Speech is no different from any other action – you are free to act, but if you cause harm, you are responsible for the consequences. Andrew Bolt has paid the price for using people’s cultural identity as a blunt instrument to increase his own notoriety, without regard for truth, reputation or feelings.
That the plaintiffs wanted the case dealt with under the Racial Discrimination Act is their prerogative, but they would have won it under defamation law just the same.
Bolt is a repeat offender in this regard, and every time he is convicted he cries “freedom of speech” and wants the legal system rewritten to suit himself. Justice has been served again, and it’s time Bolt’s cheer squad accepted his guilt.