Nostalgia at the AUKMIN Talks: Britain’s Forces Eye…

Give the man credit where it’s due. Few could possibly be congratulated…

Long-term immigration detention has again become a pointless…

By Peter Hughes The Howard government released long-term detainees into the community, but…

Is time up for Eric Abetz?

With a hostile Senate, a Labor government would be severely hamstrung in…

Delivering more of the same for the LNP’s…

By Denis Bright When Australia was the land of hope, our best political…

The atrocity of indefinite and arbitrary immigration detention…

In February last year, Andrew Wilkie introduced a Private Members Bill, seconded…

There’s a sense of disbelief at Morrison's ignorance,…

Diary No 6, Saturday, January 22 2022 1 When lying comes back to torment…

Surrender, Accommodation and RATs

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test has been the mainstay of COVID-19…

The Omicron Murders?

So who will speak on behalf of the dead? Will they ever…

«
»
Facebook

I Hate You. So Shut Your Face.

hate

A recent article in The Australian newspaper asserted that Tony Abbott planned to roll back Labor’s laws that limit free speech. It said that if elected, he would work with his attorney-general, George Brandis, to champion, instead of restricting, the right of free speech in Australia. This would involve amending the Racial Discrimination Act, which prohibits remarks that offend others on grounds of race or ethnicity. This was the provision used to prosecute newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt.

Mr Abbott was reported as saying:

“Any suggestion you can have free speech as long as it doesn’t hurt people’s feelings is ridiculous. If we are going to be a robust democracy, if we are going to be a strong civil society, if we are going to maintain that great spirit of inquiry, which is the spark that has made our civilisation so strong, then we’ve got to allow people to say things that are unsayable in polite company’’

So does decency matter?

On the surface, these words may be acceptable to those of a conservative bent, but to people such as myself who like to scratch the surface, they are but a disguise. A permission or dispensation to insult, or assault another’s emotions or even worse.

It is positively unlawful to assault someone physically but perfectly fine to assault them emotionally.

The words of Mr Abbott reminded me of the now famous decision by the US Supreme Court in the Westboro Baptist Church vs. Albert Snyder. Mr Snyder’s son was a marine who died in Iraq. The Church pickets the funerals of servicemen, brandishing the most outrageous signs imaginable and shouting the putrid wrath of God at the families with all the vengeance they can muster.

The court effectively said that it was their duty to protect free speech even if it offended the grieving parents of American heroes. Even if it drove people to the brink of suicide or further. That people should have the right to freedom of expression no matter how evil their intent.

That it didn’t matter how loathing or despising your language was, or what harm your actions caused. You had under the first amendment every right to act in that manner. It’s called free speech.

Now it cannot be overstated just how vile this church is. I call it ‘’The Church of Hate’’ and is very active in many areas of American society. They say the most abominable loathsome things imaginable but the court says its fine and it is there to uphold the church’s right to do so.

There is something wrong with a society that condones hate speech and it is what Tony Abbott and his ilk are wanting for Australia.

Mr Snyder’s response was thus:

“My first thought was, eight justices don’t have the common sense God gave a goat.” He added, “We found out today we can no longer bury our dead in this country with dignity.”

Only those who have been abused by it truly understand what free speech is.

I could rightly, I think, argue that it is impossible to understand the harm unrestrained free speech does to people until we have personally suffered from the abuse of it. I could also argue that we do not appreciate the value of free speech whilst we allow it to be exploited the way it is. I would even suggest that free speech is completely misunderstood.

If as a society our collective intention is the attainment of a better humanity. Then surely hand in glove with that must be our social intercourse. Using this precious gift of free speech to vilify others is not consistent with egalitarian pursuits and a fairer and sophisticated social order.

You can read the court finding in this article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/02/westboro-baptist-church-w_n_830209.html

What it comes down to is what the Australian public wants. Free speech is one of the many gifts that democracy gives us and should be sacrosanct. However, at the same time, the right to use it should carry a heavy individual and collective responsibility. We need to enshrine a greater appreciation of it on our citizens together with an indebtedness of the individual’s entitlement to use it.

I mean by that, that along with the right to use it also comes a requirement on people to display decorum, moderation, fact, balance, reason, tolerance, civility and respect for the other point of view. Free speech does not mean it should be free from ethics. Like truth for example. Sadly, this seems to have been forgotten both here and in the United States.

Of course, the pedlars of verbal violence and dishonesty, the likes of Bolt, Jones, Hadley etc 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.

