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The Free Speech Coalition goes to court

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 am, September 5th, 2019 - 70 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, human rights, phil goff, Social issues, supercity, uncategorized - Tags: , , ,

This week in the Auckland High Court the Free Speech Coalition has been seeking a review of Auckland Council’s decision to not allow a couple of click for profit shock jock fascists use of a Council facility.

Matthew Thunissen at Radio New Zealand has the details:

For the past two days room eight in Auckland’s High Court has been home to some of the country’s notable right-wing figures, who are bent on affirming the speaking rights of two controversial Canadians.

It seems all the best people were there.

The man behind the Orewa speech, Don Brash, made an appearance yesterday, and Jordan Williams from the Taxpayers’ Union has been listening intently in the public gallery, a few seats down from a man in a MAGA (Make Ardern Go Away) hat.

Old Conservative Party leader Colin Craig also poked his head around the door at one point, although he was in the building for another reason – to face defamation action brought by a former party colleague.

On the court documents, University of Auckland anaesthesiology lecturer David Cumin is listed as one applicant, would-be Dunedin Mayor, climate change denier, Donald Trump supporter and rare books dealer Malcolm Moncrief-Spittle the other.

What a collection of human right warriors. Don Brash who once sought a super injunction trying to prevent the publication of a book about him and who has a major problem with free speech if it is in Te Reo, and Jordan Williams who sued Colin Craig for saying not nice things about him.

The Free Speech coalition is being represened by Queen’s Counsel Jack Hodder who is very good and not cheap.  Jordan Williams says that the exercise has cost about $200,000 so far.

One part of the article that made my jaw drop was Williams claiming that he did not know what the views of Southern and Molyneux were.

Speaking outside of court, Mr Williams told RNZ he knew nothing of the views of Ms Southern and Mr Molyneux, and was only taking this action to overturn what was a dangerous precedent.

So he has no idea what they are going to say yet is happy to spend large amounts of money to allow them to say it? You would think that it would be important to find out what they are actually going to say just to make sure that their speech deserves to be protected.

Let’s take this to the logical extreme.  Bear with me, lets say that a white supremacist writes a manifesto setting out why Muslims are evil and he then goes out and kills 51 of them.  Do you think in a civilised society we should allow his views to be publicly available, especially because there is a risk he may inspire others to do something similar?

Should all speech be protected? Somehow I don’t think so.

I have in the past analysed Southern’s thoughts and views.

Last year I said this:

She appears to have a certain way of conducting her business as a self confessed journalist and vlogger.  She goes places, says really controversial stuff, hopes to pick a fight, claims to be a victim and then leaves.

Her views are pretty extreme.  She once said that Adolf Hitler “was just an SJW [social justice warrior] who happened to get freaky amounts of power”.

For instance here she is picking a fight at an anti facist protest in London.  It was all filmed in detail.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEyBaBEQLM4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent width=480]

The overwhelming impression that I received after watching it was that she was only after clicks.

And here she is insulting a group of women protesting against rape culture. Her lack of understanding and sensitivity is mind boggling.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qv-swaYWL0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent width=480]

Such was her commitment to personal freedoms she took part in a seaborne campaign designed to stop refugees who were stranded at sea from being rescued.  She was happy for them to drown.

Molyneux’s views are very similar.  He is that stupid he believes that white people are innately more intelligent than other people.

He appears to have a major problem with women:

And his climate change views are Alex Jones quality.

The best description of this ongoing saga belongs to Dovil on twitter:

It seems almost inevitable that the case will head to the Court of Appeal. 

70 comments on “The Free Speech Coalition goes to court ”

  1. Bill 1

    "Do you think in a civilised society we should allow his views to be publicly available…"

    Yes. Because the alternative is that 'grey' publicity works wonders for shite like that. Case in point. The Guardian (between then and now) ran a piece on the supposed rise of the far right and made a big deal out of how popular 'The Great Replacement" theory was.

    To be clear – they didn't make a big deal out of <i>the discredited</i> Great Replacement Theory, and they didn't analyse or criticise any aspects of the theory. I guess they were being "neutral"?

