Colin Rubinstein is correct in pointing out ('Free speech warriors are missing the point about 18C', The Australian, 1/9) that 'there have always been legitimate limits placed on free speech', but the six examples he gives, unlike 18C, do not threaten to seriously impede free speech in national forums on sensitive topics connected to ethnicity such as Aboriginal constitutional recognition, the disadvantages of multiculturalism and the history of Nazism.
His comment that 'laws similar to 18C exist in the overwhelming majority of Western democracies' is misleading. Many nations, such as France and Germany, have much harsher 'anti-racist' laws against 'hate speech', as a result of which many thoughtful dissidents have had their careers ruined and some even been imprisoned. Do we want that here? 18C is a step in that direction.
There is already a degree of unannounced censorship of 'politically incorrect' views in Australia, which helps provide the context of public ignorance that empowers support for 18C. If we do not fight for a return to openness, we will end up with an even more closed society.
NJ, Belgrave, Vic