Human Rights Commission trying to silence free speech

The commission’s president Gillian Triggs today warned Mr Wilson, who was hand-picked by Attorney-General George Brandis, that the commission must speak with one voice and be independent of government.

She said Mr Wilson, a former Liberal Party member and Institute of Public Affairs chief, would bring “fresh air” to the body as one of seven human rights commissioners.

“But I think it must be stressed that ultimately … we have ultimately to agree on a single policy,” she told ABC radio.

Mr Wilson believes section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which prevents people from being offended or insulted on the grounds of race, should be “unambiguously repealed”.

“I have been appointed to the role with the full knowledge of my view and I expect a reasonable accommodation of those views with respect to what the commission’s position is,” he told The Australian.

But Professor Triggs said section 18C of the Act should be “tweaked” rather than abolished.

Source.

As much as I’m enjoying watching lefty heads explode following Tim Wilson’s appointment, this sort of attitude demonstrates why the so-called Human Rights Commission should be abolished and cannot be reformed from within.

As it is Tim is compromising already. First he resigned from the Liberal Party when he took the job. Big mistake – that sends the message that freedom of association isn’t important. Then this morning, writing in The Australian, he made reference to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

All rights should be defended, but the human right most being neglected is free speech. Arguably freedom of speech is the most important human right. It is the human right necessary to protect and defend all other human rights.

Article 19 of the covenant states: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

Article 19 ought to be the human rights community’s starting point. But at the moment it seems more like a footnote.

I don’t disagree with that – but to suggest that the UN or any international treaty is the source of our freedom is a concession to progressive ‘thinking’. Tim is on stronger ground when he writes:

From a classical liberal perspective, traditional human rights are a set of universal principles about the rights of individuals that protect their freedom including freedom of movement, association, worship, property and self-determination.

More important, human rights are not a gift bestowed on us by government; they are our basic birthright as free people.

Anyway – like many others I’m going to watch this space with much interest and much enjoyment and amusement.

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36 Responses to Human Rights Commission trying to silence free speech

  1. nic

    The issue that such a body must be independent of the Government only seems to apply to Liberal Governments. I wonder if there are any examples to the contrary? The fact that the body remained mute during the Gillard Government’s proposal to muzzle free speech says enough.

  2. jupes

    The commission’s president Gillian Triggs today warned Mr Wilson, who was hand-picked by Attorney-General George Brandis, that the commission must speak with one voice and be independent of government.

    So when Graeme Innes made ridiculous demands of Myers, that was the commission speaking in one voice was it Gillian?

    Just more evidence that the commission should be disbanded.

  3. Jannie

    Yeah its fun to watch. Its interesting but unsurprising that Triggs has such a collectivist view of the ‘correct’ line the Commission should take. With any luck all those alphabet soup Commissions will be undermined by new appointments, and they descend into internal discord, dysfunctionality and despair. Hope they get so bad it will be a relief to all just to abolish them.

    BTW Ant, who exactly are you accusing of being a donkey?

  4. Samuel J

    There is no rule that the Commission “must speak with one voice”. Hasn’t the President heard of minority reports?

  5. Samuel J

    The source of fundamental freedoms such as free speech and freedom of association is a natural right.

  6. Jock

    After the sewer like response from the Left at the appointment of Wilson, can someone please map out and count the number of “in House” appointments by Labor of its mates to various qangos and the court. They are past masters at stacking and like many Cats I think its time to sack and reappoint with fresh faces. Top of the list is Triggs then Southopothnmose.

    Then most of the Presidents and VPs in the FW Commision should be sacked. For that matter anyone who held a position in the union movement should go. Their inability to deal with conflict of interest is a disgrace.

    I’m sure there are many more but we need a big list. With references of course as to their “backgrounds”

  7. Ant

    Only Triggs, and her ilk. Tim Wilson is a star and all round nice bloke.

  8. Token

    Wait a minute, who is going to take the role of Gillian Triggs who actively supported limiting free speech for those who can not be trusted with such a right by our social betters?

