Offend someone? Go directly to jail.

Bertrand Russell said, “Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.” However, this is exactly what is happening in Australia today. Speech deemed to be pernicious has been suppressed, most notoriously through 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act. However, this is not the only or most concerning of these restrictions.

There is a lesser known, and more insidious law in Australia involving giving offence that is even more troubling than 18C. It is s474.17 of the Criminal Code Act which deems it a criminal offence to use a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence. You may recognize it as the piece of legislation used to lay charges against Chris Nelson, the chiropractor from NSW, for racist and hateful comments he made to former Senator Nova Peris on her Facebook page, and many would argue that this was a justified charge. Note, however, that the act of being offensive using a carriage service, is not just unlawful as are breaches of 18C, but is a criminal offence which can result in a prison sentence. Yes you heard it right: causing offence online is a criminal offence. That should be enough to send a shudder down your spine.

The wording of the Act is as follows:

474.17  Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence

  1. A person commits an offence if:

(a) the person uses a carriage service; and
(b) the person does so in a way (whether by the method of use or the content of a communication, or both) that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing OR offensive.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 3 years.

A law against menacing behaviour or harassment probably has its place, however determining whether online communication has been ‘offensive’ may be a little harder to police. You only have to look through the comments section under any media article to see that many people are offending each online on a daily basis. It’s deeply disturbing to consider how such a law could be misused to target or silence online speech.

Beware; any time you write a Facebook post or comment, or indeed write anything online, that could potentially be ‘offensive’, you are committing a crime under Australian Law. It would only take offending the wrong person before you find yourself charged with a criminal offence and facing a judge you hope will be reasonably minded and sympathetic to your cause. Simply put, it is up to the discretion of a court of law to decide whether online communications could by ‘reasonable persons’ be deemed offensive and therefore criminal, and if they are deemed offensive then there is a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment. Chris Nelson escaped prison with an eight-month suspended jail sentence and a two-year good behaviour bond.

We like to mock the ridiculousness of the totalitarian regime in North Korea overseen by Kim Jong-un, especially in light of the recent dictate that sarcastic comments made in reference to the authoritarian government have now been officially banned. The power of the North Korean government to police thought and speech seems outrageous to members of a free country like Australia. What most people are unaware of however, is that we have do have laws in place that cede power to privileged individuals to judge whether or not the things we say online and how we say them are punishable with a prison sentence.

Faced with the very real threat of imprisonment or hefty fines for being ‘offensive’ online, many people will simply stop engaging in online debate. Is this a worthy outcome? Do we as a society really want to chill public opinion and suppress ideas that we don’t agree with to the degree that being offensive can be punishable with a prison sentence? In the case of Chris Nelson, the public were generally outraged by his comments to Nova Peris after she shared his post for everyone to see. He was subject to angry comments, and messages, his business name and address was revealed and he suffered public shame and retribution. Justice was served; surely this is adequate.

Supporting the removal of references to ‘causing offence’ and ‘being offensive’ from Australian Law does not in mean supporting racist or objectionable behavior online or elsewhere. People who call for 18C to be repealed or amended, and those like myself who are wary of s474.17, are not seeking to change the law so that they can then freely attack racial minorities or people they disagree with, as they are so often accused. It is an argument based on principle; that governments or the judiciary should not have any power to decide what opinions people are free to express; and on the belief that society can determine what speech or ideas are unacceptable in the court of public opinion. It is also based on the acknowledgment that laws based on subjective determinations of offence caused, are subject to misuse.

It’s easy to go along with the concept of making certain types of speech a criminal offence, when those being targeted have objectionable opinions, like those of Chris Nelson. But we should all remember that we are trusting that these laws are applied fairly by those who get to decide what is reasonable and what is offensive. We are abdicating our responsibility to stand up to racism and bigotry to a government bureaucracy, and judges in positions of power and privilege, are the ultimate arbiters of what we can say online and how we say it. While we still have 18C and s474.17 of the Criminal Code intact, we do not have free speech in Australia.

Nicola Wright is a writer for LibertyWorks. Her article was also published in The Spectator Australia on 19 Sept 16.