    So, nothing even about the Iberian Peninsula having been Islamic for some 700 years or so – that being the most obvious line to debunk the christian Europe guff with. Nothing about how the Southerns of the world conflate total immigration numbers with number of Muslim immigrants to inflate their so-called 'threat'. Nothing about how their projection of future population mix is laughable.

    In other words, a liberal outlet (the Guardian) gave a free pass and rather wonderful promotion of the very thing it apparently and hand wringingly deplores. Moral indignation on its own is merely an invitation to many people to 'check it out' in these times. That wouldn't be the case, and mere moralising would suffice if people were on board with the great liberal project. But we're not.

    So by 'burying' various theories and tracts and making conversation or debate on their merits well nigh impossible (silencing the easy take down), those theories and tracts find ever greater numbers of adherents.

  2. michelle 2

    I wonder if the don (brash) told the two racist Canadians we are one people here, bet he didn't and if not why didn't he

    • New view 2.1

      I’m picking the Don would have said we are one people because he wanted one law and one parliament to cover everybody. You know, we don’t need Māori seats etc. not quite sure where you’re coming from. You call it racism he called it we’re all the same.

  3. marty mars 3

    they are pathetic and funny – good to see them all pack together – I find this crew to be very dull and dim – parroting their lines with glazed eyes, thin lips moving quickly and minimally and earnestly – hypocrites and pretty well 'a preacher awaiting a raid' sincerity imo

  4. You would think that it would be important to find out what they are actually going to say just to make sure that their speech deserves to be protected.

    "Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

    Freedom of expression that's based on whether someone thinks you deserve it or not is no better than basing your eligibility for social welfare benefits or the right to vote on whether someone thinks you deserve it or not. Please stop making me side with Jordan Williams, it feels very unpleasant.

    • McFlock 4.1

      I dunno.

      On a personal note, I'd like to know how close to Nazi or white supremacist rhetoric the folks are before I defend them. Damned if I'll defend someone who wants to make it safe for others to kill me.

      On the wider philosophical point, rights conflict. Where someone's right to free speech endangers someone else's right to life, the line needs to be drawn. So one definitely needs to know what one is defending.

      • Chris T 4.1.1

        "Where someone's right to free speech endangers someone else's right to life, the line needs to be drawn."

        This is already a crime

      • Psycho Milt 4.1.2

        Good luck trying to make the case that Regional Facilities Auckland was right to refuse a venue to these two because them giving a speech would endanger someone's right to life. This was entirely down to them holding obnoxious opinions – in fact, Micky Savage's post effectively makes the same argument.

        • McFlock 4.1.2.1

          I think RFA are going on the safety line of how their message would be received, which is an interesting approach and will lead to some interesting case law, either way.

          But an interesting exercise in a hypothetical retrospective panopticon would be to see whether the number of mass shooters who have liked the two speakers videos or attended their talks was disproportionately high.

      • Formerly Ross 4.1.3

        Where someone's right to free speech endangers someone else's right to life, the line needs to be drawn

        Yeah it must be difficult trying to sleep at night when Don Brash might break in and assault you…with information about GDP, inflation and the balance of payments deficit. He is one scary mother!

        • McFlock 4.1.3.1

          I thought the court case was about people who spread the idea that a "white race" was in danger of "replacement". You know, like that flaming torch march event where a nazi-adjacent in a car murdered a woman.

  5. Paul Campbell 5

    Dunedin readers should note that Malcolm Moncrief-Spittle is running in the upcoming local body election please rank him at the end or not at all

  6. JohnP 6

    Gotta admit, this cracked me up, in response to people calling the FSC right-wing;

    Mr Williams pointed out that some members of the Free Speech Coalition were in fact left-leaning, for example, the political commentator Chris Trotter.

    I've not seen a clearer example of either;

    • An exception proving the rule
    • Trotter not being that left-wing any more
    • Chris T 6.1

      "

      • Trotter not being that left-wing any more"

      lol

      Yeah ok

      I disagree with something he said

      He must have turned right

  7. Matthew 7

    Just the misuse of language should be enough to have these inhumans banned from any method of spreading their disease. A racist is a racist, and free speech should not be used to defend that. And there is no such this as anti white racism. We have enough stupid people in this country already (Nazional Party voters), we don't need visiting anti intellectuals to bring down the tone further.

