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Forum: Our World Australia RSS
There is no free speech here
NFG (Administrator) #1
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Idiocy in Australia
In a recent decision, the Australian high court set a dangerous precedent, one that could ultimately mean that no Australian may write a negative review.  A newspaper food critic lost a court battle with a restaurant he had negatively reviewed.  Initially during a jury trial the critic won, but on appeal the high court sided with the restaurant in a 6-1 decision.

More details here from the Sydney Morning Herald.

The sole dissenting opinion came from Justice Michael Kirby, who "admitted that judges did not know much about food, and on the community standard, they were better off leaving it to the jury."  He refers to the earlier decision by a jury who came down on the critic's side.

A Macquarie University law lecturer and defamation expert, Dr Roy Baker, said it was an important decision that created difficulties for publishers and critics. [...]  he agreed with Justice Kirby, especially on the role of the jury as arbiter of the community standard.
It's a preposterous decision, and it seems clear that the judges supporting this decision are woefully out of touch.  As the above article points out, it criminalizes a person who expressed negative opinions.  If positive reviews are all we're allowed to write, why write reviews at all? 

Suddenly all movies are awesome, all food delicious, all businesses honest and trustworthy.  This does not reflect the real world where there's a strong need for criticism and honest reviews.

This post was edited on 2008-12-09, 13:44 by NFG.
Poll: Do you agree that reviewers should not be allowed to criticise businesses?
(One vote ·   9%) I agree
(10 votes · 91%) I disagree
This poll has no time limit · 11 votes
scion #2
User title: Invisible Cyborg Sandwhich
Member since Sep 2007 · 5 posts · Location: Enabsirb
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NFG, I'm affraid I'm going to have to vote that I agree as I'm fearful of expressing a negative oppinion due to the possible ramifications.
Yaro #3
User title: The Russian
Member since Oct 2007 · 10 posts · Location: Hobart, Tasmania
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I think the fact that Australia has no free speech is absurd.

This is just getting towards the stage of the legal system supporting censorship.
Not Tasmanian
Heffer #4
Member since Sep 2007 · 131 posts · Location: Canberra
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Does anywhere really have free speech though? I mean, sure you can have a constitution about it, but there's always so much room for loopholes to be made, and in the end you had just as much 'free speech' as before. Really, Australia is pretty good. We may not be exactly entitled to it, but as a group of people we respect it.

There will always be people having a fuss over nothing. You've just got to ignore them, and keep speaking up about what's important right?
NFG (Administrator) #5
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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If it's not codified under law then it's completely worthless.  It can be taken from you at any time, witness the restaurant reviewer.  If they can take something as trivial as a review away, there's no chance the important     things will remain unmolested.
Brett (s) #6
Member since Oct 2007 · 11 posts
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High Court absolutely fails. Really, really hard.

That ruling defeats the purpose of reviews, and as Yaro put it so well; takes us one step closer to legal censorship.

Tut tut n00bs of the High Court
NFG (Administrator) #7
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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In a recent opinion piece, The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Quote by SMH:
Australia may be closer to getting a bill of rights. The Federal Government looks likely to begin a nationwide consultation process this week, to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations.

The author goes on to say:

A bill of rights changes this. Unelected courts gain the power to frustrate elected governments if they hold a law to be in breach of rights.
Well, fuck yeah, as they should!  A government unchecked is a tool of evil.  We must ensure oversight.

This may sound fine, even desirable. But many rights are in fact political. They rest on controversial propositions, matters open to reasonable disagreement, issues that should properly be debated in the public arena.


Good health, education and housing are all worthy goals, but they are costly. To turn these into legal rights is to deprive governments of the power to make decisions about available resources, budget priorities and future plans.
So, what's the author saying here, that we should just ignore our basic rights whenever it's financially difficult to allow them?  Fuck right off, OK?

She does get it right in the end, it seems to be a throw-away line following a list of rights that are politically or culturally iffy.  Nowhere are the big one mentioned, as if free speech isn't worth bringing up.

If Australia is on the path to a bill of rights, let's have a genuine consultation process. Let us ask ourselves which rights are best protected by the courts, and why we believe Australia to be deficient compared to other countries.
(emphasis mine).

I'll fucking tell you why Australia's deficient: I am prohibited by law to write a negative review of products, services or establishments!  I'm not allowed to do illegal things to depictions of people!  It's a problem that should be rectified, 'cause Australia is damnably deficient.
ugsey #8
Member since Jun 2009 · 25 posts
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yay we're turning into North Korea/China!
money cake..ayumyumyumyumyumyum
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