Are they now taking our voice…free speech in Australia has been a recurring topic in political and public forums more than ever in the last two years. With hot topics being section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, and our more then ridiculous defamation laws. For those unaware, the RDA 18C makes “offence”, “humiliation” or “insult” of a person or group of people unlawful IF the act is done because of race, colour, or national/ethnic origin. In alignment with this if someone is found guilty of such an act they may be dragged into court for further penalty. Seems fair right? Wrong.
At first glance most would read the act and come to the conclusion society is better off with such laws without exploring scenarios where it could be a real detriment to our hard fought freedom of speech. More recently Cindy Prior an administration officer at the Queensland University of Technology attempted to sue three students who had complained after being kicked out of an indigenous-only computer room at the university. Although this failed dramatically the students involved had been dragged into federal court, hit with legal fees (win or lose), labelled as racists and had their reputations tarnished.
How did such a case get to this level it would have had to pass initial complaint explanation and conciliation phase, the process for handling a complaint as described in the act is as follows;
- Complaint received
- AHRC reaches out to offender for detailed explanation
- If APPROPRIATE, the process moves into conciliation (the action of mediating between two disputing people or groups.)
- If conciliation fails, the dispute moves into federal circuit court.
Why didn’t the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) throw this case out in the beginning? It seems to me that the AHRC may have given Cindy Prior false hope, and Saw this as a chance to further blemish the path to freedom in Australia. If a case like this can reach the highest levels of the act, then should we live in fear of standing up to such injustices…or if a particular ideology based on religious motives came to spread influence are we then not allowed to express our concern on whatever forum we deem fit for purpose?
The act spreads into the wonderful world of the internet, so don’t go spreading strong opinions on social networks, eforums, blogs (woops), or video sharing sites. If you stand back a little and have a look at the entirety of the situation, it’s impossible not to compare this to the internet censorship in China, put in place by the friendly Communist Party of China. Below I have listed the rules and regulations, that their “internet police” look for when making arrests. Please note the highlighted sections numbers 2 & 3…
“No unit or individual may use the Internet to create, replicate, retrieve, or transmit the following kinds of information: Inciting to resist or breaking the Constitution or laws or the implementation of administrative regulations;
- Inciting to overthrow the government or the socialist system;
- Inciting division of the country, harming national unification;
- Inciting hatred or discrimination among nationalities or harming the unity of the nationalities;
- Making falsehoods or distorting the truth, spreading rumors, destroying the order of society;
- Promoting feudal superstitions, sexually suggestive material, gambling, violence, murder;
- Terrorism or inciting others to criminal activity; openly insulting other people or distorting the truth to slander people;
- Injuring the reputation of state organizations “
If we allowed for our little act to be passed unnoticed then heck, we’re opening the door for even more controlling agendas in the near future…I can almost hear the echo’s of children screaming “thought criminal” at their parents, only matched by the screams of overly sensitive snowflakes. As a libertarian I believe each individual has the right to have their personal freedoms and individual liberty protected…free speech included, and as such 18C should be scrapped all together. However, for the more moderate individual the proposal put forth by the Liberal party to replace the words “insult” “offend” and “humiliate” with the word “Harass” seems like a much more reasonable compromise, the change of the legal term to harass would mean the offender would have to repeatedly (more than once) offend the subject before a legitimate complaint could be made, unfortunately this was rejected in the senate around March of this year.
We owe it to the next generation to strongly defend our right speak freely, to protect our individual liberties, and personal freedoms. We must stop the social engineering by groups who wish to remain in power, and expose those on top who seek strict control over the people, who try to inspire fear of state and insult freedom of choice. We’ve come to accept diversity of people…why now ridicule our diversity of opinion?
The Loud Libertarian