Nicola Wright
Follow me

Nicola Wright

Nicola is passionate about liberty and human flourishing and has an interest in free speech advocacy, and resisting the 'nanny state'. She has had contributions in The Spectator Australia, Online Opinion, Spiked Online and Quillette, and is Managing Editor at LibertyWorks.
Nicola Wright
Follow me

Latest posts by Nicola Wright (see all)

108 Comments on "Offend someone? Go directly to jail."

  1. Who will deem it so? Ahh..see? Pernicious comment..a pernicious question!

    • We are now legally responsible for each other’s feelings. If I offend you, you can have the law punish me (and vice versa!)

    • LibertyWorks Ha ha, I find that offensive, in fact, I am so bloody offended, I am even offended that I could be offended by something so offensive.

  2. Now, when we say 3 years we are talking about Maximum sentencing.
    And Maximum sentencing of course exists as a foil to the most extreme forms of online harassment etc etc.

    Whereas the sentence Chris Nelson, The protagonist of the article actually faced and received was an 8 month suspended sentence, a 2500$ fine and an extension to his current good behavior bond.

    Aggravating circumstances were as follows.

    He was serving a current good behavior bond for drink driving,
    That probably accounts for the fine.

    He wrote it on her page not his own, That takes us from the realm of incidental or even deliberate offense to the active harassment of an individual.

    And (this is the key one), Lied to authorities claiming that South Korean hackers made the posts, In Legal and diplomatic terms that’s actually less funny than it sounds.
    Particularly when the accused is the member of the currently serving political party (Liberal Party of Australia).

    Now as a fairly long time observer of politics Ive seen a few styles of involvement and political merchandising and articles like this that headline maximum sentencing or extreme outcomes and then go on to talk about a fairly ordinary example, or a contemporary one.

    That’s an example of making a statement by inference,
    So im questioning your style, Your style of course should be suited to your goals, As far as being popular the style fits, but if the goal is to inform people, im afraid the two goals can and will conflict with each other.

    As for the latter goal what may have made the article more interesting or a bit more valuable would have been an example or two outlining cases that have gotten the maximum penalty or any jail time at all under this law.

    …. But lets set this all aside for a moment. This page in general has piqued my interest so I had a quick look at your archives, The articles stored on the site.
    Now because there are not enough to form a trend, the page being quite new, Please take this comment as a rain cheque more than a direct criticism.

    I know a handful of Libertarians.. They seem to disagree with each other somewhat but a common point of pride among them is that they tend to make a point to disagree with the common orthodoxies held by both the left and right wings of politics.

    This brings me to a point I read from a Guardian article about Australia’s current handful of libertarian leaning senators and their drive to enhance free speech, 18c and to a much smaller extent s474.17 will be on their lips or outlined for elimination in private member bills a great deal.

    But they are far less comfortable talking about the secrecy provisions in the Border Force Act that can be freely applied outside of direct security interests, or our current suite of anti whistle blower legislation.

    Now don’t get me wrong here, Even the authors address this issue, that the article is a defense of free speech, not a defense of harassment or an endorsement of racism.

    But unfortunately once again because of the very nature of inference pointed out at the start of my comment, simply lifting points of interest from one wing of popular media will have you using only one set of examples that reinforce free speech.

    Your input will end up being not very much different from your sources, and in your page free speech will start playing second fiddle even in an articles where by name it should have the absolute limelight.

    But if you were to take it one step further and make the argument about how free speech is relevant to and enhances the interests of the left as well as the right, Or even better, explain how it could be a completely non partisan issue.

    That would actually be making a free speech argument.

    • Byron, you make some interesting comments. Would you be interested in writing something on the topic in your last two paragraphs?

    • Homeboy I just chit chat with you as a foil to polish up for my main game, but il tell you what, and feel free to screen cap this for posterity lest you offend me and I try to sue you. 😛

      If you want to use my comments to write something feel free, I give you permission so long as you absolutely do not attribute the writing to me in any way shape or form besides describing me in a very very general non identifiable way, (some leftward I met, so to speak).

      What I am homeboy is an intellectual, whether it be left, right, libertarian or statist if we are honest with each other the best ways will become apparent. Thats the only reason im here and why you may see me in very different places to here.

      Also I made an edit, You did in fact relay the sentence. my bad.

    • Actually Im interested in one thing, read the first couple of paragraphs I wrote again, about the aggravating factors.

      What, if anything do you think should have happened?

  3. “Yes you heard it right: causing offence online is a criminal offence. That should be enough to send a shudder down your spine.”