And conservatives support their own particular concept of free speech because it caters for division untruth and above all keeps the proletariat in its place.

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 the Australian Constitution free speech is only implied. It is time we decided what exactly that means and in doing so, decide how it might shape the sort of society we want to be.

One where free speech is a force for needless destruction or one where it is used for the betterment of society.

Sure it can be vigorous and robust but let’s keep it respectful.

48 comments

Login here Register here
  1. Kaite M.

    Excellent article but it leaves me speech-less.

  2. patsy

    WELL Andrew bolt is the supreme master of HATE…..the man or should I call him a person must really hate himself…this is why he projects it onto everyone….especially labour followers…Then I suppose I can say I hate him…but I am sure he does not care……I WONDER WHAT ELSE HE DOES FOR THE LARGE WAGE HE EARNS….GREED THE ONLY DISEASE THAT IS INCURABLE!!!!!!!!

  3. Margaret McMillan

    Thanks for this article John. As Mr Snyder said, the ‘justices don’t have the common sense god gave a goat’. We deserve legislation which stops the US situation from happening here. When I hear the sorts of things Jones, Bolt and Hadley say I wonder how it can possibly be legal in a civil society.
    Your statement ‘Hate speech is anything but free’ is a rallying cry for all of us to watch this issue carefully and do what we can to make sure laws are not watered down further.

  4. Aaron Press

    Well said. Will be interested to see what happens if this law is removed and and let’s say for arguments sake that Muslims start calling white australians by some racist name. Would like to see what the average aussie thinks then. This is a stupid idea by the LNP and will only cause problems if not more racial segregation and violence, if people believe its there right to talk down to someone.

  5. kayelee1

    When Tony Abbott gave his address at the 70th Anniversary dinner of the IPA he vowed to repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Coincidentally Andrew Bolt, who was prosecuted under this Act, was the MC for that evening.

    “You campaigned against the legislative prohibition against giving offence and I’m pleased to say that the author of those draft laws is now leaving the parliament. Well done IPA!… We will repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, at least in its current form.”

    http://www.tonyabbott.com.au/LatestNews/Speeches/tabid/88/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/9135/Address-to-Institute-of-Public-Affairs-70th-Anniversary-Dinner-Melbourne.aspx

    Section 18C makes it unlawful to do an act that ”is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people” on racial or ethnic grounds.” Section 18C is not about “hurt feelings,” or an impediment to discussing “alternatives” in the public sphere, nor is it about limiting freedom of speech. It is about offering legislative protection to the most vulnerable and marginalised members of our society – our indigenous population, along with culturally and ethnically diverse communities and religious minority groups.

    Moreover, eliminating such legislative protections and relying instead on common law offences of incitement would not provide guaranteed protections, and would ultimately represent an appalling abrogation of responsibility for the most vulnerable.

    http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/08/13/3566446.htm

    TONY Abbott says free speech is “the freedom to write badly and rudely. It’s the freedom to be obnoxious and objectionable” (“Labor muzzling press to hide failings: Abbott”, 6/8).

  6. kate ahearne

    Thanks for this, John. The trouble with basic human rights is that sometimes they clash. Freedom of speech, or the right to free speech often clashes with the right to live in freedom from fear and hatred directed at you by someone exercising their right to speak their hatred freely.

  7. ginckgo

    A very complex issue, with many grey areas. On the one hand I don’t think people should be allowed to use the fact that they are insulted by what someone says to argue that they have committed hate speech. I criticise people’s religious beliefs, which are often such a core part of their identity that they feel I am attacking them personally – I worry that restrictions on free speech would restrict my ability to criticise.
    However, I aim to attack not the person, but rather what I see as their flawed beliefs.
    Maybe we need to apply a rule that when you are criticising someone, you are not allowed to use logical fallacies; no ad hominems, or poisoning the well, etc.
    The funeral picketing to me is a clear breach of various laws, such as harassment, hate speech, invasion of privacy, that free speech had nothing to do with it (they could have simply posted their opinion on a web site).

  8. 1createblogs

    Great Post!

  9. Fed up

    Every right, carries the obligation, not to abuse that right.

    Our criminal laws, tell us, we do not have the right to assault all around us. Why should verbal assault be any difference.

  10. Fed up

    We have always had libel and defamation laws, since time memorable.

    Is Brandis and Co telling us, that those laws interfere with free speech.

