PM takes swipe at David Seymour, denies Cabinet ‘have made decisions’
At yesterday’s Post Cabinet media briefing (skip to 31minutes in the video), the Prime Minister took a swipe at ACT leader David Seymour for ‘starting a campaign’ against her Government’s hate speech laws. She told media that Cabinet has made ‘no final decisions’ on hate speech.
That’s weird. Because the Cabinet Paper released by Justice Minister Chris Faafoi suggests otherwise! The Cabinet minutes record that Cabinet has agreed in principle to criminalise the offence and with provision to up to three years imprisonment for threatening, abusive or insulting communications.
If they’re going to change the law so people can be sent to jail for political opinion, the least the PM could do would be remember what she’s agreed to!
Free Speech tour
Speaking of David Seymour – he’s currently on a nationwide ‘free speech tour’. Details of the events are here.
What speech does the PM actually want to ban?
The key question in this debate is to answer what ‘hate speech’ is. After all, if Parliament is going to criminalise it, let’s be very clear precisely what is criminal, and what isn’t. So far, the best we have is the vague (and alarming) Cabinet paper definitions.
On Sunday’s TVNZ’s Q+A panel, political commentator Ben Thomas asked the government to front up:
“I think if you’re going to jump in to creating a criminal offence with a three years imprisonable penalty you actually can’t afford not to be clear in your Cabinet paper, particularly if its language you are criminalising. I would like to see (but maybe it’s a vain hope) examples from the government [of speech that would be criminal]. I don’t think it’s good enough to say we don’t want hateful speech and we don’t really know what it is but we’ll leave it to the courts. I don’t think a government can cop out like that.”
Hear hear! But when asked by our Prime Minister during last year’s election campaign for examples of hate speech, Ms Ardern said: “When you see it, you know it”.
Call for volunteers
Over the coming few weeks, we’re planning the next steps of our campaign – including a major change to how we’re going to fight for free speech for those who the media or social media mob go after. Watch this space.
In the meantime, if you’d like to become more involved, please hit reply to this email. We are in particular need of lawyers, employment advocates, and academics willing to lend their expertise.
‘Don’t call each other lads’: Soldiers are told to be more inclusive and avoid using words such as ‘mankind’ and ‘sportmanship’ over fears they could cause offence 🤪 🪖
Finally this week, a story that caught our eye from the other side of the Anglosphere: the British Armed Forces have banned the use of certain gendered terms, including “lads”, “mankind” and “sportsmanship” as part of an attempt to rebrand as a “gender neutral” armed service. According to the Daily Mail, the terms are incompatible with the British military’s diversity and inclusion standards. Our enemies are quaking in their boots…
The move comes from the Ministry of Defence’s joint equality, diversity and inclusion unit, or Jedi. One soldier commented: “I think the bosses are trying to solve a problem which frankly doesn’t exist. There is no engrained or subconscious bias in the use of words like ‘lads’… This is nonsense.”
Thank you for your support.
Dr David Cumin
Free Speech Coalition