    Not particularly, no. Maybe it’s cause I try to live at peace with everyone? 😛

    I’m afraid, while I can accept where you are coming from principles-wise, I don’t share these principles. It appears that there’s a large mass of people out there which will spew racist bile and hate. I appreciate that the creator of this page is not one of those people. But, nevertheless, there are people like that and I have no qualms whatsoever about them being muzzled. There’s enough free speech already..don’t think we need any more.

    You also write about “the belief that society can determine what speech or ideas are unacceptable in the court of public opinion”. Why should the society be able to determine that? I’m way more comfortable that more educated and enlightened people determine which ideas are acceptable or unacceptable. It is well known that the IQ of a crowd is reduced the more people are in a crowd. Couple that with the fact that people are easily led by the right-wing press such as The Daily Telegraph and the proprietor of the Tele leads people in particular direction for the sole purpose of helping him make more money. Is that the kind of person we want directing the court of public opinion?

    Sorry but I’m not sympathetic to your cause:)

    • Boris, thanks for the comments, it is appreciated. One query though, are you concerned that “offense” is something constructed in the mind of the of the reader and may not necessarily be a deliberate act by the writer?

    • LibertyWorks Very welcome:) I have to admit, it doesn’t concern me that much…it does say that “reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing OR offensive.” I would have thought that people making spurious claims of being offended would get tripped up by that test:)

    • LibertyWorks I also feel that a hypothetical writer would know that something was likely to offend someone:)

    • (reads) See this is the trap you’ve kind set yourself LibertyWorks, If the only examples of the law being used we can summon are quite horrendous people using media and “carriers” to call people and I quote “black cunts”.

      We sort of get a scenario where even if your points were airtight and completely valid the consequence for not doing anything is a situation where almost nothing of value is lost.

      The old “play stupid games win stupid prizes” proverb get brought into play.

      Now there actually are freedom speech cases where the people involved are not all incorrigible shitheads, but you will have to widen your search.

      Till then.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVXJmfd3cmg

    • Different Act but Section 18c had QUT student Alex Wood in Federal Court for “offending” Cindy Prior for saying “just got kicked out of an unsigned Indigenous computer lab. QUT fighting segregation with segregation.” is that type of comment unreasonable and offensive?

    • LibertyWorks I would absolutely love to see some examples of freedom of speech cases where the people involved did not come under the class of people identified by Byron:)

      Unfortunately, the QUT case doesn’t cut it for me. I actually view all comments complaining about affirmative action and reverse racism as being offensive. To me, by complaining about facilities reserved for Indigineous students, Wood has implied that Indigineous students did not need assistance or help, which in turn belittles the historical disavantage suffered by this group. If a friend of mine said something like that, that would lower my opinion of them.

      I kind of feel the main thing when making comments is that they must demonstrate goodwill. A much better comment that Wood could have posted would run something like “”just got kicked out of an unsigned Indigenous computer lab. Should there be specific facilities for a particular group? Also, it would be helpful if the lab was labelled as such so that people are not suffering the inconvenience and embarassment of being told to leave.” His comment did not demonstrate goodwill. It was actually openly hostile to an initiative promoting goodwill, in fact.

    • Boris, that’s the point isn’t it? You TAKE offense at that comment whereas most people say it’s over the top and that Mr Wood was making a legitimate point. There is no test for this in law, it is simply a matter of opinion.

    • I’m not sure that there is no test. It does say “reasonable persons”:) Doesn’t that already protect free speech? In a sense, that test is already attuned to the community as the standard of what a “reasonable person” would consider offensive would change as the community attitudes change.

      In the QUT case, if Wood loses, I read that that means that his point was not legitimate and the court did not consider that most people would say that the action brought against him is over the top:)

      Also, my question would be, would Wood have still been sued if he phrased what he wrote differently? I have no problem with a law that forces you to choose your words more carefully. There’s a human right to discuss issues…there’s no human right to just spout off and carry on like a porkchop, basically, it seems to me:)

  4. Actually, I seriously DO find pretty much everything Morrison, Pyne, Turnbull, and most others currently in Government, have to say,extremely offensive.

  5. The plan is for our totalitarian LNP government to have the capacity to throw anyone into prison for telling the truth if it offends them politically… ………….This is now the Law of the land…..

