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Journalism

Aug 7, 2012

How Bolt got Abbott to start the Freedom Wars

Andrew Bolt is poised for victory in his crusade to repeal sections of the Racial Discrimination Act after Tony Abbott committed to changing the law. Andrew Crook and Matthew Knott report.

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Conservative commentator Andrew Bolt is poised for victory in his crusade to repeal sections of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act after dinner buddy Tony Abbott committed to changing the law when the Coalition ascends to government.

In his “Freedom Wars” speech delivered yesterday to a gaggle of adoring acolytes at the Institute of Public Affairs, the alternative Prime Minister gave his conservative bedfellow a deliberate shout out when outlining his legislative plans:

“If it’s alright for David Marr, for instance, to upset conservative Christians in his attempt to have them see the error of their ways, why is it not alright for Andrew Bolt to upset activist Aboriginals to the same end?”

When Bolt was found guilty last year for claiming pale-skinned Aborigines had identified as indigenous to further their careers in columns with titles like “White is the new black“, his legal team considered appealing the decision — perhaps all the way to the High Court.

But News then ditched that path, saying instead that it would lobby the legislature to ensure its star columnist could opine freely in the future. Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has ruled out repealing or changing the act, leaving Abbott as Bolt’s only saviour.

Abbott already had an eager ear — when the guilty verdict was handed down, he warned specifically against restricting “the sacred principle of free speech”. “Free speech means the right of people to say what you don’t like, not just the right of people to say what you do like,” he said.

And fortuitously, the two are close — Abbott dined with Bolt and wife Sally Morrell after the verdict and implored him to keep writing and continue filming his low-rating Bolt Report to keep the Tory cause alight.

“[He] made me realise it’s not just about me,” Bolt told John van Tiggelen in his lengthy Good Weekend profile. “There are others to think about.”

Now, the coalescence has borne serious fruit. This morning on his blog, Bolt — continuing to suggest he is about to be re-persecuted  for writing about race issues — backed his friend and revealed he was “personally disappointed” with another mate, Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby.

Yesterday, Danby, in a spree of media interviews (including Lateline) said he did not want “to go back to the darkness” of the mid 1990s when racial hatred against the Jewish community was spiraling out of control. He also noted that it seemed Coalition policy was being written by a cabal of right-wing “mates” like Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart and Bolt.

Under 18C, introduced by Michael Lavarch in the mid-1990s, it is illegal to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people” in public on account of their race or ethnic origin. Abbott has proposed using the common law provisions of inciting fear and hatred while protecting Bolt-esque “expression or advocacy”.

Crikey asked Bolt this morning whether he was happy with the mooted changes to the Racial Discrimination Act and whether he had met with Abbott or his office after the dinner detailed by van Tiggelen. He didn’t respond.

A serene David Marr, who is hunkered down finishing off a 25,000-word Quarterly Essay on Abbott following numerous face-to-face encounters, was less reticent. He told Crikey this morning he had texted his subject after yesterday’s name check.

“The answer to your question re Bolt and me is that I get my facts right. And while you and I don’t mind a bit of colourful language, we don’t go in for his grossly personal insults,” he said.

Marr said he agreed with Abbott’s take on the Racial Discrimination Act: “It’s perfectly correct that that particular section needs to be amended.” But in a nuanced approach, he says language which merely “0ffends” should not be illegal but that language which intimidates on the basis of race should remain so.

“I don’t think what Bolt wrote would be saved by Abbott’s law … It didn’t just offend. The judge found that it failed on all four grounds: it offended, insulted, humiliated and intimidated,” he said.

*Can you think of any other laws that Andrew Bolt should get changed? Email boss@crikey.com.au with your suggestions.

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64 thoughts on “How Bolt got Abbott to start the Freedom Wars

  1. klewso

    As long as Abbott is prepared to clean up after the sort of intolerance Blott nurtures, that’s fine.

  2. Apollo

    Good call from Marr. “offends” should not be in there but insulting, humiliating and intimidating people on the basis of race, sex, colour or religion is not on.

  3. klewso

    And let’s face it “freedom of speech” is much better when you control the megaphone?

    [A case of “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch their eyes out!” please?”

    And Danby’s a mate of his?

    Last night’s Q&A the politicians told us how awful it was the personal nature of “political debate” in this country, and how they don’t do it, before they started tearing strips off each other – “Where do the public get their awful attitude from?” Now one of those sides is “adopting” Blott – because he writes for them? Where indeed do “the public” get this confronting attitude from if not at the nurturing of the likes of Blott and his sponsors, from his pulpit?]

