and freedom of expression are confusing terms which sound like legal jargon?
    Brandis thinks bigotry is free speech. for bolt it is racism and religious bigotry for corey it is homosexuality,
    For the pollies it is anything they say.
    For the rich it is not anything others say and for the lawyers it, is/is not, anything anyone says about (or to) anyone

  21. Terry2


    It wasn’t ‘common sense’ it was ‘common law’ that governed the interpretation of the Marriage Act. But it was John Howard who initiated the changes to become legislated changes to the Marriage Act in 2004 and thus it became ‘black letter ‘ law.

    Had Howard – with the support of Labor – left it to the common law to determine what was ‘right’ you may well have found that the organic and evolving nature of the common law would by now have interpreted marriage as a union between two people.

    The rest of your comments seem a bit incoherent so I won’t attempt to interpret them.

  22. Aortic

    Methinks he doth protest too much.

  23. guest

    Terry2, the coherence of my comment lies in the fact that the right-wing opponents to LGBTI people do not want to discuss LGBTI people in a sympathetic way, which to my mind, ruins the Christian Right’s talk of a loving god. The attitude of the conservatives is anything but loving or even sympathetic. It would prefer not to even discuss LGBTI people at all, as if they are somehow sub-human or evil or excommunicated and beyond redemption.This exclusive attitude is clear in their talk about Same sex Marriage and safe Schools.

    What is your attitude to Same Sex Marriage and Safe Schools? Can you prove I am wrong? Am I so incoherent? Or have you not really thought about it?

    PS, I knew very well what Howard had done. But to listen to the Bernardis of the world one would think that marriage was automatically male-female form time immemorial. Howard’s action was a deliberate action to deny LGBTI people from ever claiming a right to marriage. That he has failed is to be celebrated, but still the Bernardis rave on. My fear is that the plebiscite could well be sabotaged.

  24. longwhitekid

    Cory is correct in that everyone calling him a ‘homophobe’ is wrong. They should be calling him a ‘homosexual.’ He is one of the most chronic, pathologically denying closet cases in the history of politics in this country. He reminds me of Pastor Ted Haggard and has the same crazed, glazed look in his eye. Couldn’t lie straight in bed.

  25. townsvilleblog

    Well, perhaps I’m a bit slow but common sense to me is to be inclusive not exclusive. To judge people on skin colour, sexual preference is a tory trait to put one group against another and is old as Nepolian divide and conquer. Why the everyday Aussie falls for this I don’t know. I thought we were smarter than this.

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