  6. “Beware; any time you write a Facebook post or comment, or indeed write anything online, that could potentially be ‘offensive’, you are committing a crime under Australian Law.” Sounds like straight out bullshit to me, since you can’t even cite the “Australian Law” that I’ve violated.

  7. You mean I cannot tell those raghead Muslims living peacefully in my street to go back to where they came from?Can’t call the Vietnamese couple who run our local bakery slopes?And as for those boongs I have to work with!Oh. I feel so oppressed!Woe is me!Now as for those Africans who go to my church……

  8. does that include all the imans who tell us we will be thrown off a roof, stoned or beheaded if we dont do as they say ? or are they exempt ?

  9. It should even include so-called ‘hate speech.’ Some people do hate minorities, so let them have a voice. Better that we know who thay are and what they think rather than wait for them to express themselves in some trule unlawful ways. White people have every righ to feel what they like about coloured people and express it openly, or one’s religious prejudices or gender issues. Prejudice is a natural. Everyone has a prejudice, its why the human race has survived so long because we automatically mistrust difference.

  10. We saw what happened when the German Govt tried to suppress the Nazis and Hilter’s expression of hatred for Jews, gays, blacks and communists. Then, Hitler was jailed, and in jail he wrote down his views in Mein Kampf. He came out of prison more popular than ever and he had a best seller on hs hands.

  11. This is a Sponsored post. That fact says it all, really.

  12. We should have the right to be able to discuss ,debate something we think is wrong ,of course the one, or organization that we bring to attention would take offence as they do not won’t their activities exposed ,how else can we expose them if we can’t discuss it?

  13. Democracy as I was brought up to know, is in deep trouble, but – see above placed by one Adam Rea!! Thank you, Adam!!

  14. freedom of speech means just that.

  15. Freedom of speech INCLUDES the right to be offended. Without the right to be offended, others do not have the right to free speech.

  16. There we go again…people who actually think we have freedom of speech or other “freedoms” enshrined somewhere such as in our constitution. We DON’T. Australians ONLY have whatever “freedoms” the government of the day decides we are ALLOWED to have. They can be taken away with the stroke of a government pen. Look how easily the government can just walk in an take away…”resume”…your property for example if they want it for a road, or how easily the Queensland government slapped through the anti-association VLAD legislation to restrict the actions of people who hadn’t even broken the law.
    Enjoy your freedoms while you can, because there’s literally nothing stopping a government taking them away any time they want.

  17. there is a vital distinction between liberty and libertinism, no matter how you misconstrue Russell’s words

  18. Trying to control evolution of thought now, Government? The concept that our words must be stifled is offensive.

  19. a Spade is a Spade got it!

  20. Libertarians Only Look After The Rich. All this ‘Freedom’ won’t be worth Sh*t for the other 1/2…

  21. America, ‘The land of the free’, unless your poor that is. Then Your likely to end up in Jail and working for the Share holders.

  22. The thing about politicians, they All Lie. Why should we believe anything the Libertarians say? One thing is for sure though, their policies are designed to create an even bigger social divide than what we already have.

    • SO letting someone sell apples from their house is evil and supports the Mega rich and forcing that same man into a minimum wage job then stealing half his money through taxes while kidnapping him and throwing him in a cage if he dares sell an apple is supporting the lower class?

      The Non-Agression Principle guides Libertarians and I don’t understand how restricting freedom and choice makes people worse off but having human beings (whom you claim have evil intent otherwise why do they lie and cheat) tell you what to do grants economic success.

      Tell me who had the best economy the USA or the USSR one represents freedom and choice and the other your idea of State Control and dictation of personal achievment?

    • That’s a lot of apples you got to sell from your house to make a living. Given there would be no regulation though, I guess you could find someway of making your apples cheaper? What if it wasn’t apples you were selling, perhaps it’s Alcohol? As there would be no restriction/regulation, you could sell the cheapest nastiest alcohol you could make. Wouldn’t mater if it killed anyone, it was their fault for trusting you…

    • “Tell me who had the best economy the USA or the USSR one” The word Had, is my concern…

    • And I guess you’ll be wanting to get what ever gun you can afford to protect what’s yours?

  23. Considering the things Ms Hanson says I find this a little difficult to believe.

  24. Well Muslims offend me , so can we jail them .

  25. Yeah, I can see it now.
    You’re in C block, sitting with murderers, rapists and other hardened criminals.
    Jake the mass murderer leans over and whispers in your ear “Whatcha in for mate?”