  4. geomac62

    What about the fact that Bolt didn,t do proper research and maligned people based on falsehoods ? I don,t think free speech is for changing the race of parents if that suits the agenda of an article but isn,t factual . Our little aussie Afrikaaner loves the spotlight but losing court cases isn,t his favourite way of doing it .
    I cannot comprehend why people pay attention to people like Bolt or Alan Jones but obviously they have an audience but its surely not entertainment so what is it ? The race oriented underbelly of sections in Australia I suspect . Must be a boring life if thats what floats their boat .

  5. Hindrum Cameron

    I find it a stretch at best to consider that this case was ever about free speech. Bolt was unstuck by his shoddy research. I suspect he thinks that research isn’t all that important when you know you’re always right, but anyone who actually considers himself a journalist will recognise and perhaps even acknowledge arguments that may challenge a given point of view.

    So the question here is: does Bolt consider himself a journalist? His methods need to reflect to this–changing the law so that he can publish poorly informed, badly researched invective as fact–which, let’s face it, is exactly what he tried to do with the article that landed him in court–is surely the worst example of cutting off our nose to spite our right hand.

  6. michael in melbourne

    I’m all for freedom of speech, but that doesn’t give people the right to say or write things that are factually incorrect and then to use those fallacies to push their own vested interest.

  7. drmick

    A responsible person would be embarrassed and remorseful at being proven to have offended, humiliated, insulted and intimidated anyone.
    Not this mob and their pin up boy. This behaviour is standard Noberal policy and is part of the limited news style guide. Mudrakes tactics in Britain were to break the law and they are determined to do the same here; barefacedly telling the people they are humiliating, intimidating, insulting and offending, that it is for their own good. WTF?

  8. Edward James

    There is a movement outlined on this site http://www.youmeunity.org.au/ calling for changes to those sections of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1901 to remove those parts which still discriminate against first Australians. Edward James

  9. AuFozzy

    Slightly off topic, I’m pleased to see David Marr writing a Quarterly Essay on Tony Abbott. He wrote one on Malcolm Turnbull just before he was deposed. Similarly for Kevin Rudd. I live in hope.

  10. Matthew Knott

    @AUFOZZY. FYI Annabel Crabb wrote the QE on Turnbull; Marr wrote on Rudd.

  11. shepherdmarilyn

    So, it would be a liars paradise. How nice.

  12. Gavin Moodie

    Again, this proposal of Abbott’s has to get thru the Senate, which seems unlikely.

  13. The Pav

    What’s really scary is News Ltds arrogance.

    They say they believe in a casue but won’t fight it in the High Court. The option is there.

    No they just rely on their version of “regime change” and await btheir appointee to become elected and change the law in their favour.

    What other laws will Abbott change to curry favour with News Ltd and their hired guns?

  14. 39loulou

    What a pity Bolt’s writing skills rely solely on offending, humiliating, insulting and intimiating people, why else does he want the law changed? Any writer worth their salt uses language to argue and persuade not abuse. In my opinion Bolt is a very disappointing commentator.

  15. Mike Smith

    Don’t hold your breath, Blot. Unless you got in in writing, this is just off the cuff, in other words, yet another lie.

  16. The Pav

    What I would like is for some journalist to ask Abbott that ” does his definition of free speech include allowing knowingly inaccurate untruths to be propagated and that journalists are now relieved at any pretence of accuracy and can just make stuff up as they please.”

  17. Owen Gary

    Ahhhh the Bolt boy, with his nose pressed firmly up against the outside window of the Conservative Club finally made it, as chief lap dog of the right with his new role playing lord Haw Haw. Now backed & funded by the big boys to spurt the furious propaganda with a (warts & all style) that was taught him by his beloved mentor Phoney Rabbott.

    With a language only suitable for animals being restricted for public consumption his game was up. Once again he sought solice in his master to try and redifine the terms of acceptance to suit the cause.

  18. gus4444

    Interesting that Abbot doesn’t mention Jones v Toben. If you are serious about not restricting free speech, you have to address that case.

  19. The Pav

    Dear Gus4444

    Of course Abbot isn’t serious

    He’s just kissing News Ltd butt

    It’s the usual cynical politics that he plays. No sign of any real values

  20. Pedantic, Balwyn

    @The Pav

    and the answer would be that as long as it supports me getting the P.M.’s job, anything goes.

