We need racial vilification laws in a multicultural society

Dylan Taylor writes: Re. “Keane: on race, discrimination and white men’s privilege” (Friday). Like Bernard Keane, I have never been “insulted or humiliated or intimidated” because of my race either, but growing up in the 1970s and ’80s, I had many friend who were. They were Chinese, Italian, Lebanese, Indian, Vietnamese and in one or two quite nasty incidents, Jewish.

In all these cases, the boys (usually at the vulnerable adolescent period of their lives) could do little to “deal with” the vilification using other existing laws, nor could they turn the other cheek, since that cheek was also of the same colour or race. They suffered ridicule, insults and humiliation, and I am quite certain many were intimidated and said or did little or nothing to respond to this thuggish behaviour, fearing reprisals.

Subsequently, I have worked with many people, male and female, who have suffered in similar ways on account of their race.

And there, surely, is the rub: the vilification — humiliation, insult, intimidation et al — is based not on some passing  fashion or some stupid temporary feature, like pimples or a chicken chest, but on racewhich daubs you and your entire family with the same humiliating paint forever. Accept that meekly as a byproduct of free speech and you’re a goner!

The only way in a decent  multiracial community to avoid having a two- or three-tier society, where one section of the population (mainly white and male) can humiliate and intimidate all the rest — using the pretence of “freedom of speech” — is to provide the protection of the law for all people from racial vilification.

I wish you could find it in your white male heart to empathise with those who suffer daily and speak up for them as a responsible journalist, rather than  blather on with Andrew Bolt and George Brandis about the right to free speech.

The case against fracking has not been made

Shaun Drabsch writes: Re. “Santos’ open flame: can it snuff out the protests on coal seam gas?” (Thursday). The inappropriate storage of produced water from CSG drilling does not constitute evidence that fracking causes aquifer contamination. All it proves is that if you don’t store water properly, contamination could result. The case against fracking in Australia is still yet to be proven in any physical example, despite the use of lubricated water pressure to fracture rock sediments having taken place in this country for the last 40 years.

The fact of poor storage in the Piliga leading to contamination of the surrounding area has been known for two years. Paddy Manning’s mindless parroting of Lyndon Schneider’s transparently hasty attempt to use a minor EPA finding to freeze one of Australia’s few prospective industries reveals an implicit subscription to this agenda. If Manning wants to join the shrill “stop the gas” debate, he should blog on GetUp or the Wilderness Society website. Crikey should stick to objective assessment of fact.

Riding roughshod over safety regulations

Richard Smith writes: Re. “Protest: you be the judge” (Thursday). The video clearly shows two breaches of the Road Safety Act 1986. A person was injured yet the driver didn’t immediately stop and render assistance [s61]; and the person driving the motor vehicle drove in a manner that was dangerous to the public [s64]. It’s not a defence that the members of the public were protesters. Nowhere does the act state that politicians are exempt from its provisions.

As a pedestrian I get pissed off by multiunit developments with substandard basement carparks, where the drivers accelerate up steep ramps that lack pedestrian sightlines and cross their property boundary at speed. By choosing to walk on a footpath it could be considered that I occasionally impede cars, but I hope it doesn’t mean they’re allowed to run me over with impunity.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey