Andrew Bolt expressed an opinion on the appropriateness of Australia’s race classification laws, and questioned whether aborigines who were, in appearance, indistinguishable from non aboriginals of European background, were appropriate recipients of measures designed to make up for past discrimination.
Well, he got sued and silenced under Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act.
Now, as you can imagine, Progressives went doolally with joy over this. Andrew Bolt, silenced. Race, and the government policies which surround it, is now off limits to any discussion because it has now been firmly established by case law that anyone can be shut down, at massive expense to the defendant, by anyone who whines that they have been offended.
Even in the event that some bod evades conviction – the process is the punishment.
Well, Gillard’s at it again:
THE law that was used to silence Andrew Bolt has been supercharged by the Gillard government’s proposed changes to anti-discrimination laws.
Bolt was found to have breached section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which says it is unlawful to offend or insult someone on the basis of racial or ethnic characteristics in a public space.
But Attorney-General Nicola Roxon’s proposed changes massively expand the list of characteristics people can be offended by, expanding the jurisdiction into shops, workplaces and sporting clubs.
The regime will provide a new weapon in the war on free speech by even including "political opinion" as a ground on which people can be discriminated against.
This extraordinary change makes even innocuous political expressions subject to the law – a person need only be offended or insulted in order to make out a claim. Shop owners displaying signs in support of a political candidate may now be legally discriminating against employees who want the other guy to win.
So, if you don’t like Gillard’s worthless carbon tax? Don’t express an opinion at work, You and your employer, both, can be sued by someone who has drunk deep of the GoreAid.
But wait, it gets worse.
A reversal of the onus of proof tends to result in absurd and unjust outcomes. And this is precisely what the Gillard government’s proposed changes will achieve. Section 124 of the draft legislation reverses the onus of proof in the case of a plaintiff providing some evidence that discrimination could perhaps have occurred. After jumping this small hurdle, it is then up to the defendant to prove otherwise.
For some reason the Gillard government doesn’t see this as a reversal of the burden of proof, but a "shift". It at least gets points for creativity.
Discrimination claims will also cost the complainant nothing even if they lose. The laws have been designed to create a no-cost regime (at least for those who allege discrimination).
So, guilty unless proved innocent, and cost free to the complainant.
Now, free and open political discussion is a necessary prerequisite for a functional democracy. Abolish that and the democratic process becomes a farce, a worthless charade.
I got to express my admiration tho. In the stereotype ersatz democracy a massive state apparatus of secret and not so secret operatives supervise and attempt to control political discourse, at massive cost to the state and the economy. Here though, Julia is abandoning centralised command and control and has hit on using a low cost market mechanism to achieve the same end.
Incentivise an army of Davids to take offense and they will do the work, freelance, which cost previous socialist regimes so much in the past. No cost to them, but the chance of a lovely payout, minimal cost to the state, and, win or lose, massive cost to the targets – always remember, even if the plaintiff wins, the process is the punishment.
Work, clubs, associations – all will have strong financial incentive to ban politics with Julia’s gimlet eyed regiments of rent seekers looking for any slip at all.
Result, all discussion outside a close circle of friends shut down. Damn, but the Soviets missed a trick here.