  21. The Pav

    Yup Pedantic.

    the long answer is “anything goes particularly ethics or honesty…goes out the window’

    I’m all for ambition & being ruthless. Crushed a few minions on the way up but I have never sold my soul.

    Abbott has completely , totally and utterly abandoned any sort of ethics. No other politician in Australia’s history has so abandoned having any shred of decency as has Abbott.

    No doubt Abbott’s catholicism is of the kind that enable him to sin as much as he wishes as long as he repents at the end. His final confession will take an eternity

  22. 39loulou

    If the public keep rewarding bad behaviour then the standards will continue to plummet.

  23. Hamis Hill

    Blot can petition his mate to petition his mate to change the “compurgation” canon law that allows priest to judge priest, particularly in the case of child sexual abuse, without the victims gaining the protection of the civil law in the form of arresting police.
    The victims and their famil-ies are not waiting, however, going straight past this pair of Poms to the UN. One thing is certain, this problem is most definitely Un-Australian in origin.

  24. JacetheAce

    Bolt actually defamed the plaintiffs in this case; the article was replete with errors and outright lies. That the plaintiffs elected not to sue him for damages reflects on their character and what they were trying to achieve in this case; however, perhaps they should have because Bolt’s employer would be out a couple of million dollars and there’s not a damn thing Abbott can do about it (as lies are not and never can be a defence to slander or libel and the defamation laws can only be changed with the States consent).

  25. TheFamousEccles

    @LOULOU – I would ordinarily agree with you, but as far as I can tell journalistic standards have been dragging their arses along the bottom of the barrel for some time now. Much like a dog scooting along the floor…

  26. malcolm

    I often get the feeling that those who shout the loudest for so called freedom of speech are anything but supportive of that freedom when it is turned against them.

  27. Tex oToole

    These so-called “white-skinned aboriginals” are trading off their race. That makes them, and anyone who treats them differently in any way “racist” by definition.

    If you feel you need to compensate anyone solely because of their bloodline, no matter what it is, then you need to seriously examine your logic process.

    On a similar note, you shouldn’t feel compelled to cheer on a common cultural trait, whether it be “boganism,” “nationalism,” “misogyny,” “scientology,” “ripping off tourists,” or even the most moderate (whatever that patronising slur means) form of “Islam.” Never confuse race with a behaviour that’s common to a cultural group. You are allowed to develop opinions.

  28. gus4444

    Pav – interestingly, the only one who was consistent in their positions in relation to both Bolt and Toben was Janet Albrechtsen!!

  29. Andrew Elder

    I learned two things from this article:

    1. In the first paragraph, apparently Tony Abbott will become PM and there is nothing we can do about it. Maybe “free speech” is some sort of consolation prize for losing the right to vote governments in or out.

    2. Being a cleanskin and a newcomer to politics, and a man of his word, Abbott’s words should be taken at face value. When he says something you can assume it will flow through into government policy as night follows days. How does he react to calls for “free speech” for people with whom he disagrees, if any such people exist (they’re wasting their breath, aren’t they, in the face of the inevitable)? Can we say that he is a man of consistent principle on free speech, or does he only favour “free speech” with which he agrees?

  30. Paddy Forsayeth

    I don’t read the media widely so I ‘m not sure how the mainstream posits questions to Abbot & co. particularly his early statement that ‘do not believe what I say unless it is in writing’. I appals me that Jones, Bolt etc think that free speech means ‘I can say anything I like, regardless of the facts.’ Re comments by The Pav…true blue Catholics like Abbott are able to hold two (or more) contradictory ideas simultaneously. There is nothing like the righteous conviction of ‘the truth’ to allow these people to dismiss data and facts. Look to Qld. for a pre-run of Abbott. Yuuuuuuukkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. heavylambs

    Given Abbott mentions nothing of Bolt’s censoring of dissent on his blog,we can conclude he will be very disappointed when he finds out…

  32. beachcomber

    Will Bolt be Abbott’s DG or his US Ambassador?

  33. Rich Uncle Skeleton

    Abbott had better remove defamation law while he’s at it. In fact, why not just remove any law that prevents elitists from writing factually inaccurate, hateful claptrap that pushes their political interests.

  34. izatso?

    ………. from the No Regulatin’ crowd comes the Chief Regulator hisself, T Abbott.

