I don’t know when it happened precisely, but Mark Latham has become one of the champions of religious freedom in the state of New South Wales. It’s strange, because by his own admission he doesn’t even consider himself ‘religious’. However, the NSW One Nation leader is taking on the ‘thought police’ with a bill to protect free speech online.
For anyone keen to still be able to express their religious point of view online via social media, Latham’s proposed bill offers the much-needed protection. According to Latham’s Facebook post, the Bill will seek to do two main things:
Empower/Make further provisions for the President of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board to decline certain complaints as frivolous or vexatious.
Remove the requirement for the President to refer declined complaints to NCAT (NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal).
In the light of everything that happened to people such as Israel Folau last year, this is a welcome move. Because the Anti-Discrimination Act has been weaponised by certain activists to financially destroy those whom they disagree with. As Latham argued in the NSW Parliament:
Activists are using the legal system to try to score the political points they cannot achieve by democratic means, or even worse, they are using the legal system to try to destroy their opponents financially to break them with the cost of using lawyers and going through tribunals to defend themselves. This is not justice; it is a lawyer’s picnic.
In the four decades since the Anti-Discrimination Act was legislated, the political environment has changed substantially. We now live in an era of heightened political activism, much of it driven by the intense polarised and at times obsessive nature of social media, and tactics such as ‘de-platforming’ and ‘cancelling culture’ have become common.
Bernard Gaynor, a former Major in the Defence Force, is another example of someone who has had to engage in modern “law-fare” to financially defend himself against numerous defamation lawsuits. For example, over the past five years, Mr. Gaynor has had up to 37 complaints brought against him by just one person, who described himself as an “Anti-Discrimination Campaigner”.
Mr Latham has asked the public to issue a long or short submission in support of the bill. (You can do so by clicking here.) Submissions close Sunday 26 April, however due to the coronavirus you can request an extension by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to the proposed Bill, Mr. Gaynor was quoted as saying:
The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board has allowed a vexatious and self-described ‘anti-free speech activist’ to unleash a reign of legal terror on conservatives and Christians.
This body should be abolished and Mark Latham’s common-sense bill to force it to dismiss vexatious complaints is a good first step.
The Anti-Discrimination Board is a totalitarian, state-funded activist organisation that is hell-bent on using the coercive power of the state to silence mainstream conservative opinion.
These types of ‘Thought Police’ should have no place in Australia.
Hear, hear. I mean, “Amen!” I’m still getting used to the use of religious language after a speech by a secular politician. We can thank God though that there’s someone who’s willing to speak up for the many quiet Australians.
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