The article for which Andrew Bolt was prosecuted under this legislation was almost certainly not his finest. There may have been some factual errors. Still, if free speech is to mean anything, it’s others’ right to say what you don’t like, not just what you do. It’s the freedom to write badly and rudely. It’s the freedom to be obnoxious and objectionable.
Free speech is not bland speech. Often, it’s pretty rough speech because people are entitled to be passionate when they are arguing for what they believe to be important and necessary. Speech that has to be inoffensive would be unerringly politically correct but it would not be free.
If it’s alright for David Marr, for instance, to upset conservative Christians, in his attempt to have them see the error of their ways, why is it not alright for Andrew Bolt to upset activist Aboriginals to the same end?
Shorter Abbott: People like Andrew Bolt should be able to say whatever they like because freedom of speech and stuff, and the rest of y’all – especially all you brown people – should harden up and stop being such a bunch of sookie-la-las. Oh yeah, and vote for us, because we love freedom.
I vomited a little.
He also committed to repealing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act – the same Act his party suspended entirely in order to introduce the Intervention in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory – if he wins Government. Section 18C prohibits statements that “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” anyone on the grounds of race or ethnicity.
Given the above comments, I assume Tony Abbott and the Coalition would be absolutely fine with this appalling display of ‘rough speech’ in the interests of ‘fearless commentary’: trigger for this page. Please feel free to report it to Facebook.
Wait, it gets better.
“There’s the jihad against mining magnates”. HE REALLY SAID THIS. Ten points for cultural offensiveness and general stupidity. You couldn’t WRITE better comedy than this.
“There’s the claim that Gina Reinhart is a ‘danger to democracy’ because she dared to buy an interest in a newspaper group and refused to endorse the Fairfax group’s existing editorial culture.” Um, Tone? That ‘existing editorial culture’ is fairly standard among professional journos. It’s called editorial independence, and it’s about removing opinion and bias from the reporting of the news, to allow for what you might call fact and objectivity to shine through. Understand this may be a difficult concept for you to grasp though, given you were part of a government who put a gag order on any organisation receiving government funding to prevent them from making public comment on your shithouse policies.
He went on to proclaim that the Opposition ‘are the party of freedom’. And this, believe it or not, was where my what the fuck reflex kicked in. ‘Party of freedom’?! WUT?
Says a lot that Tony Abbott’s priority is not victims of racial insults, humiliation and intimidation, but those engaging in such behaviours.