News Limited columnist and The Bolt Report host, Andrew Bolt says it’s a terrible day for free speech after a court ruled that he breached the Racial Discrimination Act.
Federal Court Justice Mordy Bromberg said he was satisfied that fair-skinned Aboriginal people were reasonably likely to have been “offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed” in newspaper articles written by Mr Bolt.
In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, he found the articles, published by The Herald and Weekly Times, contravened the Racial Discrimination Act.
Outside court, Mr Bolt said he needed to read and consider the judgment fully before making comment, but said: “This is a terrible day for free speech in this country”.
“It is particularly a restriction on the freedom of all Australians to discuss multiculturalism and how people identify themselves,” he told reporters.
“I argued then and I argue now that we should not insist on differences between us but focus instead on what unites us as human beings.”
The articles, which were published in 2009, were headlined “It’s so hip to be black” and “White fellas in the black”.
In his judgment, Justice Bromberg said the imputations conveyed by the articles were plainly calculated to convey a message about the race, ethnicity or colour of fair-skinned Aboriginal people, including whether those people were sufficiently of Aboriginal race, colour or ethnicity to be identified as Aboriginal.
“I am satisfied that Mr Bolt both understood and intended that imputations of that kind were conveyed by the newspaper articles he wrote,” Justice Bromberg said.
He found that Mr Bolt and The Herald and Weekly Times had “engaged in conduct which contravened section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act”.
The parties were asked by Justice Bromberg to meet and discuss what orders the court should make.
Activist Pat Eatock, who was the lead plaintiff in the case, said she wasn’t holding out hope of an apology from Mr Bolt.
“I will never get an apology from Mr Bolt. He made that clear giving his evidence earlier in the year,” she said outside court.
“But we will, I hope, get some sort of acknowledgment through the press that what he wrote was just unacceptable, totally unacceptable.
“He set out to offend from the word go and in fact he acknowledged that in his evidence.”
The nine Aborigines taking legal action against Mr Bolt were former ATSIC member Geoff Clark, artist Bindi Cole, academic Larissa Behrendt, author Anita Heiss, health worker Leeanne Enoch, native title expert Graham Atkinson, academic Wayne Atkinson, lawyer Mark McMillan and Ms Eatock.
Source Yahoo 7