    • tc 7.1

      Totally, as the media's doing such a great job dumbing it down now for NZ and the world in general currently.

    • SHG 7.2

      Just the misuse of language should be enough to have these inhumans banned

      A racist is a racist, and free speech should not be used to defend that

      And there is no such this as anti white racism

      We have enough stupid people in this country already (Nazional Party voters)

      Just the misuse of language should be enough to have these inhumans banned

  8. We don't need RWNJ's like these here in NZ they are purely White Fascist Trash IMHO ?

  9. SHG 9

    Do you think in a civilised society we should allow his views to be publicly available

    Yes

  10. A 10

    Like my Nan always said, "Some people have too much money".

  11. Adam Ash 11

    "Do you think in a civilised society we should allow [all] views to be publicly available..?" A resounding "Yes!" to that. Consider the alternative… well, you don't have to consider for long or look very far because New Zealand is already there.

    The right to speak one's mind is a key freedom of any healthy society.

    Laws given by a faulty society to protect the sensitive ears of some by giving them a 'right' to be 'not offended' by others for any reason, always result in the taking away from others (indeed, from everybody) of the most basic fundamental rights to freedom of expression.

    At the risk of tarring many with my brush, I generally find that when someone seeks legal protection from what I have to say, it is because they have run out of good fact-based arguments to counter my point of view. At that moment they are faced with either changing their way of thinking to align with mine, or simply throwing their toys out of the cot, and screaming 'I am offended – make a law to protect me!!!".

    And of course, there are plenty of gutless politicians who see an advantage in taking rights away from all of us, if in doing so they gain the votes of the foolish minority.

    Perhaps it is our education system that is at fault – have we lost the ability to think clearly and to argue a point to its conclusion without wetting our beds? Are we so fixated on adopting and holding a 'position' that we are incapable of changing our minds when confronted with a better idea or a new perspective? A very sad state to be in.

    But again, yes, we should allow all views to be available. In every other direction lies oppression, cronyism and disaster.

    • dcnbwz 11.1

      Funnily enough oppression, cronyism and disaster seem to be key characteristics of the right all around the world.

      We're not talking about "right not to be offended" here. We're talking about hatred, misogyny, racism and bigotry not being given a city council platform to be heard. There was nothing stopping them from speaking elsewhere. Except no one would have them, or they just wanted the publicity anyway.

      The right and the speakers that are so vociferously defended have a strategy of vile outbursts, then claiming victimhood when they are called out on it.

      • Formerly Ross 11.1.1

        dcnbwz,

        You've clearly never heard of Pol Pot who was situated firmly on the Left. Like Mickey, he wasn't a big fan of free speech. 🙂

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol_Pot

        • McFlock 11.1.1.1

          Bit of a stretch to interpret "key characteristics of the right all around the world" as meaning "none on the left have ever done it".

          I think a major difference is that many other governments on the left thought Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, or whomever were dicks, even at the time. Yet many right wing governments around the world would actively support, finance, or train murderous right regimes around the world.

  12. woodart 12

    most of these clowns in this "coalition" only have one thing in common and thats the need for a purpose, so they can jump up and down, and say " look at me!"I notice they were strangely quiet during the israel folau drama. perhaps religion is the third rail . white supremacy still acceptable bedfellows for these fine upright public Kiwis. I sincerly hope no tv network is suckered into giving any of these people any airtime next election night, but unfortunatley think it likely. a pox on there houses

    • SHG 12.1

      they were strangely quiet during the israel folau drama

      Why wouldn’t they be? It was an employment dispute in another country.

    • Formerly Ross 12.2

      I notice they were strangely quiet during the israel folau drama.

      You support Israel Folau? Good for you!! Free speech has proven to be vitally important over many, many years, especially for minorities. Without free speech, we possibly wouldn't have gay marriage, or women in Parliament.

