Except for the right kind of speech
For my money probably the best political blogger in the world is Australia’s Andrew Bolt. He was one of the first journalists onto Climategate (he got there before me) and his takedown earlier this year on his radio show of an EU Climate Commissioner spouting nonsense was magisterial. But he’s by no means a single issue commentator: he has strength in depth. His war, like mine, is against those who would constrain our liberty by imposing on us more tax, more regulation, more control. He’s firm but fair: one of the good guys.
This is why we should all worry greatly about the latest bizarre ruling from the Australian federal court, which has found Bolt in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act.
Newspaper columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt was today found guilty in the Federal Court of breaches of the Racial Discrimination Act. Justice Mordy Bromberg in his ruling, found two articles written by Bolt in 2009—claiming that self-proclaimed aborigines of caucasian descent and appearance were “political aborigines”, who used their legal “indigenous” status to intrigue themselves into lucrative positions open only to indigenous Australians and further their (predominantly activist) careers—left it
…reasonably likely that fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them) were offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated…
What this precedent means, is that the legal test of vilification now turns on the degree of offence experienced in the mind of the claimed victim—an impossible legal criterion, one which is open to any imaginable distortion of meaning, and one which opens the way to the tyranny of the hypersensitive.
This sounds to me very much like our own Macpherson Report’s perfectly ludicrous definition of a “racist” incident as “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”. That definition – I wonder if Sir William Macpherson will ever come round to recognising this – has done immeasurable damage to social cohesion in Britain, further encouraging a poisonous culture of victimhood, grievance and entitlement, as well as serving to increase the racial tension it was supposed to diminish. And now the Australians are following our idiot example.
“Nothing in the orders I make should suggest that it is unlawful for a publication to deal with racial identification, including by challenging the genuineness of the identification of a group of people,” Justice Bromberg said.
Oh well that’s all right then. Australians are still allowed freedom of speech. So long as it’s the right kind of speech, blandly expressed, offending no one, as decided by such perfect arbiters of truth as Mordy Bromberg. Presumably he’s never read Milton’s Areopagitica, which addressed these issues with an intelligence and subtlety and nice sense of judgement decidedly lacking in this culturally suicidal court ruling.
UPDATE: check out this brilliant Mark Steyn speech, sticking up for Bolt, Free Speech and our unalienable right to sing Kung Fu Fighting to whomsoever we choose – up to and including the extended disco mix.
- How Australia surrendered to the wowsers
- There was nothing ‘illiberal’ about David Cameron’s speech on multiculturalism
- Australia counts the cost of environmental lunacy – and plots its sweet revenge
- Press regulation only helps the bad guys
6 thoughts on “Freedom of speech is dead in Australia”
- Sue Gant says:29th September 2011 at 11:24 pmThe right are so dishonest. Your argument is all fine and dandy if you leave out the fact that Bolt lied and distorted facts to make his point. Is that what freedom of speech is to you? Here you are on your very own platform, free to run an agenda and play the victim rabbiting on about free speech in a very selective manner which you really don’t believe in at all because you know in your heart that you fully accept the limitations set on it, happy to see films banned, television and the press regulated and controversial politicians and historians banned from the country. Freedom of speech is not the freedom to lie. If you think freedom of speech here is dead then move to China.
- Bob Meyrick says:1st October 2011 at 4:17 pmSee also Mr. Delingpole’s column about “How the BBC fell for a Marxist plot to destroy civilisation from within” which is a lot of manufactured indignation about a non-story. Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant, and hope your audience can’t be bothered to check on the veracity of your claims. A technique much in favour in the 1930s in Central Europe.
- D. Phillips says:3rd October 2011 at 2:14 am“A technique much in favour in the 1930s in Central Europe.” Don’t be coy, Meyrick, just come out and call us Nazis for insisting on our rights in the face of glacial leftist encroachment. I hear that the Weimar republic was very big on banning speech to favour “Human Rights”, as opposed to mere legal rights, and that worked out so well for them, didn’t it?
- Bob Meyrick says:5th October 2011 at 8:33 amI take it, Phillips, that you actually believe what Delingpole writes even when it can be shown to be a lie? “Glacial leftist encroachment”? What a joke, or perhaps not in the paranoid world of the extreme right.
- D. Phillips says:6th October 2011 at 1:48 amHey, Meyrick! In truth, only off-kilter extremists consider minor mistakes or arguable differences of opinion to be evidence of gross dishonesty. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the left has produced many a gag-worthy, unnutritious mash.
- John Fourie says:20th October 2011 at 11:13 pmJust came to your website to say that you are the lowest form of life. Lying and over exaggerating without even understanding the basics. Dont read anything this man says people he only wants you to go to his website to get some click, he is what we call an internet troll and does not deserve a second of your time. Please die so that the world can be a better place.
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