AHRC president must be defender of free speech, academic says

AHRC president must be defender of free speech, academic says, by Chris Merritt.

The pending departure of Gillian Triggs as president of the Australian Human Rights Commission has prompted calls for big changes to restore the organisation’s ­standing.

Legal academic Augusto Zimmermann, who has applied to replace Professor Triggs, believes her departure next month is an ­opportunity to make a fundamental move away from political correctness. His view aligns with that of former Human Rights commissioner Sev Ozdowski, who said the pending leadership change was an opportunity to reject identity politics ….

He said threats to freedom of speech were increasing and this meant the commission’s next president should be someone like himself who appreciated the importance of this right.

“Democracy requires robust debate and that requires more robust protection of free speech,” said Dr Zimmerman, who is a commissioner of the West Australian Law Reform Commission and co-author of a book outlining the adverse impact of section 18C. …

Dr Zimmermann said he was deeply concerned at the possibility that the government might be considering a “politically correct” appointment by elevating Human Rights commissioner Ed Santow to presidency of the commission

“Ed Santow has nothing to say about free speech,” he said. “We need someone as president of the commission who is prepared to uphold more than just politically correct issues.”

What?! The AHRC to promote free speech instead of political correctness? That’s a fundamental transformation that the Turnbull Government will be too timid to make — perhaps because it doesn’t really want to.

hat-tip Stephen Neil