When Attorney-General George Brandis defended “the right to be a bigot” earlier this year, his was to a true protection of free expression as my arse is to John Stuart Mill. Which is to say, far too busy safeguarding its seated position to be either noble or sincere. As David Marr said in The Saturday Paper, “Yes, George, people do have a right to be bigots. And political parties have a right to harvest their votes.” George was protecting his own powerful arse.
In an upside-down iteration of “the right to be a bigot” this week, we see two local institutions protecting their arses and re-establishing their power. Opera Australia has cancelled the performance of Georgian soprano Tamar Iveri for her perceived bigotry, while the Festival of Dangerous Ideas has cancelled the speech of Uthman Badar for his.