Murdoch’s three standout racist propagandists, Andrew Bolt of Melbourne’s ‘Herald Sun’ newspaper, and Tim Blair and Piers Akerman of Sydney’s ‘Daily Telegraph’, all of whom run predominately xenophobic and Islamophobic racist blogs, may well be doing so in contravention of Australia’s racial vilification laws by allowing ‘serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of a person or groups on the grounds of race’ to be published and communicated at their blogs.
While in New South Wales the vilification laws apply only to race, in Victoria where Andrew Bolt operates, the vilification laws apply to both race and religion. However, civil or criminal suits may be brought against Blair and Akerman who operate in Sydney, from Victoria for both racial and religious vilification though any action brought against Bolt from NSW can only be brought for racial vilification, not religious.
Andrew Bolt’s blog is clearly the most outrageous of the three overtly racist blogs, and, because he is in Victoria where the vilification laws apply to religious as well as racial vilification, the opportunity to prosecute is much more feasible with a greater likelihood of success. If a favourable judgment against Bolt can be achieved then it is likely to stop Blair and Akerman continuing with their racial vilification without having to resort to legal action against them to stop their vilification.
The way all three of these vile racists work is quite smart. Instead of directly making seriously vilifying comments themselves, they use often blatant innuendo and inference to expound their message in their postings and then allow their followers to comment using increasingly ferocious racially and religiously vilifying attacks against the objects of their hatred that have been suggested in the postings. Bolt, Blair and Akerman are very careful not to make any seriously vilifying statements themselves but nonetheless get their message across by citing from others that clearly do have serious vilification intent.
However, while they are very careful not to incriminate themselves, they may well still be committing an offence by allowing commentators to go far beyond that which Bolt, Blair and Akerman are prepared to go in terms of blatant vilification by allowing such comments to be published, control of which is solely their responsibility since all three blogs are moderated. It is the fact that they are moderated which may make these racists liable for prosecution.
It would be an interesting test of the vilification laws were a suit made against any of these people and, to get the ball rolling, I’ll have their archives trawled for the most blatant posts and comments and then see what a barrister makes of it all. It may come to nought. But, on the other hand…