Say what you like?

I told you earlier that Australia has voted in the conservative Liberal National Coalition. Soon after coming to power they started appointing positions to people. Prime Minister, Tony Abbott appointed Tim Wilson as the new Human Rights Commissioner for Freedom. It caused a bit of an uproar because Wilson had been a member of a prominent right-wing think tank, a think-tank which have a horrifying vision for Australia.

Yuck, I thought, but wev. When new parties come to power they appoint their people to prominent positions, that’s what happens.

At the time, Senator Brandis made it clear that Mr Wilson’s appointment was made on both political and ideological grounds.

Infuriating, but not particularly surprising. He has a Classical Liberal worldview, I don’t agree with a lot of it, but… you know, they’re gonna impose that worldview on everyone ’cause that’s what they believe in.

Yup. Now the Human Rights Commissioner is whingeing and moaning about people not being able to use the N* word.

I know their underlying philosophy is that everybody’s equal and therefore everyone should have the right to say what they like, and I find that position sweet, but completely fucking specious. On a theoretical level it sounds lovely, but in the real world it just doesn’t play out like that.

I know, as a white person in a country where white people are the dominant core, I have a lot more privilege than an Australian Aboriginal person. Calling me a ‘white-dog cunt’ packs a lot less punch than me calling someone the N* or A* words. There’s a whole history of lot of systemic discrimination in Australia, and calling someone an N* or an A*, draws on those historical, and contemporary, power dynamics.

It drives me batshit, that these guys: Mr George ‘people have the right to be bigots‘ Brandis, Mr Tim ‘abolish section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act‘ Wilson, Mr Andrew ‘Aboriginal people are pretending to be Aboriginal for financial gain‘ Bolt, that is: an Attorney General, a Human Rights Commissioner, and a journalist, newspaper columnist, radio commentator, blogger and television host, guys with massive platforms, whinge and moan about freedom of speech.

Anyway, I’m with Siv Parker (my bold).

The nature of the debate in my corner of social media revolves around dismay that a small handful of peoples’ definition of freedom of speech may incapacitate another person’s entire existence. What is freedom, if it simply

means the liberty to rip apart the social fabric of our country?


What say you?

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