  11. Fed up

    New slogan Purposely, carefully and methodically.

    Funny, that is how Gillard operated when she took over from Rudd. Drew up a list of what Rudd did not get around to doping. For the next couple of years, she worked her way through that list. When that was completed, she then moved onto her own polices, that where all put into legislation, in preparation for the recent elections.

    These policies built on what she had achieved during her reign.

    Why does Abbott push his slogan so hard.
    Why does he protest so much.

    Where is his front bench.

    Why the delay?

  12. Fed up

    We all have basic human rights, which I believe this country is an signatory to. One is not to be subjected to abuse and discrimination.

  13. Debra O'Brien

    I have an well-known American liberal blogger arguing right now on my face book against your statement that “The original intent of free speech was to give a voice to the oppressed and to keep governments honest.” Do you have evidence about the intention of the framers regarding the oppressed?

  14. Adam Smith

    Great article. Thinking about it, it occurred to me that the starting point for any analysis of free speech in the U.S.A. is the clear and present danger test formulated by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision of Schenck v. United States (1919). Charles T. Schenck and his fellow defendants were convicted under a federal criminal statute for attempting to disrupt World War 1 military recruitment by distributing leaflets claiming that conscription was unconstitutional. The government believed this behaviour threatened public order. At the core of the Court’s opinion, Holmes wrote: “The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done… The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic… The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree. When a nation is at war many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its efforts that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right”.

    However, because the actions of the defendants in Schenck were deemed to create a clear and present danger to the United States at that time, the defendants’ convictions were upheld. Nevertheless, Holmes later frequently disagreed with a majority of his colleagues in applying the clear and present danger test. The test helps to distinguish the advocacy of ideas, which is protected, from incitement, which is not.

  15. johnlord2013

    The Americans adopted the English common law rights given to ALL its citizens even though it was a class society. However, anyone could be charged with sedition even if they were factually right. I think this was later challenged in the States and the case was on so that fact played an important role in free speech. Without researching I think this is correct injusticebydesign.

  16. Adam Smith

    I’ve dug out some old hand written notes, stored in my attic, from my Uni days, and I’d like to quote a 1925 US Court landmark decision in Gitlow v. New York. Benjamin Gitlow was arrested for distributing copies of a “left-wing manifesto” (Do you recall the great TV series ‘Reilly Ace of Spies’ based upon a real life character, and featured in the Washington DC Spy Museum?-and Henry Ford et-al) that called for the establishment of socialism through strikes and class action of any form. Gitlow was convicted under a state criminal anarchy law; Schenck (including another case involving Jacob Abrams) under a federal law. The court held, for the first time, that the 1st Amendment speech and press provisions applied to the states through due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Still, a majority of the justices affirmed Gitlow’s conviction. Justice Holmes and Louis D. Brandeis argued in dissent that Gitlow’s ideas did not pose a clear and present danger. “Eloquence may set fire to reason, ” conceded the dissenters. “But whatever may be thought of the redundant discourse before us, it had no chance of starting a present conflagration.” My research in all of this had to do with developing an understanding of Keynesian economic philosophy and so on.

  17. Adam Smith

    Some people may recall the 1990’s Republican debate in Australia. The idea by some to implement a ‘minimalist’ Australian Republic. The proposed changes were fundamentally about our freedoms, order & economic well-being (equality of opportunity etc). Many of us want to make our democracy better than it currently is. Many of us want to strengthen our individual social rights and responsibilities to build and maintain a fairer commonwealth for today and future generations. Let me define my thoughts this way. We as a people seek greater democratic rights, but we also appreciate that a right is a power or privilege that we share a just claim to; that belongs to each one of us by law, nature, or tradition. In this context, the first part of the definition – a power or privilege that we seek a just claim to – means to some of us that their own individual ideas of fairness determine their rights. For example, you can may see how this is played out during the recent election, the LNP & smaller rightists candidates vs ALP & smaller leftists candidates publishing their political rhetoric. For instance, take members of the LNP & their minority supporters who now seemingly claim they have a full mandate to deal with the current law relating to climate change. And on the other side a seeming confusion as some in the ALP & their minority supporters wishing to change their minds having previously voted at every opportunity to make the current law. I think that people involved in political life must surely understand this. One person’s belief that a right exists does not necessarily mean that another person must respect it. But in the case of say, climate change laws, the proven facts, informing Australian society about the activity of mankind polluting the earths environment, endangering living (human) species, must be righteously respected. In my opinion, a recalcitrant leader of a country cannot be allowed to declare that he or she is right based on incorrectly interpreting factual information. He cannot go to the people and say that 5+5=15 when that is clearly wrong. And if the ALP allows that to happen then they will be as guilty as the other side.