  35. Mobius Ecko

    So how come in 1999 Abbott got $66,000 for damage to his hurt feelings and is now saying damage to hurt feelings for racial minority groups doesn’t matter?

    Go ahead and say and print whatever you want under his stewardship no matter the hurt engendered because you are doing in the name of free speech, but hurt my feelings and I’m going to sue your ass off.

    Abbott’s words on repealing the racial discrimination act: a “hurt feelings” test is impossible to comply with while maintaining the fearless pursuit of truth’.

  36. RICK68

    IS that the stomping of Bolts clogs I hear in the back-ground. snigger-snigger.

  37. RICK68

    Andrew Bolt and David Irving have a lot in common, both deniers, Bolt a “Stolen Generation Denier”, Irving a Holocaust Denier. Shalom, Richard Ryan.

  38. Omar Puhleez

    APOLLO: “Good call from Marr. ‘offends’ should not be in there but insulting, humiliating and intimidating people on the basis of race, sex, colour or religion is not on.

    Race (tick); sex (tick); colour (tick). But religion? That’s tricky, because insult, intimidation and humiliation are in the mind of the recipient. That rules out all criticism of my religion (Reorganised Calathumpianism) that I personally don’t like. And as all religions are philosophies in their own collective way, going down that road pretty rapidly shuts down all philosophical discussion and debate.

  39. Omar Puhleez

    Some seek to speak truth to Power. Others, power to Truth.

  40. delaney

    I just read Tony Abbot’s speech. It is great to see someone finally go into bat for the down-trodden white wealthy folk of our country. How dare we question the right of Andrew Bolt to opine, even if his facts ‘may’ have been incorrect (Tony’s words, not mine). If we want a free society we have to let those who have the most wealth and power inform us what is right and what is wrong. Currently we have a legal system which actually gives voice to those other than the wealthy (if they can afford representation that is) and the wealthy and powerful have to defend their right to use untruths to persuade. This is unacceptable, as Tony clearly points out. A truly free society gives everyone the right to say what they want and the wealthy the power to stop anyone from asking the pointless questions – “Do you have evidence for your opinion? Is your opinion simply hatred, masquerading as evidence based discussion?” .

    Or is this fascism? Freedom? fascism? I always get these mixed up.

  41. Harry Rogers

    On the basis of all the comments against Bolt, Abbott and other articles about Gillard in Crikey the whole site would be before the High Court and shut down for expressing insulting opinions.

    Amazingly thin skinned population Australians.

  42. Liamj

    @ Harry Rogers – Ah but Abbott is being criticised for his words and deeds, not cos he’s male anglo catholic, or cos he’s not what my idea of what one of them is supposed to look like, as the Dolt on the Hun did.

  43. Sharkie

    abbott’s actions on this matter show he is unfit to be an MP and would be the most embarrassing PM this country has ever seen if he got the nod.
    There has been a rapid increase in neo-nazi activity in this country and abroad. We aren’t talking about a few bone heads waving flags and marching. It’s violent extremism and terrorism, and this type of behaviour doesn’t exist in a media and cultural vacuum.
    When Blot and Abbott act the way they do, they help create a climate where cronulla style riots and individual acts of racially motivate violence can flourish.
    Blot is a celebrated writer for those posting on the neo-nazi storm front website. Abbott is defending this fool and encouraging the worst in Australian society. It’s power at any cost stuff, and I’m tipping neither Blot or Abbott would have the guts to visit the next Indian in hospital bashed by an angry proud white aussie male.

  44. Gederts Skerstens

    The Pav proposed: “…they just rely on their version of “regime change” and await btheir appointee to become elected and change the law in their favour.”

    It takes the majority opinion of millions to elect a government.
    If a policy is clearly on the platform and gets endorsed by the Most of Us, that policy proceeds.
    That’s Democracy. Every one who likes the policy gets a vote, same as those that don’t like it.
    Minorities don’t call the shots in a Democracy. Not newspaper owners or Crikey journalists. One vote apiece, same as anyone.

    It’s still a long way out from an election. There’s plenty of time for everyone to make a case according to their lights. Exactly as it should be.

  45. The Pav

    Dear Gederts

    Unfortunately you are wrong.

    Fisrtly in Australia it doesn’t take a majority to elect a govt otherwise Kim Beazley would have been PM

    Secondly Democracy relies on a free press. This we don’t have as News Ltd has 70% of the press and they are demonstrably proven to lack integrity, both here & in the UK

    This means contry views don’t get g=heard over the clamour of the right wing attack dogs.

