Tim Blair


New Criterion



Wednesday, February 12, 2003
BILL JONAS doesn’t know what he thinks – and neither does Uncle – but he knows there should be legislation to control it.

If Judaism is also an ethnicity and covered by the laws against racial discrimination, should a universal religion like Islam also be covered by those laws and should Islamophobia – meaning the view that Islamism is not compatible with liberal democratic values – also be legislated against, and does that mean that those preaching intolerance of other religions and none, like a couple of people close to the Lakemba mosque that Uncle could mention, also get protection of the law from any criticism from those who hold such views about them, or should we give it all up as a bad joke?

You think I’m exaggerating? Go here (after the Christians have had their say).

Stephen Crittenden: I wonder if we’re also perhaps inclined in Australia to let Muslims off the hook sometimes. You don’t have to look very hard to be astonished by the number of Muslim websites which really are hate sites, particularly in relation to Jews. Do we have a role, perhaps, in an exercise like this, to draw the attention of the Muslim community to things like that?

Bill Jonas: Yes, we do – and we have. We’ve also got another exercise going on at the moment, which is to do with race hate on the internet. And that’s a whole big complex issue, which is really bigger than Australia, because it is the internet, and it is truly international. But we are working with communities, and we are talking with people like the Australian Broadcasting Authority – we’re actually currently talking with the CSIRO, about filtering out, getting mechanisms for filtering out race hate on the internet. I think that’s a much bigger one than the straight-out religious discrimination or religious vilification that we’re talking about here”

I’ll say it is Bill.

You’re talking about automated censorship. And I’m paying you to do it.

With bin Laden we at least know who to aim at.

One thing is clear. This Jonas fellow should be let nowhere near the legislative arm of government.

In fact, Uncle would feel a whole lot more comfortable about the future of liberty in this society if we just wound HREOC up, and put the funds to some useful purpose.