  9. .

    The commission’s president Gillian Triggs today warned Mr Wilson, who was hand-picked by Attorney-General George Brandis, that the commission must speak with one voice and be independent of government.

    Hilarious. These malcontents who are afraid of Wilson and his agenda to protect free speech are shown to be the totalitarian dickheads they actually are.

  10. Token

    …that the commission must speak with one voice and be independent of government.

    Everyone in lock step and think as the Lefty Borg directs you…

  11. Geriatric Mayfly

    And Mz Trigg’s idea of speaking as a single voice on policy, would be wholly dictated by scratching through the race, gender and class compost. Not overlooking a certain religion amongst the leavings.

  12. H B Bear

    Sounds like Tim’s first job will be to file a bullying claim against Ms Triggs.

  13. Cato the Elder

    I don’t disagree with that – but to suggest that the UN or any international treaty is the source of our freedom is a concession to progressive ‘thinking’.

    Unfortunately Tim’s correct – the HREOC is defined solely by reference to the international covenants, treaties etc. See the definition of youman rites in the Act.

    The conclusion is clear: the Commission, in fact the entire Act must go if we want our common law inalienable rights back.

    Fortunately Tim’s on-side with that so maybe he is just the thin end of the wedge.

  14. Toiling Mass

    So Gilli(g)an believes that Wilson should abandon his right to free speech for the sake of creating an illusion of unanimity regarding the right to free speech.

  15. Bruce

    But Professor Triggs said section 18C of the Act should be “tweaked” rather than abolished.

    Tweak it by removing everything except the full stop. You can leave that in.

  16. James B

    Tim doesn’t need to do shit to appease any of them. He should still call for the commission to be abolished. He should still criticise it and everything it does. He is under no obligation to do anything but that.

  17. egg_

    speaking as a single voice on policy

    Chop the HRC down to one voice – Tim’s?

  18. HK_Brother

    When the Left lose power, they always preach about morals…The very morals they don’t display themselves when they were in power.

    …Yeah, its called HYPOCRISY!

    Youtube video => Just a reminder.

  19. .

    What a joke. We agreed to remove racial discrimination but you can hire people on the basis of NOT being white, and we constitutionally have the power to treat Aborigines differently.

  20. Yon Toad

    Triggs: the commission must speak with one voice…
    Yeh right. And by God, it better be hers! She is a clown.

  21. MT Isa Miner

    Bruce

    #1115763, posted on December 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    But Professor Triggs said section 18C of the Act should be “tweaked” rather than abolished.

    Tweak it by removing everything except the full stop. You can leave that in.

    Good one, Bruce.

    The left are the ones that steal language and change the meaning to suit their lies “progressive”, “gay” “social justice”. Onya, Bruce, about time we stopped bending over hoping they will be gentle!

    Fight them with their own tactics- don’t forget to tell that useless cow, Sue Butler at Macquarie Dictionary the new meaning of “tweak”.

  22. Tel

    More important, human rights are not a gift bestowed on us by government; they are our basic birthright as free people.

    But that only applies if we were a free people, and the evidence is that we are not, so why be misleading about it? The fact that we go begging to government for rights in the first place is demonstration of the lack of freedom. The UN has already taken our freedom, it merely offers a little bit back now and then.

  23. Carpe Jugulum

    The commission’s president Gillian Triggs today warned Mr Wilson, who was hand-picked by Attorney-General George Brandis, that the commission must speak with one voice and be independent of government.

    So Ms Triggs thinks that being independant requires groupthink.

    Jesus Wept.

    Sack.them.all.now.

  24. egg_

    Sack.them.all.now.

    Is that what all those L.G.B.T.I.O. et al letters spell?

    Or our ‘M.s T.rI.G.gs’?

  25. Geriatric Mayfly

    Grief! Another letter has been added to the alphabet soup of sexual proclivities.Bring me up to speed egg_. What does the ‘O’ stand for?

