A most extraordinary attack was launched yesterday, on free speech in Australia, and on an individual. It was by a former Federal Court judge, now a barrister, and it was an attack sanctioned by a court.

It was launched by Ron Merkel QC, for a group of plaintiffs who have taken Andrew Bolt to court under the Racial Discrimination Act for several articles about Aboriginality.

The opinions expressed in Bolt’s articles were grossly offensive and wrong headed. They deserved condemnation. But they were no more than offensive. Now he finds himself in court, having to defend his words, to justify himself.