Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Sometimes attributed to Voltaire:
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  

There are some very pithy quotes around freedom of speech but unless someone stands in a crowded Cinema and yells "fire", that being a sort of yardstick to define where it may not be OK, for democracy to flourish the one single right for any citizen is to be lawfully enabled to state their opinion without fear from anything beyond ridicule.

Recently, since last November in fact, the US has endured many instances of people with opinions that are seen as totally unacceptable to others,  being silenced, too often with the once bastions of  free speech Universities in the van. I have always believed that a major strength in support of higher education is the ability to be confronted and challenged by views that foment serious debate and rebuttal,  not state sanctioned banning.
Not any more, too many snowflakes  upset at how all their hopes were dashed by an upstart, brash and  rank outside the establishment candidate playing the game better, leaving the predicted winner writhing in the woods defeated. Yesterday she started the blame game and with a sycophantic media looking for truth,  it was largely avoided, only some very unspecific references to the fact Hillary might have crashed it  in spades all by her own efforts.

In Australia they have a right one heading their Race Relations equivalent to our Squash Player, both who are so far out to lunch they struggle to differentiate between race, religion and political beliefs. If someone  offends,  Devoid is on her lame pony riding into the scrap, something even less worthy in the West Isle has El Presidente in her limmo  wielding her awesome power.
However compared to the "president" of the Aussie outfit Devoid is a desexed pussycat.
Gillian Triggs has a clause in her empowering legislation innocuously referred to as 18c.
It is pernicious and harsh and that is being kind.
Recently an Aboriginal tutor at a Queensland poly tech set up a computer suite for the use of "indigenous" Students. When a group of five I think there was deemed not acceptable, were seeking computers to work on availed themselves of the vacant  suite.  A clipboard toting SJW Cindy Prior sued the students for A$250 000  not a small sum for a student even if divided by three. Two having bought peace with money and an apology.
IMHO being threatened with such a penalty could bring stress and distraction so it was with some relief that a Judge threw Priors get rich scheme out before trial but not before some serious expense was incurred by those who chose to defend and a payment by the other o to make it all go away
Another gross abuse of 18c came with the hounding of cartoonist for his provocative depiction of the nub of the total rubbish The ABC manipulated around the Don Dale detention center in The Northern Territory, and although it will never be known if it contributed to Bill Leaks somewhat early death from heart illness it certainly caused Bill some serious stress that he was under threat from Triggs' fascists.
There are many other serious allegations that have been and continue to be promoted under this seriously flawed bit of long standing legislation.

This week that President of the Commission has been awarded an award quaintly labeled The Voltaire Award and I have a dollar to a knob of kangaroo dung she will rush it as the charlatan has no understanding of what free speech is and how dangerous suppressing any stating of beliefs sincerely held can be.

Then again Triggs has repeatedly exhibited a very opposing view of what free speech really is so no breath holding recommended.


Barry said...

I think 18C killed Bill Leak.

gravedodger said...

In the absense of medical evidence, the stress can have done him no favours with his cardiac problems.
Last time I saw Bill before he died, I think it was on the Bolt report, he did not look well so I think you may well be correct Barry.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...



David said...

Trust the usual snowflakes on the right to get all worked up over a non-issue.

Under Section 18D (the bit the rabid right always ignore), if what someone says is fair, or accurate, or a matter of reportage, or an artistic work, or genuinely held belief, then it's completely exempt from charges under 18C. In other words, Leak was covered by his cartoon being either an artistic work or reportage.

Getting convicted under 18C is, therefore, pretty tricky. That's why only around five per cent of all complaints made under 18C ever make it to court, and why less than half of those are upheld once they get there.

Also, despite the appeals to free speech, almost all of the successful cases were about workplace bullying. Barely any of the cases that get to court are about statements made in the broader public sphere and - given the vast exemptions outlined in 18D - you can correctly conclude that it's very hard to make them stick.

The successful prosecution of Andrew Bolt for two 2009 Herald Sun articles in which he criticised people for being insufficiently Aboriginal to be worthy of access to Aboriginal-only grants ('It's so hip to be black' and 'White fellas in the black') hinged on the fact that Bolt made factually incorrect declarations regarding the heritage of people named in the articles in order to support his nonsense argument, not that he expressed unpopular opinions. That's why the "fair comment" provisions didn't kick in.

The rabid right want to take us back to 1975 and earlier, to a time when it was legal to refuse to employ a person based solely on their race, to refuse accommodation to a person, based solely on the religion, to a time when your race determined if you get buy a beer in a pub, get a ticket to the cinema or ride on a train.

They dress it up in the language of free speech, but they applaud and cheer the far harsher restrictions in the Border Force Act, restrictions that can make it illegal for a teacher to report sexual abuse of a child.

Yes, that is the rabid Right for you - don't give a tinker's cuss for abused children, but want to be free to call Penny Wong a "ching lesbo dyke".

Which of these complaints do you think impinged on free speech?