A Slice of Life

commentary on issues in politics, culture, environment and technology

06 Oct 11 Andrew Bolt: more offensive than sex with a horse?

andrew boltRecently, the well known columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt was found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act.  Justice Mordy Bromberg found Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times contravened the Racial Discrimination Act by publishing two articles on racial identity which contained “errors in fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language”, reported the Herald Sun.

Ron Merkel, QC, for the complainants, said there was no attempt by  members of the group to shut down freedom of speech or debate about racial identity issues.  Mr Merkel said Bolt was free to express his views on the subject but should not have chosen to attack the nine individuals he named in his columns and blog.

Many of us, including myself, may not agree with Andrew Bolt’s views on this issue and many others.  Whatever happened to the famous saying, sometimes incorrectly attributed to Voltaire which many in the legal profession are fond of quoting: ” I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. ”

Yes, there are a number of errors in Bolt’ articles on this topic.  Is Bolt being prosecuted for publishing errors?  It is true that had the facts been presented accurately Bolt’s arguments would not hold much water.  For example, he questioned indigenous lawyer Larissa Behrendt‘s Aboriginality, incorrectly stating that her father was German and that she is somehow claiming benefits that should be the right of indigenous people of ‘purer blood’. In the sometimes heated court exchanges, Bolt took exception to the prosecution’s comparison of the debate and Bolt’s views to Nazi race laws, the Holocaust and eugenics.  Bolt argued those who chose to identify with only one part of their background over another were contributing to racism and came at the cost of less focus on the important issues of education, housing, health and poverty.

It is interesting to note that earlier in the year, Larissa Berendt attracted criticism after using her Twitter account to describe watching bestiality on television as “less offensive than Bess Price“, an Aboriginal woman in favour of the radical Northern Territory intervention. “I watched a show where a guy had sex with a horse and I’m sure it was less offensive than Bess Price.” (more…)

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24 Feb 10 This Could Be Your New Home (gasp!)

for_leaseAre real estate agents aware of a certain level of irony when they erect signs like this one?  As the rental crisis continues, many prospective leasees have been forced to lower their expectations somewhat.  I for one, would not be as happy as the two beaming real estate agents on the sign.  The prospect of moving into a dinghy, over priced and under maintained flat in a run down area is less than smile inducing.  Perhaps these two are thinking more of their commissions than the living conditions of the poor souls that end up in this particular red brick box.

Landlords might complain that their lot is not a happy one; late payers, tenants who trash properties, keep vermin infested pets and make constant maintenance demands.  However trying the relationship might be, there is never any doubt about which party holds the upper hand.  Both landlords and real estate agents might claim to care about tenants, but neither could claim to be in the business because of some pressing need to help those less fortunate.  Money will always take precedence over the needs of people, no matter how dire the conditions might be.  Compassion is a rare commodity in the real estate game; ask any tenant who has experienced difficulty in making the rent.  Landlords and real estate agents tend to have about as much compassion and humanity as the average bank manager.

lj_hookedAds that feature ever so cute children acquire even more pathos when associated with the lower end of the real estate market.  Sub standard living conditions might be one thing for adults, but children doomed to a drab and dinghy existence in the endless apartment blocks of the suburban sprawl is another matter.  The cruel irony of ads featuring smiling, happy kids complete with cuddly toys is not lost on those struggling to stay afloat on the fringes of society.  The disparity between their beaming faces and grim reality is all too stark.

At least they have some kind of roof over their heads.  Many are of course, much less fortunate.


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