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 … Read the rest