      • Dukeofurl 12.2.1

        That might be so. But Hone Harawira found out he was no longer welcome to speak at Auckland University Law School back around 2011 when the Young Nats didnt like someone "having opinions while brown"

        Farrar said at the time , its all about the 'Right To protest'

  13. mpledger 13

    Free speech isn't really the issue here. It's whether the council has the right to refuse people access to their facilities if they don't like what they would say.

    I believe that they have an obligation to treat all their ratepayers fairly and that would mean not allowing facilities to be used by people who would denigrate any particular group.

    I also believe that the council should have no obligation to give any access to non-NZ residents no matter what their their viewpoint and have no obligation to give a reason why.

  14. McFlock 14

    I'd also argue that no organisation is obliged to host an event that will incur additional costs to mitigate safety issues which are easily avoidable by not holding the event.

    • Adam Ash 14.1

      "… issues which are easily avoidable by not holding the event."

      So, provided someone can come up with the threat of a big enough mob then you will refrain from speaking truth to power, even if current laws allow you to speak so?

      That is just Mob Rule – plain and simple.

      I assume y'all have listened to the banned speech that he was prevented from giving here. It contains some food for thought, fed to us from a different perspective. Worth a listen, tho not earth-shattering. Certainly not worth a riot.

      Molyneux NZ Speech

      • McFlock 14.1.1

        My sacrifices are my sacrifices. If I want to provoke a riot, I shouldn't be able to force you to provide the venue for me to do so. Even in a public building.

        As for his material – whatever. If he found a venue to give a speech to his sad band of followers, he wasn't harmed by being dropped by the publicly owned venue. If your linked video is some "I totes was only going to say this, honest", then we don't know if the copy was edited or if he saves the best bits for audience interaction on these little money-spinners.

        The info I needed was what he'd said before he came here – I read up enough at the time to see what "perspective" he was shilling.

        • Adam Ash 14.1.1.1

          McFlock. Thanks for your response.
          1. '…provoke a riot..' The riot would be generated by those who do not want to hear, not by those who speak. In essence, such a riot would consist of people who have decided that they are incapable of considering an alternative perspective on their present way of thinking. Like a rabble of King Canutes, all in denial. A very sad mob indeed. God forbid that their delicate souls should be troubled, that perhaps what they imagine is so, is not so.

          2. I note that you have not dared to expose yourself to what Molyneux actually said – is that a risk you are afraid to take? Sad, again. You may find his perspectives refreshing, and worth considering. Go for it man! Take the risk!! Click the link! Listen!! Then – Think!

          Molyneux NZ Speech

          • McFlock 14.1.1.1.1

            1: people don't need to expose themselves to racism each and every time to know it's wrong. The dude has form, before and after. If people riot about it, then they're very naughty. But their hazardous behaviour is predictable, and needs to be minimised or eliminated. Safest way to do that is not hold the event at a facility where one has OSH responsibilities.

            2: That's the speech he said he would have given. If it portrays him as having some sort of road-to-damascus reversal about promoting white supremacist theories (before going back to his roots and spreading bullshit about the Notre Dame fire), I don't believe him. If not, see point 1 again.

      • Shadrach 14.1.2

        Hi Adam

        I am currently holidaying in Eastern Europe, this week in Prague. In the past century there have been many times when the people of the Czech nation have risen up in a way that, according to McFlock, could have 'provoked a riot'. Time after time their freedoms were ruthlessly denied, by both Nazi's from the West, and the Communists from the East. McFlock struggles with the notion that ideas he finds uncomfortable should be able to be articulated. That's why he wouldn't answer the key point in your post above about 'mob rule' at https://thestandard.org.nz/the-free-speech-coalition-goes-to-court/#comment-1652512. And it's why he is perfectly willing for weak minded SJW's to determine what ideas the rest of us should hear.

        • Formerly Ross 14.1.2.1

          Yep McFlock is confusing free speech with speech that he agrees with. And nowhere does he discuss resilience. Those who fought the Nazis were resilient. Nowadays the thought of Don Brash speaking publicly can bring out a cold sweat in some. Oh how times have changed. 🙂

          Free speech is a minority's best friend.