  26. None

    Dumb move by Brandis and Wilson who I agree, has compromised himself (is there a libertarian who doesn’t have their snount in the public trough?). And while there is no rule about ‘one voice’, Wilson is now obligated by law to uphold every stupid law and the kangaroo court that is the AHRC. But it seems he is into the UN pap after all. So is Brandis but we all knew that. I didn’t expect Brandis to go so far as to try and set up a government funded IPA. Yeah like that will work.

    God, this government is already disappointing me no end.

    The AHRC has to go. All of it. The real test now is if groups like the IPA to continue to argue their case against it. Start a fund-raiser: make Tim Wilson redundant and all of his fellow croneys with him. Because that is exactly what he now is. A croney. And a sell out. And just wait til you see the little bureaucracy that will spawn under the ‘freedom commissioner’. Unless you want to tell me we will now pay someone $300K a year to appear on QandA every few weeks.

  27. Boambee John

    “the commission must speak with one voice”.

    So the commission can’t speak unless they are unanimous, therefore can’t speak unless Tim W agrees with what they want to say?

    Sounds like a good result! Apologies to Simon the Carbuncle, “The Sounds of Silence”.

  28. Andrew

    Great to see Twiggy come out firing against the social meeja bullying of a senior public servant.

  29. Papachango

    First he resigned from the Liberal Party when he took the job. Big mistake – that sends the message that freedom of association isn’t important.

    Why would he do that? Can anyone tell me if any of the 0ther HREOC commissioners are members of political parties, and if so, which ones?

  30. rafiki

    That rights “are not a gift bestowed on us by government; they are our basic birthright as free people” is reflected in the way that the common law protects rights. The judges, who for better or worse (and there is no other feasible way if we are speaking of legal protection) are the arbiters of what rights are deserving of protection, will find that a statute has derogated from these rights only if that result is the only way the statute can be read. The judges do not sanction a derogation by finding it justifiable. Over time, the list of rights recognised by the judges has been heavily influenced by classical liberal theorising. The holding in Entick v Carrington that government may intrude on rights only if there is specify legal authority to do so (and not on an ‘in the interests of the state’ basis) was based on Lockean theory about the role of the state.

    Australian Human Rights Acts (HRA) (which are based on the ICCPR) change the common law in 3 deleterious ways (1) These rights are stated in a statute, and as AV Dicey pointed out, what is granted can be taken away. It will be argued that if an HRA right is taken away, its common law equivalent will revive. Maybe, but this is not certain, and in any event if rights are seen to be derived from an ordinary statute, their supra-state or fundamental character is lost. (2) The HRA list of protected rights falls well short of the common law rights. In particular, the right to property is not stated in the ACT Act, and in the Victorian Charter is stated with such a heavy qualification that it is functionally useless. In the ACT, the HR Commissioner pays no attention to non-HRA rights. Nor does the government when it analyses a proposed law from a rights perspective. Schoolchildren learn about the HRA rights, but not abut the common law. (3) The HRA Acts specifically permit derogation of a right if that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society. This is of course a legislative function, and, when as is generally the case, the court upholds a justification, it is sanctioning a derogation of the rights.

    On the other hand, the HRAs add nothing of substance to the common law technique. They are more than useless; they are dangerous.

  31. egg_

    Grief! Another letter has been added to the alphabet soup of sexual proclivities.Bring me up to speed egg_. What does the ‘O’ stand for?

    Origin.

  32. .

    more, rafiki

    What if the HRC ordered something that was ostensibly unreasonable per Wednesbury unreasonableness?

  33. I don’t disagree with that – but to suggest that the UN or any international treaty is the source of our freedom is a concession to progressive ‘thinking’.

    Relax; he’s just making sure they know the things they hang their hats on can swing both ways and bite them on their arses. The Left has a throbbing erection for the UN, and Wilson is merely showing them that the entirety of what they have that erection over includes things they have themselves been violating and contravening.

    As for his resignation from the Liberal Party, I must beg to differ – I think that was right and proper: not just to be doing the right thing, but to be seen to be doing the right thing.

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