Matt Kean is the State Liberal (!) MP for Hornsby and NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Communities.
There is no doubt that freedom of speech is important but it is important because of the role it plays in our democracy. Freedom of speech ensures that when you or I go to the ballot box we can make an informed decision about who to vote for. Freedom of speech is necessary so that as a community, we can debate political ideas and so that individuals can have a say on decisions that affect them.
Section 18C ensures that everyone has a role to play in that debate.
A flourishing society also requires more than just freedom of speech; it requires security, stability, a just legal system and a vibrant economy.
That is why freedom of speech is not absolute. In this country, it is criminal to disclose secrets which risk the lives of Australian soldiers. It is likewise a crime for a corporate executive to disclose market sensitive information to his mates. The law protects us from slander and protects privileged comments made to our lawyers.
As a society, we recognise that these restrictions do not hurt our democracy or way of life. Indeed, we understand that they are necessary to maintain it. And laws against hate speech are no less necessary, because racism and bigotry tear at the heart of our social fabric.
I have never before heard the argument that freedom of speech especially undermines “security, stability, a just legal system and a vibrant economy”.
A man with these views would be better suited for the ALP or The Greens. Hopefully the voters in Hornsby now have enough information to retire him at the next election.