Yesterday, Mark Latham introduced a bill into New South Wales parliament that will start to clean up the mess that is the New South Wales anti-discrimination industry.
And it’s not a moment too soon. Two days before Mark Latham spoke in parliament, the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board took to its Facebook page to tout for anonymous complaints.
The festering mess that now urgently needs disinfecting has been created because the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board has lost all touch with common sense. Instead, it has simply become an activist organisation that sucks at the taxpayers’ teat while processing the complaints of other activists.
Mark’s bill, if it is passed, will:
- prevent the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board from policing the speech of people who live outside New South Wales and who express their views someplace else;
- put an end to the absurd practice of dragging brain-damaged people through tribunals and courts for the views they express; and
- finally force the President of the Anti-Discrimination Board to reject complaints that are vexatious.
It is hard to fathom, in particular, why legislation should be needed to force the President to reject vexatious complaints. That it is needed says a great deal about the lunacy that reigns supreme in the anti-discrimination industry across Australia.
Mark’s speech about this bill can be read in full here.
And I do highly recommend that you read his speech. It was brilliant. More importantly, for those who are interested in freedom of speech, it outlines exactly how much of a threat bodies like the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board pose to the freedom of ordinary Australians unless they are reigned in.
Here is a key excerpt:
The Act allows complaints to be lodged without cost. NCAT determines complaints referred to it as part of a no-cost jurisdiction. The complaint may result in a penalty of up to $100,000 issued by NCAT payable to the complainant. If complainants have legal prowess they can represent themselves, and indeed make a tidy profit. Given these provisions, the vetting of initial complaints lodged with the Anti-Discrimination Board is vital. Once a complaint is in the system the matter can drag on for years and inevitably end up at NCAT with the possibility of substantial financial penalties, plus legal costs for respondents not able to defend themselves at the board or at NCAT. Respondents can feel harassed and stressed by such a lengthy period of legalism, especially if they are also subject to media publicity due to the action. These things can become a nightmare.
Unfortunately, the threshold for the acceptance of complaints at the Anti-Discrimination Board is minimal. Under Section 89 it requires complaints to be lodged in writing and they need not demonstrate a prima facie case. Section 89B (2) limits the president’s powers to decline complaints to matters more than 12 months old; those outside the scope of the Act; where someone has falsely lodged a complaint on behalf of someone else; and in vilification cases where the person making the complaint does not have the characteristic allegedly being vilified. The president may decline in these circumstances; there is no requirement, as per the practice in most other States and Territories, that the president must decline the complaint. Clearly, these provisions are open to abuse. There is next to no restriction on lodging complaints. It is free for political activists to target their opponents and use the Anti-Discrimination Board and NCAT as political weapons, tying them up in legal disputes and costs but at no cost to the complainant. This is a form of “lawfare”, one of the worst trends in modern politics.
Activists are using the legal system to try to score the political points they cannot achieve by democratic means, or even worse, they are using the legal system to try to destroy their opponents financially to break them with the cost of using lawyers and going through tribunals to defend themselves. This is not justice; it is a lawyer’s picnic.
In the four decades since the Anti-Discrimination Act was legislated the political environment has changed substantially. We now live in an era of heightened political activism, much of it driven by the intense polarised and at times obsessive nature of social media, and tactics such as “de-platforming” and “cancelling culture” have become common. The board and NCAT should not be pawns in this game at taxpayers’ expense; therefore requiring under the provisions of this bill amendments to the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Act.
Mark went on to outline in detail the complaints against me, as well as those lodged against Israel Folau and John Sunol, a brain-damaged man from Newcastle.
Personally, I believe that the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board’s handling of those latter complaints is beyond the realms of belief. It makes my farcical saga pale into insignificance. Australians, when they hear what has happened to John Sunol, are rightly shocked.
Once again, I cannot encourage you enough to read the rest of Mark’s speech – click here to do so.
Most importantly, this bill will now be subject to an inquiry which will necessarily need to hear evidence about the farcical failure that the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board has become.
I’ve been calling for such an inquiry since mid-2018, when the President of the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board decided to continue referring complaints against me to the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal, despite rulings in the New South Wales Court of Appeal and High Court of Australia that it was unconstitutional for the Tribunal to even hear the complaints against me.
More than 7,000 Australians have signed my petition calling for an inquiry, which is significant considering how little media attention has been given to this issue.
Since 2014 I’ve had to travel to Sydney more times than I can remember to defend myself. Finally, it seems that sometime soon I’ll be heading back to Sydney. But this time I won’t be in the hot seat.
It will be the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board facing the music…