Participation in Marriage Equality Debate?

(Frew) #41

What is different about people wanting to get same sex married that they don’t deserve the protections afforded to others?

Calling selling things ‘speech’ is a bit of a stretch too. So are you cool with whites only restaurants? Aboriginal back entrances to shops? IMO these are the same things as refusing people a cake.

There is an exception for religious institutions, but not religious people running shops.

I’m pretty sure both are illegal, but I couldn’t find case law. It would be way harder to find case law of the second example than the first.

If it was me, I would take a photo and post that shit to social media quick-smart. Would be viral gold.

(Daniel) #42

No, of course I’m not. I think these are terrible social evils which need to be combated when they occur. But I’m also convinced that using the courts to combat these practices is not the best way to do so. Preventing such people from speaking, from being able to maintain their freedom of association (and of disassociation), through legal means temporarily drives the hatred and racism underground, to resurface at a later time in a subtler yet more insidious way.
The best way to combat such views, to remove discrimination from our society, to actually change people, is for the views to be openly stated and shown to be wrong. Daryl Davis, a black musician who has befriended over 200 members of the Ku Klux Klan, and convinced them to hang up their robes, is the best example of what I’m talking about.

Pursuing legal recourse against the baker just gives other bigots a chance to say “Look! My views are being oppressed!” and, through confirmation bias, may even strengthen their bigotry.

From our own policy page:

It’s our very first platform, so I assume we hold freedom of speech to be of utmost importance. At least at some level, our policy links protecting speech to protecting the right to act on what we say (in bold above). Philosophically, I link freedom of speech to freedom of association and freedom of disassociation. I’m a bit surprised that my fellow party members don’t seem to value this freedom as highly as I do (and I hope I’m wrong in this assessment of my fellow pirates).

I support marriage equality and believe that our policy is the best way to implement it, but it has been brought to my attention and I have become concerned about the ways some in the Yes side are suppressing the free speech of the No side. If there’s already been a boycott of a beer company for promoting polite conversations (not even for taking the wrong side), and a petition to de-register a doctor for expressing an opinion (I know Getup has removed the petition from their site), before marriage equality has even been legalised, what will happen to free speech afterwards?

All I’m saying is that I hope our participation in the debate somehow limits this aspect of the yes campaign.

(Andrew Downing) #43

I’m with you on this one.
Free speech is not just an individual right to be protected like any other individual right. It is the most fundamental of freedoms that must be preserved for an open democratic society to maintain cohesion instead of fracturing into affinity groups. It disturbs me this seems to be forgotten lately.

(Ben McGinnes) #44

Oh that’s complete nonsense, of course you can run a business and hold a different opinion or belief. What you can’t do is actively restrict participation in obtaining your products or services based on your belief or views of another person based on some inherent trait (e.g. ethnicity, sex, gender or sexuality) where a similar type of trait would not be reason enough to prevent others from accessing those same services.

This is what enables classifying the baker or photographer who refuse to service a gay wedding for their religious beliefs as a breach of the relevant anti-discrimination act(s); while still enabling the lawfulness of a women only gymnasium.

Nothing here forces the Christians to change their religious beliefs, it just means that if they wsh to operate or participate in commercial activities within the larger society, itself containing far more than just Christians, then they have to accept that they’re not in Church. If they don’t want to participate in a larger society in which there’s a chance they will meet people who don’t believe what they do, then they can choose not to. Alternatively they can suck it up and accept that the world is bigger than they are.

Now, you want to talk about coerced speech, I’m fairly sure I could make a decent argument for it actually going the other way.

(Andrew Downing) #45

That’s remarkably contradictory.
You start by saying that nothing is forcing them, and then proceed to describe the ways in which government force will by applied to curtail their economic activity.

Of course they should “suck it up and accept that the world is bigger than they are”. The question at hand is whether government force is the best way to get them to that understanding.

(Ben McGinnes) #46

Not entirely. They can still hold any opinion and belief they like. What they can’t do is exploit a commercial situation in the community to impose their morality on others. Which is what the baker was doing.

Well that is an entirely different aspect of the issue to argue over. The sort of thing that leads back to repealing various anti-discrimination acts or parts thereof.

Whereas the situation here is fitting things in with the existing legislation and with what can and can’t be done. Regarding the “suck it up” line; the implication of not doing so and also not removing themselves from the larger society of the country would mean a standard situation where everyone could go entirely the other way. Such as forcing people to convert to their religion to do business with them. Now if you’re living somewhere with dozens of bakers and you just want a pastry, then who cares … but what about when you’re in a town so small there’s only one GP and he’s demanding conversions efore checking that lump?

That’s when we have to say, no, now your riding of that high horse is risking lives. These are the sort of things we’ve got to be wary of.

Oh, by the way, that doctor example … I know of cases where it’s actually happened, except in relation to a different part of the Sex Discrimination Act and not religion as the motive for refusing treatment. Not that long ago either (less than a year).

(Ben McGinnes) #47

Also, the baker and photographer thing is currently playing out on Lateline and via their Twitter feed with this thread.

(Andrew Downing) #48

Baker’s and photographers are not privileged positions. Doctors and chemists are. I think this is an important distinction. Licensed professionals need to be held to a higher standard. That’s why we license them.

Baker’s and photographers are in fact doing creative work. They express themselves through their work. Go a little further down that route, and you can have cases like musicians being forced under threat of government force, to perform for people they have ethical or moral difference with.


If I was a musician, I wouldn’t want to be forced to perform for a group of Neo-nazis even if they were willing to pay me. I wouldn’t even feel safe.

(Ben McGinnes) #50

Ah, now that is a very good point. The case I partially cited also encountered another nasty aspect of that scenario too. Though there were federal legal protections for the person denied treatment, invoking that part of anti-discrimination law required revealing a condition which is quite stigmatising (the basis of the doctor’s prejudice).

