The Freedom Of…

Yesterday, a man who very well could be a racist arsehole (notice how I’m not stating that he is, merely alluding to the possibility that he is) was found to be in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act. I rolled my eyes and wondered why it took this long to hold Australia’s petulant child of right-wing knee-jerk politics accountable for what he has been all too willing to say for a very long time.

Journalists and panel shows lit a fuse and starting flailing about like one of these things…

I don’t, for the record, know what the hell these things are – but inflatable flailing arm man seemed to do the trick.







Yet the collective cries of the ‘free’ press in Australia embraced aforementioned (but not explicitly stated by me) racist arsehole and started questioning about whether our ‘freedom of speech’ rights in Australia were in jeopardy.

I can answer that question for you all right now with a swift ‘no’.

You see, usually when a country wants to legislate something like freedom of speech, they need to invest in something like a Bill of Rights. Australia? No such thing. If I need to spell it out for you, there is no explicitly legislated freedom of speech in Australia.

But really, go bananas until someone decides to try and pull you up on it. You can creatively work your way around it, unless you paint yourself into a light-skinned corner.

Freedom of race? Fill your boots. (Very tempted to launch into a related rant right here – Huss, Sahar and Yass  know what I’m talking about.)

Freedom of religion? You want to pray to the god of magnetic spaghetti disco shoes, no-one can stop you.

I’d always believed this was common knowledge, so excuse me, two certain TV panel shows of Australia (Hint: one rhymes with ‘The Bum’, the other ‘Heaven DM Eject’) for wondering why the hell no-one seemed to mention this at all?

Flail away, morons. I also find it quite interesting how some people are feeling the need to justify their ‘free speech’ spiels by quoting poets, philosophers and other brainy folk. Funny that, how the only time people will put some fucking effort into their writing is when they feel like someone has just pissed in their cornflakes. “But, but… I wanted to keep eating those, even though I had no actual right to.”

Hop down off your high horses. Drop this all-too-sudden pressing crusade to defend basic rights which, as I said, don’t exist in the first place in this country.

We have defamation laws in Australia. Libel. Slander. Get on it, people. They’ve been there for a while.

Heck, why not slap a sedition claim against him? The irony of one of the staunchest Howard-era supporters in the press being fisted by a bill introduced by the PM he still holds a candle for is certainly not lost on me. I now picture said journalist holed up ‘A Crying Game’ style at home with Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ or Sarah McLachlan’s ‘I Will Remember You’ playing in honour of his own slightly bruised ego while burning copies of any previously published words that could be even slightly attributed to a legal case.

Let an ego go unchecked for long enough and it’ll do whatever the hell it wants. Hell, why refrain? Go for the gusto – print, market and establish an unchecked ego with a monosyllabic surname and brand it as “The Voice of the People”. Well, it got you what you wanted – sales. There’s nothing quite like lining your pockets by riding a xenophobic wave of fear into the ground as it disperses and leaves salty wet residue for others to step in and notice.

So now I’m going to talk about the people that actually matter in this case – the Indigenous Australians.

Let’s recap what White Australia has done for them so far… Bygone it, it seems we’ve done sweet fuck all.

Well, we apologised. Too late. And even then, well, it was kind of like a half-arsed hug.
I shall call upon a visual representation to demonstrate my point more effectively.

And even though I didn’t mark it in the picture, the football in this case represents opportunity. Do I have a solution? No.

If you disagree with me, by all means tell me why. As not only is it my right to express an opinion, but it’s also your right to disagree with me. I’m not going to go impinging on any of your rights, nor should you on mine. We can shake hands and have a cup of tea afterwards if you want, I really don’t mind.

That’s not freedom of speech, people, it’s freedom of expression. Furthermore, it is an assumed level of freedom between individuals, not pertaining to any grander holistic notion of basic rights.

The daily dissemination of misinformation finally got its comeuppance. Great. Finally. 20 years this guy has been around. But to what end? There’ll be no real ramifications of this outcome, just a piqued interest in what comes next.

Papers will continue to sell, biased diatribes will continue to be printed. People that want to be told what to think will continue to read.

Will journalists be less inclined to take risks? Possibly. But name me a paper in Australia that would print an article that was A) Against the organisation’s own bias, B) Would almost definitely land them in court, regardless of the topic, C) Demonstrates exactly what is wrong with media and the press in this country and D) Reach enough readers to actually inform and allow them to embrace an opinion that differs from the norm?

I reserve the right to share my opinion with anyone willing to read it, that’s about it.

You want to do a song-and-dance about how you feel that your rights could somehow be under jeopardy? Go for it.

Continue hopping around with one of your thumbs stuck up your own arse. When you choose to  remove it, take a whiff of your own pretense and decide what you want to do from there. You already know where to find me.

2 Replies to “The Freedom Of…”

    1. Nice one. What season of Family Guy is that from? I gave up somewhere around season 4.

      And cool, the more opinions/viewpoints on this, the better.

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