Mark Steyn is right. There is only one fundamental human right – free speech. The campaign by the IPA is therefore a step in the right direction. We are at an historic moment where free speech could be extinguished in the name of the protection of so-called collective rights not to be offended. It is not enough for the Coalition to mutter noises about the risks of the Finkelstein’s inquiry. The right to free speech should be protected beyond all others, and a referendum to amend the Constitution is required. In this, the founding fathers of the United States of America offer the perfect wording:
CongressParliament shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; orabridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Australia does not need a charter of rights. It does need protection of free speech. While the common law tradition has sided with free speech for centuries, parliamentary sovereignty has allowed liberty hating politicians and activist judges to abridge our right to free speech. Only a constitutional amendment can reverse this trend.