Free Speech for Everyone (Except Environmental Groups)

Tony Abbot is determined to reform the Australia’s Human Rights Commission and amend the Racial Discrimination Act, which currently outlaws comments that may be seen as offensive on grounds of race or ethnicity. In the Australian of September 5:

Mr Abbott said: “Any suggestion you can have free speech as long as it doesn’t hurt people’s feelings is ridiculous. If we are going to be a robust democracy, if we are going to be a strong civil society, if we are going to maintain that great spirit of inquiry, which is the spark that has made our civilisation so strong, then we’ve got to allow people to say things that are unsayable in polite company.

“We’ve got to allow people to think things that are unthinkable in polite company and take their chances in open debate.”

– See more here.

Of course, this doesn’t extend to campaigns that may be offensive to the interests of mega-corporations and the timber industry:

CONSERVATION groups seeking boycotts of products linked to alleged poor environmental practices may soon be liable for prosecution under consumer law.

The move, which could severely hamper market-based campaigns by groups such as Markets for Change and GetUp!, is to be pursued by the Abbott government.

Parliamentary secretary for agriculture Richard Colbeck told The Australian the move would prevent green groups from holding companies to ransom in their markets.

– From today’s Australian. See more here.

Gee, I hope this ideologically coherent policy-making is what we have to look forward to from here on out.

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