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The Forum > Article Comments > Offence is taken, not given > Comments

Offence is taken, not given : Comments

By David Leyonhjelm, published 30/1/2013

Those who insist offence is caused by others place an unbearable burden on our freedom to speak. And now the government wants to make more of it illegal.

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David, I note from your mugshot that you are an ugly chrome-domed fat-head!!
Posted by Ludwig, Wednesday, 30 January 2013 9:17:50 AM
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No, I take it back. You are an intelligent person who is proffering valuable comment on a very difficult subject.

However, I think that you are seeing this complex multifaceted issue in too much of a black and white manner.

I disagree with your basic premise; that offence is entirely in the mind of the offendee or would-be offendee. I can envisage many situations in which someone is being highly obnoxious with the intent of being strongly offensive.

How do you deal with that? If you donít respond or you respond meekly, you may well be seen to be weak and your offender can be seen to be entirely correct in all the abuse that he is dishing out and everything he is saying about you.

It is very difficult territory. What we certainly donít need is a level of freedom of speech where unscrupulous people feel that they can be bluntly and deliberately offensive, replete with false assertions, and just get away with it. Your comments seem to suggest that people should be allowed to do this.

You write:

< Unless a comment is coercive, by intimidating, threatening, tricking or forcing someone to do something against their will, responsibility for how it is received rests with the recipient. Those who feel offended are free to choose another feeling. >

I think the restrictions should be somewhat broader.
Posted by Ludwig, Wednesday, 30 January 2013 9:21:02 AM
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"Taking offence is a feeling, voluntarily chosen. No matter how bigoted, ill-informed or obnoxious, someone elseís words are never the cause."

Why then is Hansard replete with examples of remarks being withdrawn [and elided] from all sides of the parliament?

So, I take it we can look forward to your party's platform removing some debating rules and the anti-democratic concept of parliamentary privilege?

Excellent.

Unless what you were saying was bullshytt... no offence.
Posted by WmTrevor, Wednesday, 30 January 2013 9:27:49 AM
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I fear that this may be an overly simplistic view of a very complex situation. There are those out there that make statements specifically designed to cause offence. There are also those who continuously make statements of an offensive nature to harass and bully others.

While I agree that taking offence over a single throw away comment and making a big deal over it is beyond infantile, one must also take into account the motives of the one making the comment. Was it just a spur of the moment throw away, or was it sculpted and honed to cut and cause offense? That is the question.
Posted by Arthur N, Wednesday, 30 January 2013 10:12:53 AM
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Has this new law passed through both Houses and become the law of the land, or is it still being proposed. Or does it even need to pass through Parliament? Can Gillard and Roxon establish it by edict?
I am hoping it will prove to be something like Senator Conway's proposal to censor the Internet, a proposal which, thankfully, was stillborn? Looked at one way, this new measure is an eerie echo of Senator Conway's efforts to gain an unwanted and unwarranted degree of control over our lives.
What say the Coalition?
What say the Greens?
Roxon and Gillard don't sit in Canberra on their own, even if sometimes they do give the impression that they would prefer it if they did.
Posted by halduell, Wednesday, 30 January 2013 10:44:26 AM
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The contradiction with saying that 'Offence is taken, not given' is that this guy begins and ends his article by deliberately saying something offensive. So just like that the entire premise of his argument turns out to be false.

At any rate, the proposed legislation is just an exposure draft. The provision thats causing so much ruckus is probably just a drafting error. Its not worth getting worked up over it until its law. I doubt that Parliament is going to put something into law that allows utterly trivial matters to go to the Federal Court.
Posted by David Jennings, Wednesday, 30 January 2013 10:55:11 AM
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