  18. Dagney J. Taggart

    Ah yes, the good old Westboro church. Their behavior appears to have less to do with genuinely held religious beliefs than with deliberate trolling designed to provoke others so they can sue them.

    It is a fine balance to encourage robust debate but to prevent speech that is deliberately hateful.

  19. Adam Smith

    In order to answer your question, I may have confused you with my reply. But you are right, natural rights, in the U.S.A. and Australia are more or less based on the principle that all people by nature have certain rights simply by being human. These rights are higher than any human political system. Natural rights do not come from government. Because they do not come from government, government cannot legitimately take them away. But because they do not come from government, government does not always protect them either. That is why Adam Smith in his famous book ‘An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes Of The Wealth of Nations’ uses the words “The invisible hand…” (And it has nothing to do with religion in that context). John Locke, an English political philosopher of the late 1600s, developed a very influential theory of natural rights. he believed that people do not give up their “rights of nature” when they create a government. Moreover, he said that governments exists to protect the natural rights of its citizens, a value I fail to see, or wait to discover in the LNP Abbott Government.

  20. Misri

    Mr Abbott you are a hypocrite. I will explain why. During the election campaign you Mr Abbott deleted all opposing opinions and comments from your PUBLIC Facebook page, which was an extension of your work and public life. So you wish to have the choice to delete or control comments in a forum where the public are asked to interact with you just as they are in everyday work places and public spaces. So if you are readily willing to silence all opposing views based on the fact that you don’t like them then how can you then claim you are supportive of free speech?! What you are advocating Mr Abbott is allowing those with big voices who are supportive of you to say what they like and how they like it. This is purely a political manoeuvre and you are not interested in the slightest in free speech. If you were you would have never deleted any comments from your public forums. Your Facebook page unlike private facebook pages was open to the public. You yourself silenced dissenting voices respectful as well as unpleasant. So you are a hypocrite.

  21. billy moir

    we already have free speech for news corp insurance backed journalists and not for those who criticise gina whose attitude to the law hinges on buying yourself out of gaol. what a beaut 6 months before the rabbott sinks.

  22. Marcus

    So, does this mean Abbott is going to pay back all that money he won from Bob Ellis for “hurting his feelings”? After all, everything Ellis said in his book was *fact*, so it really did come down to hurt feelings. Once again, Abbott displays is rampant hypocrisy & desire to create a two tiered society-one where the wealthy can sue for “defamation” with ease, but where ordinary people must cop all kinds of abuse.

  23. toosmartbyhalf

    Rubbish, rubbish, and again, rubbish. You cannot take an extremist example of some clown at the Westboro Baptist Church, and use it as some sort of guiding fear factor against free speech.

    Taking your reductionist argument, I say to you that any limits on free speech equate to a slope towards Stalinism.

    Mate, harden the f**k up. If someone says something that hurts your little feelings, you don’t belong in public life. Let me say this loudly and proudly: everything that has ever been worth saying, ever, has been downright offensive to someone.

  24. Kaye Lee

    toosmartbyhalf you may be happy for abusive hateful speech to be the norm but I most certainly am not. This is not confined to people in public life. This is about the standards we find acceptable. We are working hard to eliminate bullying from our schools and workplaces. Why should we hold our journalists to lesser standards? If you cannot express your view without being offensive then I suggest you need to expand your vocabulary.

    And has already been pointed out by others, Tony Abbott and Gina Rinehart are very quick to muzzle anyone they find critical of them. Are we to only allow that protection to those wealthy enough to threaten to sick their legal team on you?

  25. johnlord2013

    Too smartbyhalf

    Perhaps a greater understanding of what I am saying might be obtained by exercising a greater willingness to think more deeply.

  26. kayelee1

    John I read the Letter from Birmingham City jail and found it truly inspirational. We suffer from the malaise of living in a comfortable society and have lost our passion for advocating what is right whilst focusing on the minutiae of legalities. The court system is often not about justice and definitely not about morality. It is up to us to impose these standards.

    As Martin Luther King said, “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.” Condoning hate speech as some sort of fight for freedom is paradoxical. The damage that is done to vulnerable people can never be justified and in our so-called civilised society we should all be united in our abhorrence of words or deeds that are used to humiliate or intimidate others.

