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Proposed law a further attack on free speech

I had an op ed published in The Australian today on the government’s proposed changes to anti-discrimination law. The draft legislation is an example of the Gillard government’s complete lack of respect for our fundamental freedoms:

The law that was used to silence Andrew Bolt has been supercharged by the Gillard government’s proposed changes to anti-discrimination laws.

Bolt was found to have breached section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which says it is unlawful to offend or insult someone on the basis of racial or ethnic characteristics in a public space.

But Attorney-General Nicola Roxon’s proposed changes massively expand the list of characteristics people can be offended by, expanding the jurisdiction into shops, workplaces and sporting clubs…

Not only do the changes represent an extraordinary attack on freedom of speech, they also undermine fundamental legal principles derived from 800 years of common law. They would reverse the onus of proof, forcing employers to prove that they are innocent of discrimination.

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