Author Topic: George Brandis: 'People have the right to be bigots' [Australia]  (Read 240 times)

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Because, of course it's Australia.

Via the Guardian:

The attorney general, George Brandis, has declared “people have the right to be bigots” as he confirmed plans to remove sections of the Racial Discrimination Act while ensuring the laws were better able to deal with incitement to racial hatred.

“People have the right to be bigots you know,” Brandis said in answer to a question by the Indigenous Labor senator Nova Peris. “In this country people have rights to say things that other people find offensive or bigoted.

“There is no law that prohibits the incitement to racial hatred. When the government deals with this matter the law will be in a better position to deal with incitement to racial hatred.”

The government is planning the changes, after a federal court judge in 2011 found that conservative columnist Andrew Bolt breached section 18C of the act in newspaper articles that questioned the motivations of fair-skinned people who identified as Aboriginal. The section makes it unlawful to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person or group because of their “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”.

In a heated Senate debate, Peris asked Brandis about comments by the Indigenous Liberal backbencher Ken Wyatt that the changes may result in a “regression” to “bigoted views” allowing the vilification of people. Wyatt had raised his concerns in the party room last week.

“It is certainly the intention of the government to remove from the Racial Discrimination Act those provisions that enabled Andrew Bolt to be taken to the federal court merely because he expressed an opinion about a social or political matter,” Brandis said.

“I will very soon be bringing forward an amendment to the RDA which will ensure that that can never happen in Australia again.”

Brandis said no one should be taken to court for expressing a political opinion and section 18C dealt with racial vilification in the wrong way.

More at link.
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Re: George Brandis: 'People have the right to be bigots' [Australia]
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2014, 10:51:48 PM »
And because the Australians frequently have a very refreshing recourse to blunt fact.  In constitutional democracies such as the US and Australia (whose constitution was directly modelled off the US constitution, with some notable, and interesting, engraftments) people do have the right to be bigots.  In fact, one of the most valuable rights - the First Amendment in the US Constitution - is, if nothing else, the enshrinement in fundamental law of the precept that one person is at liberty to act in ways that others may see as the ne plus ultra of bigotry, so long as that bigotry doesn't rise to the level of inciting violence.
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