David Seymour’s proposal to abolish the Human Rights Commission reflects widespread suspicion that is has become a taxpayer-funded nest for people plotting to end the freedoms it was established to protect. As Janet Albrechtsen explained last week in The Australian, the same problem afflicts Australia. Instead of defending free speech the Australian Human Rights Commission has been among the institutions trying to punish people who challenge politically correct views.
The Australian is behind a strict pay-wall, so Janet has authorised the Free Speech Coalition to reproduce her article below. Unfortunately we cannot reproduce the long list of comments the article attracted.
Janet is a highly qualified lawyer but is best known for her journalism, having been a published commentator in most of Australia’s quality news media.Read more
With permission from Stuff's editors --
Selected parts of an Opinion piece by Damien Grant, contributor to Stuff and supporter of the Free Speech Coalition
"If you need evidence of why governments should not be trusted with regulating social media companies you only need to flick through the twenty four page advertorial masquerading as a report produced by the freshly minted Helen Clark Foundation last week."
"It isn't a long read, being mostly stock photos and images of Clark and Ardern, but its message is clear: new regulations are needed to prevent online hate speech in order to combat terrorism."
"Which may strike some readers as odd, as the west has been subjected to decades of terrorism that wasn't instigated by Neo-Nazis nor transphobes."Read more
By Dane Giraud
It seems incredible now but there was a time when nearly every New Zealand suburb had a beautiful movie theatre. They could be rather baroque affairs too, with mezzanine levels and carpet on the walls. My locals were “The Starlight” in Hunters Corner, Papatoetoe, where I saw “Jaws”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (in possibly the greatest double-feature ever), “Rocky’s 2, 3 & 4” and “Return of The Jedi”. The first “Rocky” I saw at the “Orpheus” on Station Rd, Otahuhu, on a rare day out with my father.
Since at least 2017, the New Zealand Human Rights Commission has sought to broaden the definition of hate speech, seeing that existing laws had been "unable to be utilized in respect of religious hate speech directed at Muslim New Zealanders, who, for the most part, belong to a variety of ethnic minority communities in New Zealand”.
In the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks, Justice Minister Andrew Little has now pledged to work alongside the HRC to “fast-track” (a term you never want to hear when freedoms are at stake) a widespread review that would include deciding if hate speech (including the aforementioned religious hate speech) should be established as its own separate offense.
It was interesting (and potentially telling, regarding the HRC’s unhelpful ideological bent) that Jews weren’t mentioned in the 2017 HRC text considering how vulnerable we currently are to demonization from both the Hard-Left and Right. Internationally, more than 50% of the hate crimes recorded against a religious group are directed at Jews, who often make up less than 1% of a country’s population.Read more
By Dane Giraud -
The anti-speech mob ignore a simple fact; there is incredible diversity within minority groups. Therefore, we must keep society as open and as liberal as possible. The idea that our right to free speech must be tested against “competing rights” comes out of a worldview that minority rights conflict with that of the majority, when the most contentious battles far often happen within minority groups.
The UN Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) preamble recognizes that humans have an “inherent dignity” (women who sleep with me being a notable exception) and “equal and inalienable rights”. So, what’s with the bunk peddled by so many now that “rights” aren’t inalienable and that some rights are more equal than others?
By Chris Trotter -
HOW SHOULD New Zealand respond to the Christchurch Mosque Shootings? What should the Government do? A powerful consensus has formed behind the Prime Minister’s call for gun control. Subsequent initiatives may not, however, be so universally affirmed. Voices are already being raised in favour of restricting the public expression of “harmful” ideas. Clearly, the question of what does, and does not, constitute “harm” is going to be hotly contested. The national unity forged out of shock, grief, compassion and solidarity, is unlikely to survive any attempt to aggressively limit free speech in New Zealand.Read more
Next week, New Zealand is expected to sign the United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. While it is non-binding, the protocol could still damage New Zealanders’ right to free speech and debate.
The Free Speech Coalition is indifferent on immigration policy matters; reasonable people can agree to disagree. However, the Government should not be signing an agreement that says it will seek to restrict free speech on immigration matters.
Objective 17 of the Compact looks to prevent critical speech of immigration policies in an attempt to combat xenophobia and racism. The problem with this is that many legitimate and genuine concerns about immigration are framed as ‘racist’ by some people. The Compact says that governments should defund media which report “intolerant” views. It goes further and says they should be denied “support”, which seems to mean the government should interfere with private funding. Almost any unwelcome truth can be termed “intolerant”, so the Compact will be a tool to suppress New Zealanders speaking their minds.Read more
Here is a good analysis written by the Free Speech Coalition's own David Farrar on Stuart McCutcheon's comments on the principles of free speech in the university environment in New Zealand.