  27. Wen

    Yes, people can get offended no matter what you say, but the difference is wether you meant to harm someone by what you say. Much of the venom of the last 3 years has been said to specifically bring harm and hardening up isn’t going to solve this actually. I would cite Abbott’s behaviour towards Julia Gillard as a prime example. It made our country an international disgrace.

    Funny, when it is being said about someone else no one seems to worry too much but when it is directed at you well that is another matter altogether. What do we want to live in, a society where everyone can spew their malice at anyone, anytime with impunity? Or do want to live in a community where we at least have some respect for ourselves and others? A no brainier I would think.

  28. kayelee1

    And on the hypocrisy front, the interview by Leigh Sales in which she grilled Mr Abbott over his claim BHP had suspended its Olympic Dam project over the carbon tax and he admitted he hadn’t read the company’s statement, led to an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which eventually cleared her of bias against Mr Abbott.

    Now THAT’S what I call being precious.

  29. Adam Smith

    We all, well most of us, participate through voting. The heart of our democracy lies in our electoral process. And because we argue with ourselves about things, as it were, and with our neighbours, and of course our chosen political party processes, we often get tempered in more or less degrees. And because our social ideal, that government ought to be run by us, some of us have been awakened by the shenanigans of billionaires supporting the well known members of the Liberal National Coalition Party’s. Ostensibly, elections are what I describe as institutional processes that continue to reinforce democracy by allowing us to choose our candidates as they offer up issues we want resolved. When media groups fail to press candidates about policy, and the voters fail to grasp facts, then the people will vote for some who will disappoint them badly. So I agree with your observation about the kind of society we design in which we all must try and live in peace.

  30. johnlord2013

    Thank you Adam Smith for your observations.

  31. diannaart

    Anyone who has been targeted by bullies knows well the difference between free speech and hate speech.

    All bullies like to claim their victims simply can’t take it – in order to justify their behaviour, which when turned back on them, these same bullies start with the self victimising.

    That’s why Abbott, like all bullies, loves to dish out his bile but can’t take it – the faux ‘clean up’ of his Facebook page says it all.

  32. Fed up

    It appears that the Coalition do not like free speech when it comes to Mirabella. At least know one is spreading lies about her. Just repeating what she has done and said.

    Funny, when the boot is on the other foot, they object.

  33. Adrian

    I dont agree with this article we should have the freedom to say what we like, if you want to say you hate all foregneirs go ahead its just words. It becomes hate speech only when your words are to insight physical harm or violence against other people. You have no right not to be offended it would be all to easy to abuse If that were the case because offensivness is objective, as your parents would have told you with the school bully just ignore them !

  34. Therese Sutton

    A lot to ponder in this article. It certainly has pros and cons. One point of fact, as a result of the ruling in favour of the Westboro Church, was the reaction of the people. Westboro has not been very successful at all since this ruling because it motivated people all across the U.S. to stand at the line (a measurement of distance that is considered to not infringe on the privacy) well before any westboro “parishoners” got there and so they have been crowded out and have cancelled some of their planned “protests” at funerals. The people wouldn’t put up with them. The people exercised their rights to attend the funerals and assemble honour gaurds that essentially blocked the so called westboro church.

  35. johnlord2013

    Adrian. The simplicity of your argument is so breathtaking that it could only be described as trying to bait the author. You failed.

  36. Jon Menzies

    It is a two way street! I notice a lot of hate here towards Westboro church, if we can’t speak about something we don’t agree with, how are atrocities to be brought to light? Who decides what we can and can’t say? Some people and “religious minorities” are offended at the drop of a hat, that we dare reveal the things they do and say to the uninformed public, sometimes the truth offends, so be it!!!

  37. johnlord2013

    It’s as simple as treating other people the way you would expect them to treat you.

  38. kayelee1

    It is NEVER ok to intentionally try to humiliate or intimidate other people because you disagree with them.

    By all means be truthful and vocal about practices with which you disagree, but if you must resort to abuse to do this then I would suggest you may need to rethink your stance or at least your approach.

    Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”.

    Article 19 goes on to say that the exercise of these rights carries “special duties and responsibilities” and may “therefore be subject to certain restrictions” when necessary “for respect of the rights or reputation of others” or “for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals”.

    With rights come responsibilities and if we must legislate this moral responsibility to achieve the society we want then so be it.

