Last week Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi kicked off a petition to encourage the government of which he is a member to reform section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to “support freedom of speech, expression and opinion in public debate”.

“The social justice warriors (SJWs) believe that the ends justify the means to stop others from even voicing opinions that don’t comply with their agenda,” Bernardi said on his blog.

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But just days later, Bernardi — who secured a settlement with The Saturday Paper last year leading to a story being removed from its website — is railing against a “vile smear” against him “for which people will be held to account”. It stems from a Daily Telegraph article about a Sydney University course on the treatment of gay people in Australia:

“During a lecture this month about the treatment of gay people in Nazi Germany, students were told it was ‘something out of … (Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi’s) handbook’.”

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It’s not clear whether Bernardi is threatening to sue the lecturer involved for defamation, but it could make for an interesting defamation case of the Free Speech Warrior versus a lecturer who allegedly went the full Godwin on Bernardi.

Peter Fray

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