Section 18 C Case May Return – I Hope! by Ian Wilson LL. B.
It seems likely that there will be an appeal lodged in the QUT student case. (The Australian, November 22, 2016, pp. 1, 6) The case has been widely condemned as one that should never have got as far as it did, but now it could proceed to trial. At stake here is the freedom to say anything, because the student comment that the indigenous computer lab was “segregation,” is surely a legitimate, basic, political comment that does not touch section 18 C. The other student comment about where the “white supremacist computer lab is,” is also a legitimate, basic, political comment, if there is any, repeat any, free speech in Australia at all.
The Human Rights Commission claims that it has examined whether section 18 C and the right to freedom of expression under article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are consistent, and has concluded that there is no conflict because free speech is “not an absolute and unfettered right.” But neither are the multicult “rights” behind section 18 C which give carte blanche legal power to offended ethnics for hurt feelings. The point is that section 18 C completely erodes all free speech worth having as the QUT/student case well demonstrates.
This all needs to be challenged before the High Court of Australia as the Liberals are too much dependent on ethnic money to make a stand on basic liberal values. Political parties certainly should not be able to receive donations, for democracy gets compromised in this way. Far better to have shoe-string budget campaigns out of public revenue.
The framers of the Australian Constitution, eager to get up an enabling document to get business on the road, did not think that fundamental rights would be undermined, seeing the common law as protecting them. This conservative illusion has been shattered over time. The High Court immediately began to undermine Australian Federalism: https://sydney.edu.au/law/slr/slr30_2/Allan.pdf. However, I am hoping that it will see reason on section 18 C.
And if it does not? It is surely time for a Trump-style populist revolution here in Australia: all we need is a leader. Jennifer Oriel (The Australian, November 22, 2016, p. 12) makes this point, about the likely rise of populism in Australia, and James Reed has an article on it, “Draining Australia’s Political Cesspools and Swamplands.”