Less than totally honest in two of his three examples of the supposedly appropriate functioning of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act – Bill Leak and QUT students – Waleed Aly tackles Andrew Bolt, who was officially adjudged as violating 18C:
So Bolt wasn’t done for being offensive or insulting or making an unpopular argument, section 18D explicitly provides for fair comment, Bolt’s problem was that his articles were dishonest.
The judgment against Bolt was not based on “dishonesty”:
The case was controversial. Justice Bromberg had been active in Labor Party politics. Bolt described the decision as a “terrible day for free speech” in Australia and said it represented “a restriction on the freedom of all Australians to discuss multiculturalism and how people identify themselves. I argued then and I argue now that we should not insist on the differences between us but focus instead on what unites us as human beings.” The ABC’s Jonathan Holmes of Media Watch described Justice Bromberg’s interpretation of the Racial Discrimination Act, and his application of it to Bolt’s columns as “profoundly disturbing” because it reinforced concerns that 18c creates “one particular area of public life where speech is regulated by tests that simply don’t apply anywhere else, and in which judges – never, for all their pontifications, friends of free speech – get to do the regulating.”
Ironically, the prominent Aboriginal activist Noel Pearson later stated: “The essence of indigeneity … is that people have a connection with their ancestors whose bones are in the soil. Whose dust is part of the sand. I had to come to the somewhat uncomfortable conclusion that even Andrew Bolt was becoming Indigenous because the bones of his ancestors are now becoming part of the territory.”
Muslim Aly, however, can say what he wants, no matter whether truthful or not, about white Australians without having to worry about contravening section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.