    For example where is the left wing equivalent of the radio shock jocks such as Alan Jones. Don’t exist so there is no balance and that is why our democracy is at threat.

    The whole paradigm has shifted and that is why somebody as dishonest as Abbott is such a threat

  46. Owen Gary

    Didn’t Abbot want to be a Priest or something perhaps he’s a member of the christian brothers who guide the path of alter boys??

  47. Gederts Skerstens

    “… guide the path of alter boys??”

    Alter-nate Lifestyle boys?

    Now that’s meant to demean, embarrass, denigrate and offend.
    Off to jail.

  48. Mike Smith

    @The Pav: Kyle might be left wing, he’s certainly a shock jock. A quick google failed to turn up any political comment. Looks like the man aint all bad.

  49. Gederts Skerstens

    The Pav parried with: “…For example where is the left wing equivalent of the radio shock jocks such as Alan Jones. ”

    The entire ABC. A billion bucks a year, taxpayer-funded department of propaganda, 24/7. No news item, interview or commentary goes without a tilt.

    The importance of the media is overblown.
    Here’s an easy check: Would your reading ‘The Spectator’ change your vote any more than my reading ‘The Green/Left Weekly’?

    Most people don’t form their points of view after consulting Wise Columnists online or in print. It’s done in the course of their workaday lives.

  50. Edward James

    I pay Crikey.com.au , who are just one of many gatekeepers. To let me access the electronic platforms where I and you secretive lot of trolls may exercise “freedom of expression” some of you may have noticed I have identified myself because I believe what I promulgate is important to the national proletariate, that is we the peoples.! What I have published on Crikey.com.au and in my local papers. The Peninsula News and Gosford Central Community News goes beyond the politcal interest of our Local, State and Federal political allsorts. Never the less politicians and their supporters are willing to ignore crime in the interest of pushing their own political process. My phone number is 0243419140 It serves as a sign post advertising the corruption our politicians put upon us. Ring my number and ask questions of me, the answers to which Crikey.com.au wont publish because they want to avoid being sued! Apple is crap Edward James 0243419140

  51. Edward James

    I like some others spend my money in a attempt to influences change. I also publish this ….Labor Party from the top to bottom Australia wide would do better to address all those problems within its politically inbred membership. Problems with obvious misgovernance of the membership which has resulted in political disgraces, like Milton the Horrible Orkopolous Seat of Swansea using illegal drugs, and sexually abusing boys, while other NSW MPs have been pursued through the courts for ripping off the parliament pay office, and now there are many more questions about mining grants to be discussed at ICAC. All these issues and many others which can be identified as political sins against the peoples. Take years to drag out, often at great expense to taxpayers. Because the way we have been represented has become woeful. And now Labor have a dam hide to be emailing members often office employees, who would be worried they will also loose their jobs if the Federal member loses their seat. To put their tax deductible money into a Federal re-election campaign. We have witnessed members being suspended when many voters believe they should have been dumped. This is enough to warn long suffering voters to direct their preferences well away from the Labor Party, putting them last along with their Labor supporters on any ballot be it Federal, State or Local! Edward James 0243419140

  52. The Pav

    Dear Gederts,

    To compare the ABC with Jones et al is simply lucicrous. Leaving aside the falacious contention that the ABC has a significant bias, when has one ABC commentator ever made the equivalent of Jones’ repeated statement that the Pm should be drwoned at sea in a chaff bag. Never is the answer.

    When has an ABC incited race riots?

    When has an ABC commentator taken cash for comments?

    Next , it seems you have the traditional right wing paranoia were balance is seen seen as oppostion. An extention of ” if you’re not with me you’re agin me” philosophy.

    There have been any number of studies showing that the ABC does not have a significant left wing bias. Heavens above probably most of the board are still Howard appointees.

    Is is a Left wing bias that Abbott is too gutless to appear on Q&A.

    Was it ABC bias that led Abbott to admit on air that he couldn’t be relied upon to tell the truth

    Was it ABC left wing biuas that led to Q&A ambushing the PM about 12 mths ago?

    Was it ABC left wing bias that had the show about Gillards in te Lodge. An alleged attempt at satire that mocked the PM. That I found distasteful not becaise of that but because it was simply crap.

    Then how many Crikey posters complain that the ABC far to often simply resolves to be little more than an echo board of the Oppositions talking points of the day.

    Your contention that the ABC has any significant left wing bias is ridiculous. If that’s the best you can mount as a defence then give it up now.