So even though legal protections exist, they can only be enforced when the subject of that discrimination is prepared to go public or relatively public with the situation. In that case the person weighed up all these factors to consider what to do about the whole thing. They now commute a couple of hundred kilometers into the city every time they need to see a doctor, which is about monthly.

Personally I thought they should’ve sued that dick of a doctor off the planet, but I guess they’re concentrating on other things.

That’s another good point and we definitely wouldn’t want whichever moralist of the day had a bee in their bonnet over what can be written or recorded.

(Frew) #51

Say we abolish all protections from discrimination, these things will start occurring right away. In the country where there may only be one shop, who for e.g refuses to serve aborigines, there may not be another shop for 100km or more, it immediately creates serious social conflict. If I was suddenly cut off from the only shop in the area because of the colour of my skin, I would riot for sure. If you don’t think some people are that racist in rural areas, you are in for a rude shock.

No right is absolute, and all rights have to be balanced with other rights. Free speech has to be balanced with the right to participate in society for minorities who suffer persecution from bigots. Rights exist for a reason, to make society function without causing too much friction, they are not an end in them self. Allowing wholesale discrimination would up the social friction massively. Legalising that persecution, will have huge social ramifications, which IMO would outweigh any benefit from allowing discrimination (of which I see none).

That is a fair point, contract work is different to straight sales. I would take issue with a baker refusing to sell an already made cake to a gay couple for their wedding, but can see the problem in making a baker bake a specific cake for a wedding. From a consumer perspective, it would be a good idea to avoid hiring someone who may deliberately do a poor job. If I was forced to play at a Nazi benefit, they would be subjected to 14 stirring renditions of Nazi Punks Fuck Off.

(Andrew Downing) #52

I’d say that “the cake already made” is equivalent to “the song already recorded”, or the “program already coded” unless you want to explain to the cake makers how their thing is not really creative expression. I’ve known a few cake makers … I don’t want to go there.

Then we have to ask if you’re Ok with being forced under threat of government violence, to accept or license your favourite musical creation being recast as an anthem for some {insert nasty group here} group.

(Frew) #53

Where does that stop? Whites only shops? No gays allowed signs? I would riot myself if any shops like that were anywhere near me. I would not tolerate it.

(Andrew Downing) #54

It stops when you convince them to stop, not when you force them to stop, because force doesn’t work for that purpose. It begets more hate and more force.

(Frew) #55

The laws are already in place, racism hasn’t got worse since anti-discrimination laws were passed, race relations have improved. ‘Force’ worked quite well. I am not a pacifist.

(Andrew Downing) #56

I’m don’t think that’s true. Maybe superficially, because the threat of government force pushes these sentiments underground, but they bubble up in other ways. Witness the rise of intolerance based political groups in the same time frame. Don’t see any connection?

Basically, I don’t think we can change peoples minds with force. It has never worked. Frequently, it has the opposite effect.

Me neither, but I reserve violence for defence against other violence, at which point it should be overwhelming.

(Frew) #57


Anti-discrimination laws were passed in the 1970s, there has been a recent uptick in racism and there have always been racists, but I seriously doubt there is any correlation between the introduction of anti-discrimination legislation and a rise in racism.

The right to be free of discrimination is a human right. The UN Declaration of Human Rights, article 7 states:

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

There are many goods and services supplied by private institutions that are required for both survival and participation in broader society. People need to be able to buy food, access shelter, communications infrastructure, education and healthcare. Anti-discrimination laws protect persecuted minorities from discrimination which enables them to participate fully in society. If anti-discrimination laws were abolished large groups would be immediately at risk of being isolated from participating in society.

The access to shops by indigenous people is both the most likely and most harmful example of this I can think of. Losing access to the only shop for potentially 300km because of the colour of your skin is clearly unjust and will have an immediate impact on your well-being, losing access to food and other necessities. This was actually the case in some places before the the racial discrimination act. What if the ISP made the same call? Housing organisations?

The right for minorities to participate equally in society is more important to me than the right to refuse service to people I don’t like for arbitrary reasons.

(Andrew Downing) #58

Citation? I don’t think it needs academic justification. The rise in activity of alt-right, neo-nazi, kkk in the US, similar groups across Europe, even the radical conservatives splintering out of the right here in Australia, not to mention One Nation. They are obviously more active and vocal, but why? You don’t even have to ask them - they’re yelling it in the streets. They oppose the “Authoritarian-Left” that they see as having encroached on their freedoms in most institutions.

My point here, is that authoritarian style control does not make racism and other such biases go away. You may silence it for a while, but force always eventually gets met with force, and if you keep doubling down, it ends tragically for everyone.

I thought that’s why we are libertarian-left.
How can you rationalise libertarian with government coercion to play nice together?

Now, obviously we should all play nicely together, the only point of contention I have is in the method.

I’m sure you can think of alternative solutions to the more specific problems you have described.

(Frew) #59

The gap between anti-discrimination laws being passed and that shit is at-least 35 years dude. You are going to have to do better than that. And fuck all of those bigots, they just hate that their social supremacy is being challenged by social criticism on social media. They are just cry-babies that don’t like being called bad words like racist or sexist.

This is the first time I have heard of anyone in the Pirate Party calling for dismantling anti-discrimination laws and it ain’t gonna happen. Not only is it a bad idea because it would immediately create second class citizens and tear up the social fabric, no-one in wider society, except a few extremist nutters on the right are calling for it. This isn’t a controversial new law, it is a widely accepted current law. It applying to bigoted cake makers is new, but that is about it.

I like the current solution fine.

(Alex Jago) #60

Apart from the bit where we want to repeal 18C, you mean?