Sunday, 27 April 2014

George Brandis talks the talk on unfettered free speech but has not always walked the walk

NOW: Australian Attorney-General Senator George Brandis trying to defend the indefensible changes proposed to the Racial Discrimination Act.

Spiked online 17 April 2014:

Brandis says he’s been a fan of free speech for ages. He reminds me that in his maiden speech to the Australian Senate, given 14 years ago when he was first elected as senator for Queensland, he let everyone know that ‘one of my most fundamental objectives would be to protect freedom of thought and expression’. He tells me he has long been agitated by ‘the cultural tyranny of political correctness’.
But there were two recent, specific things that made him realise just what a mortal threat freedom of speech faces in the modern era and that he would have to dust down his Mill, reread his Voltaire, and up the ante in his war of words against, as he puts it, the transformation of the state into ‘the arbiter of what might be thought’. The first thing was the climate-change debate; and the second is what is known down here as The Andrew Bolt Case.

THEN: Parliamentary Representative on the Council of the National Library of Australia Senator George Brandis wanting to ban a book.

Courier Mail 24 October 2006:

A federal Government senator is demanding the withdrawal of a school library book which paints his political hero and Australia's longest-serving prime minister as a tyrant.
Sir Robert Menzies is listed alongside the likes of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, Cambodian ruler Pol Pot and the deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the children's reference book 100 Greatest Tyrants, which is used by students at a Mount Isa high school.
Senator George Brandis has slammed the book, by British author Andrew Langley, describing it as offensive and inappropriate for history studies in any Australian school….