Offering a uniquely Australian perspective on the US Presidential election

Price of Free Speech

Price of Free Speech

Friday 7 April, 2017
In this week’s exclusive account from Lucy she describes how she and Malcolm determined that it might be seen as too self-serving to extend the provisions of 18C to apply to remarks about the PM.
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In this week’s exclusive account from Lucy she describes how she and Malcolm determined that it might be seen as too self-serving to extend the provisions of 18C to apply to remarks about the PM.

 “Look Mal” I said “I’ve been wondering”

“That’s interesting” he responded “so have I”

“Perhaps you’re looking at 18C the wrong way” I ventured “and instead of narrowing its application you should be broadening it”

“Hang on Luce” he exclaimed “I’m a dedicated champion of free speech”

“But it worries me so terribly dear” I confessed “that you get routinely insulted, offended, humiliated and intimidated on a daily basis and have no recourse under 18C against the demented detritus that do it”

“But that’s the privilege bestowed upon them” asserted Malcolm “by the gift of free speech”

“I fail to see” I opined “how it is not ok to insult minorities while on the other hand trashing the PM has become a national pastime”

“Interesting point Luce” said Malcolm pensively “however I think the practice of insulting PMs came into fashion during the Kevin, Julia and Tony years when it all seemed so logical and has continued during my tenure not because I deserve it but rather because the folks have got used to enjoying it so much”

“I’ll tell you what I’d do” I asserted “I’d extend 18C to protect the PM”

“That could do wonders for my ego” admitted Malcolm “but surely I would still be open to attack under parliamentary privilege”

“Perhaps I could justify the abuse of you under parliamentary privilege” I reasoned “as a memorial to free speech but there’s no place in a civilised society for the sort of vitriol that’s spewed weekly about you on Q&A”

“Perhaps” mused Malcolm “it might be considered unfair if I were protected while an undeserving populist puissant like Shorten was not”

“Only people who are hopelessly compromised politically” I pointed out “could reach that conclusion because it’s only logical that anyone not bagging Bill isn’t behaving naturally”

“But seriously” asked Malcolm “don’t you think that I’d be accused of a surfeit of self-interest if I proposed an extension of 18C to apply exclusively to me?”

“Not to you dear” I explained “rather to the office of Prime Minister”

“On second thoughts then dear” explained Malcolm “I couldn’t possibly support the idea because if Shorten ever became PM I wouldn’t be able to control myself”

 

 

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About this Series
An occasional series featuring the First Lady’s account of her contributions to her husband’s political career and the fate of the nation.

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