Right to punch

It is inspiring to see so many letters in The Australian defending our democratic right to call someone “nigger”, “kike”, “faggot” and of course, “c*nt”. It’s what we fought all those wars for, after all.

But seriously, while the reversed onus of proof is of concern, the content of the new anti-discrimination laws is nothing new. Speech is already unremarkedly subject to many legal restraints including defamation, privacy, anti-terror and intellectual property, and it is already possible to sue for distress under common law.

Like any action, speech has consequences for which we may be held accountable. To insist on a “right” to publicly use words like those above, in order to offend and without consequence, is like arguing that a punch in the face is an expression of freedom of movement.

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