    You; Freedom of speech dude, I’m not to be messed with.

    What a joke!

  26. It’s pathetic that the government is slowly nibbling away at our freedoms and rights. Hitler did the same thing until he had the people right where he wanted them…..helpless. Get rid of the green party for a start!

  27. I might need crowd funding soon as I know Im going to offend people

  28. I heard Salman Rushdie has written a new book entitled “Buddha Was a Big Fat Slob”!

  29. Better shut down fb,then!
    Because everyone’s opinion is different.
    Someone can be offended by the slightest thing.
    While others just suck it up.
    The politically correct are going to completely,
    trash comunications.
    How are we going to guage if we are offending someone?

  30. This post offends me,

  31. More trash on Article 18C that doesn’t mention 18D.

    • “Just got kicked out of the unsigned ­indigenous computer room. QUT stopping segregation with segregation.” Alex Wood is still in Federal Court fighting a farcical racial discrimination claim three years after saying that. 18d did not protect him. Do you support this? Yes or No.

  32. People talking about same sex marriage offends me!

  33. truth has become offensive. Immorality , murder, oppression of women, FGM, child marriages, sex slavery, beheadings, criminals who refuse to obey the law and want us to obey their law all these things are some of the offensive things I deal with daily on facebook.

  34. This is why “Civil Disobedience” requires us to be offensive together often and en masse so that these laws become totally unworkable. Australians fought for their freedoms and we should be prepared to do so again! CONSPIRACY THEORIES make us stronger!

  35. get this; all moslems are heretics and should be deported immediately! Not offensive enough? All moslems are terrorists by the very nature of the teachings of the koran and mohammad.

  36. well said Wendy and Grant!

  37. I must say I am terribly sorry if I offend anyone. It really is not my intent ! I will not and never will apologise for stating the truth : and if the truth offends that then is the readers problem !

  38. i had my previous facebook account permanently banned cos i dare to speak my mind.facebook is AGAINST freedom of speech and individualism!!!

  39. I like FB I like the truth even if it means offending

  40. SO THE SATANIC ELITE HAVE MADE LAWS THAT PUT PEOPLE IN JAIL FOR UPSETTING SOMEONE WHILE THEY ANNHILATE THE HUMAN RACE??? And which law would that be, MAN’S MARITIME LAW THAT HAS NO LAWFUL JURISDICTION ON THE LAND?? OR THE RULE OF FORCE THAT REMOVES LAW ALTOGETHER??? THE RULING ELITE PUT PEOPLE IN JAIL FOR EXPOSING THEIR CRIMES BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT US TO KNOW THEY ARE EXTERMINATING US!! DR WEBSTER TARPLEY – AGENDA 21 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaYuYRrPmOw

  41. “To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.”

    General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, translated by John Beverly

    Robinson (London: Freedom Press, 1923), pp. 293-294.”

    Question: “Who are the Nicolaitans mentioned in Revelation 2:6, 14-15?”

    Answer: The exact origin of the Nicolaitans is unclear. Some Bible commentators believe they were a heretical sect who followed the teachings of Nicolas—whose name means “one who conquers the people”—who was possibly one of the deacons of the early church mentioned in Acts 6:5. It is possible that Nicolas became an apostate, denying the true faith and became part of a group holding “the doctrine of Balaam,” who taught Israel “to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.” Clement of Alexandria says, “They abandoned themselves to pleasure like goats, leading a life of self-indulgence.” Their teaching perverted grace and replaced liberty with license.

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Nicolaitans.html

  42. FLUORIDE “amounts to public murder on a grand scale” Dr Dean Burk National Cancer Institute
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzgKA5zMitQ

  43. Well fb is promoting it

  44. R.I.P. free speech !!!!!!!!!

  45. So how will this work? . I am offended by the evil cult of islam, I am offended by their holy book the koran that instructs in 137 suras that I should be killed by various means because I don’t follow this crap ideoligy, I am offended that muslims hold up as their perfect human a terrorist, a murderer, a rapist, a pedophile and psychopath. I am offended by child marriage, genital mutilation, punishments under sharia law, the degredation of women, the barbarous halal slaughter of animals, I will continue to declare my offence at these things, yet I am liable to be punished because my offence offends a group whose offence apparently out ranks mine. It is interesting to note that when Christians, of all demoninations, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Shintus, Taoists, Dharmas plus the followers of the myriad of minor religions observe the practices of each other they smile inwardly saying that’s different and move on, when a muslim observes the practices of other religions they react, in many cases violently as instructed in the koran insisting that it is wrong.

