|Andrew Bolt in happier days|
By Darryl Mason
Rupert Murdoch's local dickhead-in-chief, Andrew Bolt, has used his blog and the opinion pages of numerous Murdoch papers to argue, since September 2011, that he should be free to declare some Aboriginals are white and are only pretending to be black, even when his facts are wrong. He thinks he should be free to smear and attack and publicly humiliate anyone he wants, even when he doesn't know what he's talking about. And they should suck up the bile unleashed on them by his attacks.
Andrew Bolt was convicted in September 2011 for contravening Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. He was found guilty after he claimed Aboriginals were trying to get professional advantage by identifying as Aboriginal.
This is one of the newspaper articles that saw 9 Aboriginals take Andrew Bolt to court, and score a win:
Claiming these people were faking being of Aboriginal descent, to gain "advantages" was a grotesque claim to make, and Bolt made it more than than once, causing immense hurt and harm, for no good reason, to the people he 'named and shamed' in his newspaper columns and blog posts. Comments he allowed about these Aboriginal underneath his blog were often even worse, rantings of hatred and malice, absolutely despicable stuff.
In his verdict, Justice Mordecai Bromberg said: "fair-skinned Aboriginal people were reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed in the newspaper articles." The conviction led to this ridiculous Herald Sun front page which portrayed Andrew Bolt as the victim of people he had purposely vilified.
Almost immediately upon winning the 2013 election, the Abbott government announced it was seeking to change the law Andrew Bolt was convicted under.
Practically the first order of business for new Governor General George Brandis was to announce the Abbott government were hoping to abolish the law that saw Andrew Bolt convicted. He named Andrew Bolt's 'freedom of speech' in Parliament as one of the key reasons why 18c had to be altered, and grabbed international headlines when he declared, "Everyone has the right to be a big, you know."
But that was when the Abbott government weren't losing popularity and support by the day. And that was before protests against the law changes erupted, and members of Australia's Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Aboriginal communities united to voice their opposition, and demand the Attorney General guarantee they will have some protection from empowered racists and bigots.
In short, the public responded:
Attorney-General George Brandis is preparing to water down a controversial plan to scrap sections of the Racial Discrimination Act that restrict racist insults and hate speech after an avalanche of submissions flagged concerns over the changes.
And two Liberal MPs who had supported scrapping section 18C of the act have spoken out, admitting the government needs to rethink its proposed changes.
Several MPs confirmed that, as one put it, ''there hasn't been a word whispered about it'' in recent weeks, while several speculated the law changes could be ''parked'' for months to come and as the government grapples with a fierce budget backlash and a big drop in popular support.
Fairfax Media has learnt that Senator Brandis is working on a further winding back of the proposed law changes, amid a ferocious grassroots community campaign that Labor MPs have quickly tapped into.
The move comes after the Attorney-General was forced by the cabinet in March to soften his original plans amid a welter of protest from Coalition MPs in marginal electorates, some of whom represent large ethnic communities.
Attorney General George Brandis was swamped by more than 5300 submissions to his draft paper on the 18c changes, nearly all of them opposed to making it easier for people like Andrew Bolt to attack and vilify and smear them because of their race.
There is also the fact that indigenous MP Ken Wyatt made it very clear indeed he would cross the floor of Parliament to vote with the Opposition and Greens against the changes to 'Bolt's Law', as it has come to be known.
The Abbott government have a lot more to worry about right now than taking care of Bolt, a friend of PM Abbott, and one of the government's most ardent supporters in the media.
Expect Bolt to fly into a poopsy rage at this news. And write another 20 blog posts and newspaper columns about himself and how mean everybody is being to him for not doing what he demands.
From The Orstrahyun archive:
Andrew Bolt: I Don't Know How Twitter Works, But It's Freedom Scares Me
Andrew Bolt's Reality Meltdown Over Fukushima
Andrew Bolt: My Readers Are A Pack Of Homophobic Arseholes
Will Bolt Boycott His Own Paper Over Global Warming Hypocrisy?