Here’s an example of how the human rights industry actually represents the biggest threat to those rights, ever seeking more power over others.
In Canberra the following flyer was distributed:
It’s an argument one thought could be settled by counter argument, leaving it for the public – and the appropriate planning authority – to decide.
Instead, the authors of the pamphlet were firstÂ reported by the ACT Government to a tribunal to have their right to make this argument taken from them:
ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner Helen Watchirs, who was asked to investigate concerns the flyer constituted racist material, released her advice on the matter yesterday.
This is already bad enough, given that the process is often the punishment. And it’s even worse to have Big Government act so swiftly to gag its citizens.
As it turns out, Watchirs turned down the complaint, which you could see for yourself has no basis, whether on not you approve of the argument and the appeal to “Australian” values.
But, first, she did so reluctantly:
Dr Watchirs, who was asked by the government to investigate the pamphlet, said it was unlikely the flyer breached the act because it was ‘’concerned with religious issues, rather than race’’.
‘’It is also unclear if the flyer would satisfy the high test for vilification in the Discrimination Act, which has an ‘incitement’ requirement’,’’ her report states.
Watchirs then recommended other ways to stop the pamphlet writers from expressing their opinion:
Dr Watchirs said complainants would probably have more success under federal discrimination laws, which required a lower threshold to establish racial hatred and included an explanatory statement that ‘’envisages that Muslim people represent a racial group’’.
And, of course, she recommended tougher laws to help her silence people who under the present ACT laws, at least, can still say what they said:
Dr Watchirs recommended the act be reformed to include better provisions for discrimination against religious groups.
‘’I would recommend that the ground of religious conviction be added to the current vilification protection in the Discrimination Act as a matter of priority … ‘’
Sadly, the ACT Government seems only too keen on the idea:
Attorney-General Simon Corbell said laws prohibiting religious vilification should be considered by a review of the act that is being conducted by the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council.
How dare these people presume to strip others of the right to speak? HowÂ dareÂ they?
What is truly remarkable about the Finkelstein report is … the unquestioning faith in the ability to dictate what statements are incorrect, what opinions are unfair, what coverage is invasive and what positions are politically intolerable. The report would have this orthodoxy pronounced by the revamped Media Council, which would be led by “a retired judge or other eminent lawyer”.
What kind of issues would this new mandatory Media Council be drawn into? One need look no further than the present voluntary Press Council where many complaints are not about inaccuracies but about coverage thought to be unfairor hurtful, insensitive or derogatory.
This year, for example, the council agreed to consider the complaint from the husband of a prominent politician upset that his wife had been compared with Kim Kardashian…
The report also reassures the reader that this new mandatory Media Council would not constitute government censorship because its members would be independent of the government. Even if this were true in practice, is that better? If the nation is set to unleash an official body to dictate what the press may cover, is it really better that it is also totally unaccountable even to the elected government?…
Press lawyers know all too well that even the question of what is true or false involves many shades of grey, and is fraught with the risk that disfavoured viewpoints will be censored….This would leave the council with nearly unchecked discretion to suppress or punish unpopular views, including criticism of those in power.
It is shameful that we are even having this debate. How dare Labor so menace our freedom to speak. How dare it.