Andrew Fraser will defy the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission by not apologising to the Sudanese community for his study linking African refugees to high crime rates. In a landmark ruling that raises fresh questions about the limits to which academics can engage in public debate, HREOC chairman John von Doussa has found Professor Fraser's comments were unlawful because they amounted to a "sweeping generalisation" that was not backed by research. ... Sudanese Darfurian Union secretary Safi Hareer complained to the human rights commission that Professor Fraser breached the Racial Discrimination Act in a letter published in the Parramatta Sun newspaper. The letter said experience showed an expanding black population was a "sure-fire recipe" for increased crime and violence. In a letter received by Professor Fraser yesterday, Mr von Doussa rejected his submission that his comments were made for "genuine academic purposes in the public interest". Mr von Doussa said while the legislation allowed for fair comment on matters of public interest and for genuine academic discussion, the comments were not made with "sufficient constraints and proportionality". ... But Professor Fraser said he would not apologise to anyone. "Even those who disagree with me should be appalled at this attack on the freedom of academic debate," he said. "This gives the lie to all those politicians who've claimed that racial hatred legislation would not curb freedom of expression in Australia."
Indeed. Imagine allowing civil rights establishment bureaucrats the power to determine whether one's speech on a public issue contained "sufficient constraints and proportionality." Shudder.
Thanks to reader Fred Ray for the link.