QUT 18C Racism Case Dismissal Good News, But Law Should Still Go

Yesterday, at 5 pm, it was announced that a 18C racial vilification case against three Queensland University of Technology students was to be dismissed by a Federal Circuit Court judge. In what has been an indication that common sense and some degree of free speech is still present in Australia this is a positive outcome. Justice was truly shown to the students whose dignity was attacked by the progressive left simply for pointing out the blatant unfairness of not being allowed to enter computer labs reserved for Indigenous students. This series of events has emboldened an effort to hold an inquiry and review into Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act for its vilification of the Australian people’s right to free speech. Although the case was dismissed the case should never have been allowed to progress this far and this case still provides a strong justification about why 18C should be abolished.

The students were unlucky in the fact that the person bringing the action and who kicked them out of the Indigenous-only computer lab at Queensland University of Technology was the specialist of snowflakes. University academic and student Cindy Prior was so triggered by the perfectly reasonable objections the students had to not being allowed to use computers because of their race that she went on sick leave claiming she was so traumatised by the comments she could no longer be around white people and was ‘’fearing physical assault and a KKK presence in the university’’. She has claimed she was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder because years of alleged racial discrimination and vilification. In court affidavit written by psychologist Simon Show she stated that Prior does not attribute personal responsibility to events in her life and “As a result of this personality style, she is likely to blame and ­begrudge others when she perceives she has been mistreated’’.

In any sane society a person with this level of personal sensitivity would simply be someone for the medical profession to deal with. However she is a perfect person for the human rights grievance industry to rely on as a victim of a supposed racist society for them to champion, which is why this case got to the Federal Circuit Court. Complaints such as this under 18C lodged with the Human Rights Commission gives its President Gillian Triggs and Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane (who claims you are a racist if you can’t pronounce his long name) enough work for them to justify their $300,000+ per year pay package. Triggs had complete disregard for the students’ right to due process in the case as she did not inform them of the complaint’s existence for 14 months and they were only told days before the complaint was due to go to conciliation at the Commission. It is easy to conclude that Triggs held the rights of the students in complete disregard and probably was on Prior’s side the whole time despite the fact they are meant to be impartial.

The consequences for the three students after being through this process are tragic. They have legal bills in excess of $200,000 and had their reputations ruined before their careers had even began. Proponents of 18C will claim that because the case was dismissed then it shows that 18C still allows for free speech on reasonable grounds. But the complaint process is a punishment in itself as these students will find it difficult to go back to living the normal lives they had before this saga began for their reputations will be forever tarnished. Laws such as 18C are often used by the easily offended, such as Prior, to target speech that most ordinary people would consider fair comment. Proponents of 18C have also chosen not to defend Prior in the media, as it would appear even they realize the absurdity of the case but dare not say there is anything wrong with laws against free speech.

After the decision yesterday Tony Morris QC, one of the lawyers for the students, was scathing about Triggs and the whole process. “I’m not going to call for her to resign but if the woman had any decency whatsoever, her resignation would be on the attorney-general’s desk on Monday’’. We also hope that students are able to recoup their legal bill from Miss Prior who has dragged their names through the mud. She is still suing QUT for their handling of her complaint against the students, you would think that her behaviour would disqualify her from holding any position with an education institution. But the way our universities are heading with Universities now offering safe spaces for black students along with segregated housing it would appear she would be most welcome at various other universities.

18C allowing anyone who has been offended or insulted by something someone has said to drag them before the courts is a shameful law in a free society. We still have the 18C case against cartoonist Bill Leak to go through the exact same legal process so the damage this law is doing is far from over. An inquiry is not enough, only a full repeal of this law will be satisfactory so we can once again have free speech in our society.