THERE WERE NEVER IN THE WORLD TWO OPINIONS ALIKE

Crying Over Spilled Almond-Milk
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Crying Over Spilled Almond-Milk

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Crying Over Spilled Almond-Milk

There has been much debate over the repeal or amendment of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. There even appears to be dissent among the Coalition back bench.

The view among Liberal Students, however, is unanimous. This legislation is broken. It needs to go. We find among the ranks of its defenders a group of people who former Prime Minister, John Howard might refer to as ‘the cultural dieticians’. Dieticians are by their very nature, restrictive. For instance, they may suggest shopping at a health food store (or ‘natural marketplace’ as they are sometimes referred to). Here, everything is ‘macrobiotic’ and an almond-milk spill needs cleaning up in aisle 4.

The place smells of stale sweat, wafting from health-freaks, unhinged and perennially exhausted or on their way to a gym. Conversely, dieticians will probably not want you to eat at McDonalds, appealing as it is with the pervasive odour of delicious fat. Similarly, for those who promote the idea of a canon of acceptable opinions, certain utterances are allowed and others are not.

This is why one group of people can go around wearing F**k Tony Abbott T-Shirts without a second glance; while other students praising the Abbott Government’s finest humanitarian achievement with “budgee smugglers, not people smugglers” shirts can be called, with bizarre ideological specificity, “neo-fascists”. Damian Kelly discusses this further inside.

So, the health food store represents everything that is ‘appropriate’ to say, while Macca’s is everything that’s not. Now imagine if none of the sensory signposts described above were allowed. That is, you fronted up to these two outlets with no indication of what each contained.

Imagine an artificial construct which meant there was no way of telling what you wanted to consume or who you were happy to give money to. This is effectively what s18C of the RDA does. Alex Fitton asks the important question on page 6: is Australia any less racist because of 18C? As Alex suggests, if we want to remedy prejudice moral suasion is always more powerful than some black-letter statute.

On Q & A the other week, the publisher of Spectator UK suggested that you have to “balance freedom of speech with social harmony”. This is totally incoherent, and indeed surprising from a conservative commentator. Freedom of speech isn’t there to protect innocuous and polite conversation. Social harmony and freedom of speech are not mutually exclusive ideals. Nonetheless, you don’t balance principles. Such an approach would compromise the integrity of both. You either support freedom of speech, or you don’t.

Of course, freedom of expression does not extend to acts which compromise the inviolability of another’s person – as the violent protests which occured last week seemingly did against the Forgeign Minister.
From its first issue, Mon Droit has valued the plurality which comes from freedom of expression. Any legislation which threatens this is anathema to our values. s18C needs to go.

SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE /E.A.G. ‘BABY FASCISTS’

Over the past couple of weeks I have campaigned for a good friend as he ran for USU. As a Liberal student he has suffered the usual slings and arrows and his relentless positivity in the face of this is testament ot the strength of his character.

However there has been a far more sinister strain accompanying the expected attacks. Members of the Socialist Alternative and Education Action Group maliciously stalked Callum and his campaigners. Their tactic of violently kicking down his A-frames, slashing the cable-ties holding them up and even blatantly walking away with them not only counts as vandalism and theft, but contributes to a purposeful air of intimidation. This behaviour belongs to a political model not unfamiliar to Brown Shirts in 1930’s Germany. These people are just baby fascists.

Perpetual lefty hack and USU Board Director Tom Raue gave himself a pat on the back for letting the Hon. Julie Bishop know she was “not welcome”. As it happens, the university itself has decided Tom Raue’s not welcome…for a month. Unfortunately, others in his ideological cul de sac do everything they can to make sure any student who disagrees with them does not feel welcome at Sydney University – every day. Though I rest assured that their level of influence peaks at University – I still shudder to think what these people would do with any real power.

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