After a disastrous interview and now day 5 of total confusion, the u-turns are beginning…
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is not ruling out including political opinion in hate speech law changes, but promises the bar for prosecution would “remain high”.
…that’s right, the PM was wrong when she claimed Political opinion wouldn’t be part of the hate speech fiasco.
The danger of this stupid law is that it can be so open to interpretation, currently Labour’s hate speech test is whatever an emotional micro aggression policing mummy blogger on The Spinoff would feel aggrieved by.
Look, Comrades, you are not helping your cause by pretending the hate speech law is harmless, penalties are increasing from $7k fines & 3 months imprisonment to $50k fines & 3 years imprisonment- that’s a fucking enormous jump in penalty for crime the Police will define!
What does the legal brain I most admire most, the ever brilliant Graeme Edgeler have to say?
I’m still not convinced, and I hope to cover this in more details in future posts, but a big reason to oppose a change like this is the same reason to oppose any expansion of the criminal law. Imprisoning people is really harmful. Convicting people is really harmful. Prosecuting them is harmful. Being arrested, and even just being visited by police is harmful. If you are a person sympathetic toward the prison abolition movement, there are major red flags here. There are also all of the standard concerns about the focus of police discretion. Will those charged under this law be disproportionately brown, or poor, like with most other laws?
The most obvious concern is that the Government has not been clear about what it thinks the law will actually ban, and worryingly the Minister of Justice doesn’t seem to think he has a role in deciding what types of things this law would make illegal, nor more importantly, what types of things it would not make illegal.
In particular, the Government doesn’t appear to understand, and has never seemed to articulate what I described above – that its proposal as currently articulated (and as explained by the Royal Commission) decriminalises a bunch of currently criminal speech. It knows it is extending protections to cover other grounds of discrimination, but hasn’t grasped its proposal would move regulation of some sorts of hate speech that are currently prosecutable, to civil proceedings. And if the Government doesn’t realise this, and if the Government will not answer hypotheticals like those Tova O’Brien put to the Minister of Justice, people are right to be concerned.
Watching so many of my comrades on the Left pat themselves on the back for trying to pre-censor a movie none of them had seen & militantly demand the Police be given the power to define hate speech makes me feel like I’m at a Klan rally wearing a rainbow.
Comrades – we are the Left, we should be championing free speech, not repressing it! We can’t allow brittle millennial trigger culture to hand the State powers that history tells us will be used against us!
COME ON PEOPLE!
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