Nearly 2,000 Protest Victoria's Racial and Religious Tolerance Act

August 9, 2006

Source: The Age

On August 9, 2006 The Age reported, "Victoria's religious hatred laws make it a crime to say in Melbourne what can freely be said in Sydney, a broadcaster and lawyer has told a rally against them. Peter Faris, QC, who participates in a weekly radio program, told about 2000 opponents of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act yesterday that the act was not democratic but simply political correctness. 'I'm not a Christian, but Christianity is plenty strong enough to withstand public criticism. Why not Islam? When I go on 3AW, I don't say what I think about Islam, because it's a crime in this state. If I were in Sydney, I could say it.' He said he did not run the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad on his website because of the act. The rally on the steps of Parliament heard 14 speakers attack the legislation as curtailing the vital tenet of free speech and call for the repeal of the religious section or the entire act. Liberty Victoria president Brian Walters, SC, said if freedom of speech had any meaning, it must include freedom to give offence. Independent MP Russell Savage said it was the worst legislation he had ever seen passed and a grave error."