Race Commissioner:” Guilty Until Proven Guilty by Ian Wilson LL.B.
When I say cartoonist Bill Leak’s cartoon about an Aboriginal police officer approaching an Aboriginal father about his delinquent son’s behaviour, and the father giving a delinquent response, I knew that many would find the cartoon offensive.
Although I am a free speech advocate, I do not believe that such comments are particularly helpful, merely getting a chuckle out of a terrible situation where there is genuine human misery. Such comments do not help, although peole should be free to make them. But, then, I am a Christian.
I was very surprised that the Race Discrimination Commissioner on a Facebook post encouraged people to make complaints against Bill Leak. See Chris Merritt, “Race Commissioner Has Blatantly Prejudiced Bill Leak Over Cartoon,” The Australian, August 12, 2016, p. 6.
This is contrary to any basic administrative law notion of procedural fairness, and would be used in defence of any case. Here it is likely that a section 18 D defence would succeed, that the artistic expression was done reasonably and in good faith.
It will be interesting to see where this one leads. It would be an excellent case to take to the High Court.
This matter is another good reason for the repeal of section 18 C.