Freedom of speech in Australia is under attack.
Andrew Bolt was hauled before the courts because articles he wrote “offended” a group of people. Julia Gillard said that a critical media company she doesn’t like has “questions to answer” and set up a media inquiry to try to force them to give those answers.1 And Bob Brown wants governments to “licence” journalists.2
Alarmingly, Reporters Without Borders dropped Australia from 18th to 30th in the world for freedom of the press in 2011.
Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act goes to the heart of this new anti-free speech climate.
This law says you cannot say anything which is “reasonably likely … to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people” because of their “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”. [Read the full text of 18C]
It is this section of the legislation which silenced Andrew Bolt. And it could silence you.
But freedom of speech sometimes means people will be offended. The right not to be offended should never trump the right to express your views.
Federal parliament must repeal these laws before more Australians have their free speech trampled on.
And we need your voice to make it happen.
Write to Julia Gillard, Bob Brown or Tony Abbott to tell them you value freedom of speech and you expect them to repeal this law.
We need you to email your political leaders right now by clicking on one of the buttons below. We must make them understand that Australians value our freedom of speech – and show them that we won’t let them take it away.
1 “News Ltd has questions to answer, PM says”, ABC News, 20 July 2011
2 “Brown calls for state control of media and licences for journos”, The Australian, 3 October 2011