  39. diannaart

    Kayelee1

    Some people have this idea that freedom carries no responsibilities or consequences. That the only pain is physical, that words do no harm. They keep to this lie to justify their behaviour. What they don’t see is that the majority can see them for the bullies they are. These thugs can only see out, never in to what most people can see. Probably too scary for them to look deep inside, because, ultimately, bullies are cowards.

  40. Adam Smith

    Johnlord2013, not only is it breathtaking but it allows for a repeat of history as was experienced in the 20th century with Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot et al. It also will destroy western belief systems, including ethical behaviour. If you want to follow Adrian’s way, western society will be on a slippery slope to self destruction. But we do have these types living amongst us and I know of some of them.

  41. diannaart

    I am very sorry my comment was completely misunderstood by you.

    The people I listed – all of them, I admire deeply.

    I agree Abbott is a bully – however to invoke Godwin’s Law is always a losing strategy.

    For your further edification I include a link to explain Godwin’s here, because I have a feeling you may not understand the reference:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

    Also labelling people as you have done to yours truly, is also bullying. Playing devil’s advocate is not being a “Contrarian”.

    Cheers

  42. Fed up

    “Comparing Abbott to some of the worst tyrants in history is, in my humble view; hate speech.

    Now I loathe Abbott; his views, what passes for his values, however, I prefer to prove that he is potentially an inadequate PM using evidence. ”

    Have to agree. In Abbott’s case, there is no need to sink to low levels, when condemning him

    We have to do, as we have been doing, just keep repeating what Abbott does and says.

    This alone will destroy. He will do it himself.

  43. Fed up

    It is not hate talk, to call a bully, a bully. Not to do so, only allows the behaviour to continue, and others being bullied.

    Is Abbott going to face the media today. Only one occasion since the election, I believe.

  44. Fed up

    Press releases though, announcing sacking of three heads. Believe one treasury has resigned.

  45. diannaart

    I agree, Fed up, calling someone a bully is only abuse if the label is untrue.

    Abbott, not exactly as media friendly nor as savvy as Gillard (wistful gaze into recent past)

    I expect more resignations and rolling heads. Abbott will be scrutinised – and there is nothing ha can do, Australia is still a place of freedom and independent thought.

    I thank you for your thoughts.

  46. codger

    @ gingcko 1:13pm
    I agree. An insult should not be sufficient to take someone to court. How easy it is to insult the Muslim religion (apparently).
    Lord could have done more to examine the David Marr/Jonathon Holmes/etc point of view, instead of just bagging Andrew Bolt, who was actually proven to have told lies, rather than merely insulted his victims. Similarly, the Albert Snyder case should have been about assault, surely, rather than free speech?

  47. codger

    I can’t believe that almost 100% of commenters feel free to write what they like on here but in some nebulous way want to curtail free speech!! If you want to define the boundary between hate speech and free speech, go right ahead. I can assure you every time the government changes, the boundary will change, until you won’t be able to say what you want, any of you!

  48. Worried world citizen

    Just an American stopping by… and I am scared at what you all are saying here.

    Someone’s hate speech is another’s deep belief. This is true regarding religion especially, as Christianity vehemently disapproves of homosexuality, Judaism calls gentiles Goyim, Islam considers all other revealed religions to be corrupt, Hindu practices leave women far below men and so does Buddhism. Is Australia going to ban religion now due to its hatespeech? Or does freedom of religion trump hatespeech laws?

    Furthermore you should have the right to offend. You cannot incite violence or slander someone and you cannot speak words that will lead to cathestrophic imminent harm to others (“FIRE!” in a crowded theater) in the US, but you CAN offend and frankly we’re better off for it.

    Freedom of speech was not implemented to protect favorable speech, in fact it was exactly the opposite as favorable/popular speech needs no protection. Furthermore, you are now delving into thought crimes and subjective measures like offense to define what is a crime and isn’t. This is highly dangerous territory philosophically. I heard Australia also banned small beasts in porn and being a friend with someone in a biker gang even if you are not in one though, but I digress… (even if slightly)

    The ideas espoused here, along with the banning of small beasts in porn and destruction of the freedom of association, seem to say to any classic liberal that Australia, as a nation, is NOT interested in personal liberties and has no interest in upholding what may be emotionally unpopular but necessary ideals for a free society. I’m sorry, but if ideas like the one’s you are espousing ever become a part of our already insufferable and corrupt governments policies I might consider moving to a different country or killing myself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page
%d bloggers like this: