In another victory for freedom of expression, gangs in Queensland went at each other last week while police maintained a cautious watching brief. Following scenes in which dozens of rioters expressed themselves with machetes, fence palings, metal bars and other weapons, Logan police superintendent Noel Powers said that arrests were a “last resort” option: “It was an extremely volatile situation last night and any enforcement action would have escalated that.”
Eventually just two arrests were made, despite extensive media video identifying the participants. One family at the centre of the feud was punished by being relocated to government housing on the Gold Coast. Despite all the violence, the strongest condemnation was for local Liberal National MP Andrew Laming, who Tweeted: “Mobs tearing up Logan. Did any of them do a day’s work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?” That comment was disgusting and appalling, said Labor’s Craig Emerson.
Laming would have faced less criticism from the left if he’d taken up a fence paling himself and joined the fight.
Well, not if he'd been on the wrong side. In a 2005 article called Diversity vs. Freedom (contd.): Australians Fight On The Beaches, we wrote about the horror that Australian media and government showed when young whites in Cronulla fought back against Lebanese violence.
Blair's piece is called Rotten, Bloody, Poofter, Commo, Mongrel Bastards [Aus. Daily Telegraph, January 21, 2013], which demands some explanation of its own.
"Rotten, bloody, poofter, commo, mongrel bastard!" is something a freeborn Austraiian shouted at a football referee in 1973. "Commo" turns out to mean "Commie" and poofter means gay. That shout would, if new Australian hate speech laws pass, be criminalized.
According to Blair
“Abuse on the sporting ground or abuse by a spectator would constitute, in an appropriate circumstance, harassment,” Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission president Gillian Triggs warned over the weekend. “It may be amateur, but it’s still in the public arena.”
Right! It'll definitely be illegal to call the referee a poofter. (It's probably already illegal to call him a mongrel.) But if the crowd invades the field with "machetes, fence palings, metal bars and other weapons" police will stand by and observe.