          • dcnbwz 14.1.2.1.1

            I've listened a number of times to Don Brash. He comes from a privileged position, is a racist and a bigot, and is actually quite boring.

            • Formerly Ross 14.1.2.1.1.1

              If you don't like him, don't listen to him. But others may wish to listen to him.

          • McFlock 14.1.2.1.2

            Free speech is a minority's best friend.

            Not if it's the fascist-adjacent doing the talking.

            And your characterisation of my position is delusional. That fact you're agreeing with shadders should be enough to tell you that.

            • Pat 14.1.2.1.2.1

              free speech has no adjacents…consider society today if free speech had been 'selected' on the basis of 'acceptability'

              • McFlock

                Who's saying "acceptability"?

                My position is simply that the current restrictions against speech that inspires, incites, or otherwise causes physical harm to innocent people are too narrowly focused on the incitement being completely explicit. Which is like restricting MSSAs but not the easily-attached bits that turn a modern semi-automatic into an MSSA.

                • Pat

                  And im simply saying that is a weak argument for closing down dissent as ultimately the "establishment' will determine what is defined as dissent

                  • McFlock

                    Bugger "dissent". I want to shut down the fucks who make a buck off helping sad little men blame everyone else for their inadequacies, knowing some of those sad little men will end up going berserk with assault rifles against innocent defenceless people if they keep going down that sad little path.

                    Reframe it as "acceptable" or "dissent" or "perspectives" all you want. I'm talking about the body count.

                    • Pat

                      i recall a'body count' in the abortion dispute in the US, the seventies or eighties I think…and am pretty sure there was a body count in the homosexual law reform dispute as well….if it were easy it wouldnt be a dispute….and then theres civil rights

                    • McFlock

                      Hmmm.

                      Was the body count mostly caused by those people looking for freedom, or was it inflicted upon them?

                      Like, did Harvey Milk shoot up a church, or what?

                    • Pat

                      does it matter which side was responsible?

                    • McFlock

                      It does if your concern for the rights of non-genocidal minorities is genuine.

                      If I understand your train of thought, banning implicit justifications for violence (not just "dissent") might endanger minorities because the established powers would call requests for rights for those minorities "dissent" (or implicit justification for violence, if you want to get closer to what I'm actually talking about).

                      However, if non-genocidal minorities are actually victims of that language rather than perpetrators, if its the gay people or the doctors who are murdered rather than straight people or the conservative antiabortionists being murdered, then there is no implicit justification for violence by those activist groups.

                      The implicit justifications of violence, the regurgitation of lies to marginalise, belittle and make suspect groups of people, is the domain of the powerful. They are the ones who feel only a fraction of the force of the law.

                    • Pat

                      what a verbose load of bollocks….death from dispute occurs on all sides (and it matters to those directly impacted which I suggest I can safely assume is not yourself) but for the purpose of the importance of dissent matters not

                      https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/abortviolence/stories/gunn.htm?noredirect=on

                      https://time.com/5638438/global-witness-environmental-activists-murdered/

                      you may continue to cast around to miss the point but it wont change reality

                    • McFlock

                      Oh, I'm sure there are good people on both sides, too /sarc

                    • Pat

                      Im sure there are…but obviously not in your black and white world. Theres a wide spectrum of opinions in between your extremes…its called the real world.

                    • McFlock

                      In the real world there are fuckwits who know how to put the thought of violence into other people's heads without explicitly saying "kill those people".

                      In the real world, extremism has been monetised and capitalism doesn't care if a few sad little men go on killing sprees, as long as the provokers (sounds better in french, eh – more classy, less shitty) get clicks snd patrons and move their merch.

                      Tut tut all you want, but current laws against incitement don't cut it any more.

                    • Pat

                      "In the real world there are fuckwits who know how to put the thought of violence into other people's heads without explicitly saying "kill those people".

                      Yes there are…and always has been, and guess what, the overwhelming majority of people see them for what they are…. but if we dont, and neither you nor me or anyone else can pick who they will be or what their platform will be, but one things for sure if you shut down dissent then you can be sure theyll head to where the power to control that dissent is….and that is far more dangerous.

