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In Australia, a chilling verdict against free speech

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 27, 2011 10:58 PM

I’ve linked to the excellent work of Australian newspaper columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt many times over the year on this blog (see here.)

So I was shocked to see that he was prosecuted and found guilty today in a federal court case over two columns he wrote in 2009 about race, entitlements, and politics.

It’s chilling. There’s no other word for it. And I shudder to think how “progressives” here in America would relish the legal bludgeon Australia’s politically correct mob used to punish Bolt’s views.

Via the Australian Herald Sun:

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.

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.

Here’s the full text of the ruling.

There’s at least one free-market think tank and free speech defender in Australia standing up for Bolt.

But don’t look for any “dissent is patriotic” progs to protest the criminalization of politically incorrect speech.

When I commented about the court case on Twitter tonight, a liberal Australian wrote to me:

“So you think it’s right for headlines such as ‘White fellas in the black’ to be used? What if your Asianess was questioned?”

To which I replied:

*People “question my Asianness” every damned day. [See here for tonight’s freshest serving.[ So what? Thank God it’s not a CRIME here in America.

*Liberal racist filth flung at me constantly. [See the minions of Alec Baldwin.]

My response is MORE/BETTER speech to counter it, not less speech.

***

On a related note: How long before we dissenters from the liberal racial orthodoxy are all sentenced to eat “conscious cupcakes” and repent? Click the link to read about the prog backlash against UC Berkeley conservatives’ mock affirmative action bake sale:

vent organizers received numerous threats on Facebook, and some of the group’s members changed their names and profile pictures. “This event was not organized by a bunch of white guys,” Mr. Lewis said. “We’re not racists.” The group’s 10-member board of directors includes several Asians and a Latino, he said, and more than half the board members are women.

Student leaders worried that the bake sale would make students uncomfortable and aggravate tensions on campus.

“A number of students have come to me very concerned,” said the student body president, Vishalli Loomba, 20, a fourth-year molecular and cell biology major. “Many feel the differential pricing is offensive and that it makes them feel unwelcome.”

Despite the outcry, organizers said the sale would go forward unless they were threatened with physical violence. Mr. Lewis said Republican groups from nearby colleges — including the University of California, Davis; California State University, Sacramento; and Saint Mary’s College of California — had called to say they were sending carloads of supporters to the bake sale.

The race-based prices will be posted on signs, but organizers said they would not enforce them and would instead allow students to pay whatever they wanted.

One group of students decided to protest pastries with more pastries.

As of Monday afternoon, more than 600 people had R.S.V.P.’d on Facebook to attend the “Conscious Cupcakes Giveaway,” scheduled for the same time and place as the Berkeley College Republicans’ bake sale and the student government’s phone bank.

“Join us in celebrating and representing U.C. Berkeley’s diverse community!” read the event announcement. “We recognize we still have a long way to go in bridging the gaps in understanding the complexities of race, gender and sexuality, but we take the first steps by taking our first bite of free Conscious Cupcakes in solidarity!”

One Berkeley student wrote on the event’s page: “conscious cupcakes > discriminatory cupcakes.”

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