Nicola Roxon is an honours law graduate who topped her class at the University of Melbourne. She was a Labor union organiser and a Labor lawyer with Maurice Blackburn and Co before reaching the highest placed lawyer in the land, the Attorney-General of Australia under a Labor government at the young age of 45. She must be good, super smart, the best lawyer in Labor’s legal arsenal to get that job. But the business of having “brains”, as it was in my day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, has changed dramatically.
Before Ms Roxon was born there were more or less two levels of education, those who left school at 15, and those who went to high school and then on to university. The early leavers generally entered the trades and filled the needs of factories and retailers. University graduates filled the void of doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professions.
Then came a tidal wave of PhD’s flowing from the campuses of higher learning. Australia, the lucky country, produced a surplus of Einsteinian sophisticates that owned the Sydney Morning Herald “work wanted” ads. Doctors of everything either useless or unwanted washed dishes, mowed lawns or sat in coffee shops, smoked dope and cursed the system. The promise that a PhD guaranteed the high life was misleading.
This was rather curious to tradespeople who were already paying-off their first Holden Ute, or saving for a “block of ground.” They viewed Uni scholars as intellectually superior, even if they couldn’t fix a dripping tap. They were up there with politicians who spoke incomprehensible jabber, most of it believed. We also believed they knew what was going on and would look after the people. That was until school dropouts discovered that most of these geniuses were bereft of common sense. “Wouldn’t know how to tie his shoelaces” became the adopted term.
Years later and very much a cynic, I ask if the Attorney-General is just another of the Labor indoctrinated “shoelaces” brigade or a determined socialist with an agenda designed to control? Roxon proposes to expand the list of ways a person can be “offended” and drag the offender off to court. It’s not enough that Julia Gillard made draconian changes to our anti-discrimination laws. In awe and subservience to her boss, Roxon has gone further. If the owner of a business displays an election placard in support of a particular candidate, a staff member can claim discrimination because they want another candidate to win—they are “offended.”
It gets worse. Roxon plans to rip-up 800 years of common law undermining basic legal principles, especially the one presented by the English lawyer Willian Garrow in 1791 that entrenched, “innocent until proven guilty.” The defendant will now have to prove their innocence rather than the complainant prove guilt. Yep, this is surely hatched around a Labor sausage sizzle where they all have diarrhoea from food poisoning. Placing the onus of proof upon the plaintiff is the basis of any just legal system.
Within this madness are costs. The new laws, engineered by God only knows who, will establish a punitive system against the accused before guilt is found. Such claims will cost the complainant nothing, even if they lose. The defendant pays everything. Keep in mind that a suit can be launched by anyone who feels “offended” by a remark, even third hand, made by another. I might be offended when someone tells me “to have good day.” The weather, before or after first coffee, or mood will decide if I want to have a good day. “Offence” can be as fickle as that.
The proposed changes are too complex to deal with here, and I am but layman in such matters. However, I recall the consequences of the Racial Discrimination Act used against freedom of speech in the court’s determination to silence Andrew Bolt. We now suffer a mish-mash of intermingling laws that can be manipulated; construed and applied according to the whim of the adjudicator. The only certainty in this type of law is that the defendant is guilty and will pay.
With further consideration I declare the architects of this change as plain stupid and the enemy of democracy—evils of the socialist “shoelaces” brigade. The right to be “offended” will serve as a punitive weapon for all—a two-way sword indeed. For example: recently, Ms Gillard called her opponents, “misogynists,” and “nutjobs on the Internet.” She called Tony Abbott “jack the ripper.” David Marr's article in The Monthly says, “Abbott was an intimidating bully towards a female student at university.” Any, or all of that, depending where you stand, is “offensive.”
Roxon may yet distinguish herself as the socialist lawmaker who gridlocked Australia’s courts with frivolous calls of discrimination. Her handling, or rather interference in the Peter Slipper affair may speak volumes of her legal judgement? The biggest loser in all this may well be the leftist ABC, SBS and Fairfax publications that millions of Australians view as highly “offensive.” Now, who will I sue first?
And so, the question: is this an incompetent blunder or a dangerous agenda?
That question is, of course, is rhetorical as the two are not incompatible. Like Napoleon’s idea of invading Russia. Like Hitler’s same idea. Like …..
Thought for the week: Consider the import of the above very carefully.