  46. Tell someone that cares. Towelheads offend me so i call it square. If they dont like it tuff titties

  47. Come and get me asshole 4 breakfast

  48. Yes . So never tell anyone to google the recent history of such countrys as Iran,Libya,Afghanistan, Egypt, Somalia, Lebanon. Because Mister Turnbull really hates when the undeniable historical facts point out his lies. I’m sure this history isn’t propted up by petro cash anymore than Hilary, Turnbull or the UNHCR

  49. I salute the North Korean people for being so open minded and
    letting that kid with down syndrome be their leader…

  50. I would suggest actually reading the whole act so you understand why prosecutions are so very rare.

  51. The law is tempered with the qualifier “a reasonable person”. Frankly if you’re using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence so badly that you’re causing offence to a reasonable person and not just to your victim, you’re a menace and should be facing prosecution. It’s very simple: don’t deliberately harass people. Get a hobby instead of trolling.

  52. Studied Russell whilst at the University of London.

  53. Muslms offend me..

  54. 1984, Thought Police is here. Johnson Adam Justis Joseph

  55. We Australian citizens must be sure to write offensive stuff every day, and create civil disobedience………death to political correctness!

  56. There is a thin line here though. While I support free speech, there are those who deliberately set out to offend people. To have the degree of free speech that you imply, people must be capable of restraint and have a degree of common sense. This seems to be less prevalent in modern society. And when you actually offend people deliberately, you must then accept the consequences of your actions. This could entail a punch in the mouth or a good kicking. Would this then become legal, after all, this is also expressing an opinion. In a less restrained society (such as the US) it could result in a shooting. So, you can see that there could be negative consequences for freedom to be offensive. Where is the cut off point, there will always be people who are not satisfied with it.

    • Free to speech includes the right to be offended. If you are free from being offended, others do not have free speech.

    • Toby Zuijdveld So you would agree with someone expressing their opinion if you offended them? This my take a more physical form than you intend. Where do you draw the line. Immediately a line is drawn, free speech becomes relative rather than absolute and the reply to Justin Campbell from the ALP becomes fact. The ancient Romans (who had an absolute form of free speech) also had the ability for a degree of personal restraint that we as a society lack.

    • Im reading a book about Cato at the moment, Roman politics was pretty brutal.

    • Toby Zuijdveld Crap !

    • LibertyWorks That’s what I am saying, do you want absolute free speech, and the possibility of the brutality that can accompany it? I support free speech but do not think that society as a whole has the self regulation required for it to be successful.

    • Keith Ainsworth “So you would agree with someone expressing their opinion if you offended them?”
      Of course.

      “This my take a more physical form than you intend.”
      Nope. That’s not speech, and it’s illegal.

      “Where do you draw the line. ”
      Probably at the point where a Neanderthal tries to censor a conversation via an act of war.

    • Lauraine Knight Right back atcha.

    • Sorry Keith Ainsworth

    • Toby Zuijdveld This is the risk you take though. It is not illegal if it would cause a rational person to lose self control. So if you decide to offend someone or criticise them or their family beyond certain limits, they may take physical retribution. While not strictly legal, this can be a very strong defence. So, again your free speech is relative, and even you, by stating that their response would not be legal, are putting limitations on your ‘absolute’ rights.

  57. does this apply to preachers encouraging people to cut off heads, or throw people off buildings ? just wondering.

  58. Im moving to new zealand, this country is out of hand

  59. And so all these people that offend me,they can do what they like.Oh get a life you political corrupt,you are sickening with the things that you lot do and say.Try getting killers and pedophiles,do some thing usefull you snivelling lot.

  60. I could do with a rest in a nice comfy jail…..

  61. pathetic creatures we have become

  62. I wonder how long my sentence be

  63. I feel these new laws themselves are offensive to me so in effect they are a contradiction in terms in that the anti offence laws are offencive ?

  64. Offence is a choice, only now it is financially motivated.

Comments are closed.