The push in the United Nations by Pakistan, Turkey etc for an extension of blasphemy laws is of great concern to supporters of free speech. Janet Albrechtsen, Simon Breheny and others have outlined the major points.
But in advance of 18 October UN Security Council election, I want to know whether the Gillard Government and its agents have made any commitments to support blasphemy laws, or even to run silent on the issue.
It is the responsibility of our Australian representatives to argue strongly against any such restrictions on free speech. To do otherwise is to betray the country that they are paid to serve. Blasphemy laws have no place in the 21st century; they are a relic of the medieval period being resurrected by religious zealots.
If the Government does not publicly state its opposition to blasphemy laws, the public have a right to be suspicious as to what behind-the-scenes agreements they have reached to secure votes for the UN Security Council seat.