Bennelong Papers

Silencing Constitution debate

Keith Windschuttle on The Drum

A case of legal deception about our ‘racist’ constitution

Michael Brull’s commentary on my article in The Australian (January 24) on the report to the Gillard government on constitutional recognition of indigenous people is both personally abusive and intellectually deceptive.

He claims that because I am not an authority on constitutional law I have no right to publicly discuss the subject. Yet very few members of the government’s panel who wrote the report would be regarded as constitutional authorities either. Most are either Aboriginal political activists or academics in fields other than constitutional law. The main spokesperson for the report, Marcia Langton, is an anthropologist and geographer not a lawyer. However, Brull does not argue that her lack of appropriate qualifications should have excluded her from the panel. Indeed, on his very own grounds, Brull should have disqualified himself from commenting too. He is no constitutional authority. He is a law student, and a badly misinformed one at that.

Brull’s double standard seeks to deny the right to speak to anyone of whom he does not approve. Brull might not like it but he has to accept that, on an issue as momentous as a referendum to change the constitution, every Australian has the right to speak freely.

Source: The Drum


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