Andrew Bolt demonized by Australian court for free speech
THE assumed right of unfettered freedom of speech was trumped by laws protecting against racial vilification this morning after the Federal Court delivered its decision on the controversial “white Aborigines” case of Pat Eatock v Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt.There is one source in Australia that's standing up for Bolt, but don't expect many liberals elsewhere to do the same. What does need to be debated, however, is if any laws allowing for this kind of stifling need to be changed. The same goes for France. Why exactly is it that nobody is arguing for a change in laws that only cause problems?
Justice Mordy Bromberg found Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times contravened the Racial Discrimination Act by publishing two articles on racial identity which contained “errors in fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language”.
Speaking outside court, Bolt said it was “a terrible day for free speech in this country”.
“It is particularly a restriction on the freedom of all Australians to discusss multiculturalism and how people identify themselves,” Bolt said.
“I argued then and I argue now that we should not insist on the differences between us but focus instead on what unites us as human beings,” Bolt said.
The columnist said he would read and consider the full judgment before commenting further.
Justice Bromberg said it was important to note his judgment did not forbid debate or articles on racial identity issues if done “reasonably and in good faith in the making or publishing of a fair comment”.
“Nothing in the orders I make should suggest that it is unlawful for a publication to deal with racial identification, including by challenging the genuineness of the identification of a group of people,” Justice Bromberg said.
Ms Eatock and a group of eight other Aboriginals took Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times to court claiming racial vilifiication over two articles in which he criticised fair-skinned Aborigines for what he argued was a choice they made, as people of mixed racial background, to emphasise their indigenous heritage over their white heritage.
Ms Eatock welcomed the judgment, saying it was a statement against discrimination.
She said the court’s decision meant racial identity could be debated, but with respect.