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Letter to The Editor
The essence of free speech is the ability of a person to be able to publicly express an opinion, informed or otherwise, true or false, on matters of local, national and international importance, without hindrance. Defenders of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, such as Meredith Doig, President of the Rationalist Society of Australia Inc. (‘Dealing with the contentious matter of 18C’, Sydney Morning Herald, 25/8) decline to uphold this ideal and produce specious arguments to justify their position.
There is no obligation on government whatever to ‘balance’ liberty against ‘equality’. The latter is an arithmetical term foolishly invoked to mask the agendas of interested parties. Equity is the appropriate term to use; and it does not collide with the defence of intellectual freedom.
The ‘Racist Violence’ inquiry cited by Doig was fundamentally biased and the invocation of ‘emotional and psychological harm’ cannot trump free speech. It is a classic case of special pleading. As for 18D and Judge Sackville’s proposals, they do not provide a cast-iron guarantee that political correctness and the sectarian forces behind it will not stifle free speech on contentious issues involving race. Parliaments and courts can be corrupted.
NJ, Belgrave, Victoria