Before Kerri-Anne Kennerley’s recent truth speaking on morning television there was Sonia Kruger. In July 2016 following the Nice Islamic truck terror attack in France on Bastille Day which killed 86 people Sonia Kruger said on her Today Extra program that she supported a ban on Muslim immigration.
For this Kruger endured the wrath of leftist activists on social media, but she refused to back down, the next day on Today Extra she further elaborated on why she supported a Muslim immigration ban. To the Nine Network’s credit, she is still a host of Today Extra at present. Despite the left’s outrage, an Essential Media poll found later in the year that 49% of Australians supported a Muslim immigration ban.
But because we do not have free speech in Australia with federal and various state government anti-discrimination and anti-vilification laws Kruger was the subject of a racial vilification complaint filed by Australian Muslim man Sam Ekermawi to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The tribunal yesterday found that Kruger did not engage in racial vilification because Islam is not a race “the evidence does not support a finding that Muslims living in Australia are a ‘race’ by reason of a common ethnic or
Nevertheless, the tribunal still condemned Kruger’s comments calling them “vilifying remarks” claiming they “amounted to a stereotypical attack on all Muslims in Australia” and could “encourage hatred towards, or serious contempt for, Australian Muslims by ordinary members of the Australian population”.
It would appear that Kruger got off because of a technicality as the tribunal implied that if they could find her guilty of a religious vilification charge they would.
Although they believed her remarks were “calm and measured” and she “made it clear she did not think every Muslim in Australia or overseas was a fanatic” her comments were still likely to encourage or incite “feelings of hatred towards, or serious contempt for, Australian Muslims as a whole”.
This ruling still highlights the lack of free speech we have in Australia and how it prevents us having serious discussions about problems facing Australia society.
New South Wales is arguably the worst state as last year it passed new hate speech laws making it a criminal offence to “publicly threaten or incite violence” on the grounds of race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex or HIV/AIDS status with penalties of up to three years imprisonment or an $11,000 fine.
The state of Victoria has its Racial and Religious Tolerance Act which operates a blasphemy law. The Bendigo Three; Blair Cottrell, Neil Erikson and Christopher Shortis were found guilty of vilifying Muslims in September 2017 for carrying out a mock beheading outside the Bendigo council building, when protesting the construction of a local mosque in 2015.
This ruling is likely to mean there are going to be less Sonia Krugers and Kerr-Anne Kennerleys willing to put their reputations and media careers on the line to give their honest opinion and give a voice to ordinary Australians who are thinking the same thing.