janieblack wrote:And why do you care if I am "picky"? We both welcome the outcome as a Good Thing. I simply think the path there might have been different and that a different charge might have got at the complaint with Bolt's articles in a more precise way.
It was the correct tool to use to get the job done. Pursuing a defamation action is a sport for rich and/or pompous fools. Such as Tony Abbot when he sued Bob Ellis over his own hurt feelings in 1999 (the 'Abbott and Costello' defamation case). Media organisations are extremely well-equipped to defend charges of libel. They get lots of practice at it, it's a business expense, it's part of the preparation to publish.
constraining antisocial behaviour
Blech. I hate this notion, frankly. Mainly because anywhere the term "antisocial behaviour" is used, it is undefined. Not good enough in my [leftie libertarian] books. And I don't want society to start defining "antisocial behaviour" as offending people, as it does under racial discrimination law at present. I think that sets the bar too low, as I said, and is too much of an impingement on freedom of speech. That said, I think Bolt's real crime wasn't "antisocial behaviour". I think it was slander and that is most definitely something that people should have recourse over in the courts. Shame that the criteria for proving slander is a bar too high.
First of all, 'constraining antisocial behaviour' was my choice of words to describe the effect of the judgment. They appear nowhere in Justice Bromberg's decision, which it seems no one in this thread was motivated to read lest it upset their preset convictions. Many forms of antisocial behaviour are proscribed, and rightly so. There is no such thing as the unfettered right to speak publicly in any way one chooses.
And you should have more confidence in the reasoning abilities of Justices of the Federal Court. These are not backwoods lawyers elected to office by some Appalachian community of inbred illiterates. Your view that it sets a low bar is wrongly held, and it seems to me you've absorbed the special pleading of numerous journalists who have hammered that point without explaining it or offering a substantive alternative. Especially those in the employ of News Limited.
I've spent some time over the past week reading through the judgments in similar cases. I'm impressed. The RDA is a good law, and justices interpret it with care, logic, integrity and precision. Tony Abbot promised during a speech to the IPA last year to repeal the bit of it that offends Andrew Bolt, reverting to even vaguer common law principles regarding incitement. How will that create certainty, definition or a 'higher' bar?
The result in Eatock vs Bolt
was a good outcome from a sound process: Greg Craven described it as 'an exemplar of fine judicial and philosophical reasoning'. The plaintiffs took the appropriate action under 18C to challenge the writings of someone who disparaged them and people like them on racial grounds. They sought no damages, nor were they awarded any. The responding parties had their say under the 'fair comment' provisions of 18D (in addition to putting their positions out on various media platforms). In his summary of the judgment, Bromberg said:13. Part IIA has a broader field of operation. Infused by the values of human dignity and equality, the objectives of Part IIA extend to promoting racial tolerance and protecting against the dissemination of racial prejudice.
14. Part IIA is also concerned to protect the fundamental right of freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is an essential component of a tolerant and pluralistic democracy. Section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act exempts from being unlawful, offensive conduct based on race, where that conduct meets the requirements of section 18D and may therefore be regarded as a justifiable exercise of freedom of expression. In that way, Part IIA seeks to find a balance between freedom of expression and freedom from racial prejudice and intolerance based on race.
25. I have taken into account that the articles may have been read by some people susceptible to racial stereotyping and the formation of racially prejudicial views and that, as a result, racially prejudiced views have been reinforced, encouraged or emboldened. In the balancing process, I have also taken into account the silencing consequences upon freedom of expression involved in the Court making a finding of contravention.
There was no opportunism. No money changed hands. The original articles remain online. No one was imprisoned or lost employment because of the outcome. The respondents found no viable grounds for appeal. There was no diminution of the freedom of speech. But the distortion, collusion and political opportunism have continued ever since.