Free speech defence applaudedThursday, February 7, 2013
“We congratulate the federal Opposition on its strong defence of freedom of speech by opposing outright the Gillard government’s Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill,” FamilyVoice national research officer Ros Phillips said today (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/coalition-to-oppose-draft-anti-discrimination-bill/story-e6frg97x-1226571162662 ).
“This draft bill is fatally flawed. As Senator Brandis (pictured) has pointed out, it is unamendable,” Mrs Phillips said. “The bill would undermine freedom of association as well as freedom of speech. It would reverse the burden of proof – a basic principle of our justice system. The complex exceptions to its provisions, which may not be granted and cannot be relied upon, indicate that ‘discrimination’ under this bill is an arbitrary concept. Discrimination may be either good or bad – but no one can tell for sure. The bill does not provide the certainty which we are entitled to expect from our laws.”
Ros Phillips said the slight changes in wording suggested by former Attorney-General Nicola Roxon would not fix the bill’s serious problems.
“We hope that the Independents and Greens will join the Coalition in opposing this harmful legislation,” she said.
- Government and society