    Next as to the importance of media. Well firstly why does Murdoch continue to lose billions on papers if not for the political clout it gives him?

    Why is Blot considered so influential? If he wasn’t Abbott wouldn’t be sucking up to him.

    The media plays a critical role in framing the debate that;’s why honest ethcal reporting is critical to the health of our democracy.

    It cannot be a coincidence that the deterioration in political debate in this country has coincided with media concentration.

  53. Edward James

    GEDERTS SKERSTENS
    Posted Wednesday, 8 August 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink I have been out here in public for over ten years now. I don’t recall you engaging with me by name I have been protesting outside our NSW Parliament in MacQuarie Street for more than four hundred days during a three year period. What do you insist Australians must do to be honestly represented ? Please understand Crikey readers I am pushing allegations in print here and elsewhere which will not result in a happy conclusion! 02 43419140 call me. I will be only to happy to reverse the cost of your phone call! Edward James 02 43419140 POB 3024 Umina 2257 I have not been well governed for years have you? I am not going away. Federal State and Local you readers need to sand up and be counted! Edward James POB 3024 Umina 2257

  54. Gederts Skerstens

    “To compare the ABC with Jones et al is simply lucicrous. ”

    You may have a point. Adios for now.

  55. Edward James

    While hidden peoples write all sorts of stuff on line! We the peoples are also able to show there is evidence of abuse of due process! did anyone atch the exolsive

  56. Edward James

    Not me Edward James 0243419140

  57. Syd Walker

    I agree with what David Marr appears to be saying on this issue. Only outright intimidation should be prohibited – but blatantly intimidatory, threatening speech (eg “If you don’t shut up I’ll come and knock your teeth in”) is surely prohibited anyway under other legislation?

    18C of the Racial Discrimination Act was an utterly disgraceful amendment to the Racial Discrimination Act – brought about by very pushy lobbying from the very same Lobby that has been most assiduous in utilising it ever since (and no, I’m not referring to the Aboriginal community). 18C attempts to puts a clamp on free speech that simply shouldn’t exist in a society that values truth and open debate.

    I therefore find myself in the unusual situation – on this one issue – of agreeing with Tony Abbott and Andrew Bolt. I’d like all sides of Parliament to ditch 18C ASAP. If anyone cares to read my more detailed arguments on this issue, please check out my blog, especially the article I published today entitled ‘Abbott is right – 18C must go!’ It may annoy just about everyone in the country for one reason or another, but it’s written in good faith and from the heart. Given that most published writing in this country is either commercial dross or some other form of verbiage crafted for “The Market”, it would be ironic indeed if anyone tries to take me to court over it. And yes, I most certainly would defend the case if – God forbid – that happened. Right up to the High Court if necessary.

  58. Mike Smith

    @Syd: Abbott would drop his position on 18c in a flash if Labor was supporting it.

    It’s not so bad a section, what does make it ‘bad’ are two words “reasonably likely” – far too vague.

  59. Syd Walker

    @ Mike Smith

    You’ll forgive me if I don’t change my opinion on a substantive issue of law because you make an unsubstantiated inference about partisan politics.

    That’s precisely the way laws should not be made in my opinion. What we need is consideration of the detail of legislation based on the merits of each specific case.

  60. Mike Smith

    Your opinion, my opinion. They are both only opinions, and not substantive.

  61. Gederts Skerstens

    Syd said: “… What we need is consideration of the detail of legislation based on the merits of each specific case.”

    The merits of each case get assessed by the judiciary according to their personal lights. There’s nothing worthwhile about giving a few individuals the scope to act on what they imagine the law should be, rather than what millions want it to be.

    It’s a matter of drafting with more care. If there’s a phrase like “Deemed to be”, attach the conditions that enable such deeming. Just as these are in the judge’s mind during assessment, they can also be in writing. Same goes for “reasonably likely”. The conditions that make something “reasonable” can be spelled out.

    Better still, draft in such a style that the making of laws stays entirely with Parliament without sliding over to the guys in fancy dress.

    (An informative blog, btw., in a measured tone.)

  62. Edward James

    edward James who attacks govenment in NSW not someone hinding themselves1 Who explains about the sturr whre rods qrew processue Whiles is there dark triled

  63. Edward James

    are yes we all vote, but how many of influence change ???

  64. Edward James

    While many of us write comments on Crikey and else where, how many of us actually influence the way we are governed? Edward James

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