                    • McFlock

                      You keep confusing "incitement" with "dissent".

                      In case you haven't noticed, the internet has increased the effectiveness of long-tail marketing. That's the problem today: a fascist-adjacent making tangential comments about "replacement" on Speakers' Corner only had access to a few dozen people. A fascist-adjacent today is pretty much ignored by 99.99% of folks while still having access to thousands of receptive sad little men.

                      We can adapt to that new reality and deal with it, or offer thoughts and prayers to the victims.

                    • Formerly Ross

                      knowing some of those sad little men will end up going berserk with assault rifles against innocent defenceless people if they keep going down that sad little path.

                      In NZ, how many sad little men have killed with assault rifles versus suicide or car accidents?

                      In the year to June 2018, 668 people died from suicide. In the year ended 2018, 380 people died in car accidents. How many died from assault rifles during that period? None that I'm aware of. You may wish to look at the facts rather than scare-monger. And you may consider becoming more resilient if Don Brash scares you.

                      https://resiliencei.com/our-teams/new-zealand/

                    • Formerly Ross

                      Newshub ran a story earlier this year about gun related deaths in NZ. In 2016, there were nine such deaths. In the same year, 15 people died after being stabbed.

                      Between 2007-2016, 73 people died after being shot. That's just over seven each year. Last year, 47 people won $1 million or more playing Lotto. If you're concerned by sad little men with assault rifles, maybe you should buy a Lotto ticket. 🙂

                      https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/03/gun-related-homicides-how-new-zealand-compares-to-us-states.html

                    • McFlock

                      Ah, the "acceptable losses" theory of why other people should die because you really want to defend racists and fascists.

                      Not just the alt-right, either – the truck drivers and shooters and bomb-makers of all creeds who decide to do something because they found a sympathetic ear and encouragement for their rage online.

                      But it's only a few deaths each year, so we might as well tolerate it and not try to prevent it, eh…

                    • Pat

                      the point is your proposition wont not only will not prevent it it will increase the number,,,,something you appear unable to comprehend

                    • McFlock

                      "Increase the number"? How do you work out that math?

                      The point I fail to grasp is why you think there is any difference between one person inciting a dozen stranger explicitly to do something murderous, and the same person being implicit but to a million people. Because the second guy hase a better chance of actually getting someone to murder someone else. But the first guy is the only one doing something illegal under current law.

                  • Pat

                    there is no confusion between dissent and incitement…we have laws to deal with incitement….you however appear to be confusing tolerance with approval

                    If you desire a society of homogenous opinion you best create a world of clones because even the worlds worst totalitarians with the most severe of penalties couldnt manage it for long….but the body counts and misery certainly surpassed the alternative.

                    • McFlock

                      We have laws dealing with explicit incitement. But implicit incitement is killing people today.

                      See, at the moment we have a difference in opinion. This is fine. No worries. There is no implicit or explicit incitement for violence from either of us against the other party, that I can see.

                      So no, my suggestion isn't just about dissenting opinion.

                    • "Implicit" incitement is in the ear of the listener. Any attempt at a legal definition would include most radical politics and a lot of religious preaching, especially the Muslim kind. Much as we may dislike some people's views, we should have very strong and clearly defined reasons for banning their expression.

                    • McFlock

                      Any attempt at a legal definition would include most radical politics and a lot of religious preaching, especially the Muslim kind. Much as we may dislike some people's views, we should have very strong and clearly defined reasons for banning their expression.

                      It's a very fuzzy line, yes, but not insurmountable. Consider some approaches to "fighting words", for example.

                • Pat

                  How do I work that out?…..take a look at the regimes that have clamped down on dissent through history and add up the body count

                  • McFlock

                    Ah, sorry, I thought you actually had something other than handwavy bullshit.

                    You are obviously unaware that those regimes generally have specific laws against dissent, rather than shrouding it as a law against inciting others to do violence.

            • Formerly Ross 14.1.2.1.2.2

              Not if it's the fascist-adjacent doing the talking.

              Try listening to Jonathan Rauch. It might open your mind.

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