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August 13, 2018 | by  | in Politics |
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The Party Line

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealanders “were not hostile to free speech” but were “hostile to the views” of the two far-right Canadian activists, Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux. Should the government have the right to limit “diverse” views for what they deem to be “offensive” or “hate speech”?
Explain.

VicNats

The Government should absolutely have the power to refuse entry to any person that will spread hate speech. However, any Government should be cautious about what they define as hate speech, and what instead is offensive speech. There is a fine line between the two. The risk is that the Government is overzealous in its approach, and its it desire to protect the public from hate speech simply limits free speech instead.
– Grahame Woods

ACT on Campus

It’s a sad day when we can’t even let someone else voice their opinion without silencing them entirely. While I personally don’t share the views of the two Canadian speakers, they should have the freedom to speak, equally it oes not mean we need to give them a platform/venue. The venue that they were set to speak at cancelled and that is fully within the owners right to do so.
The real free speech tragedy this week is the barring of Dr Don Brash from speaking at Massey, a publicly funded university. The excuse of “hate speech” and “security concerns” were given as justification and that’s not good enough. Brash was invited to speak by students about his life in politics and should have the freedom to do so without being shut down by the Vice Chancellor of all people. Young Act will always stand up for free speech and diversity of ideas. The Government, including Government funded universities, should not get to limit free speech on what they deem to be appropriate unless that speech impedes others’ rights. Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas should resign.

VicLabour

Let’s not start putting offensive in quotation marks. If someone finds something offensive, it probably is. Yes the government should have the right to stop racists who are also transphobic and Islamaphobic from spreading their thoughts. If two white, cis, hetero people are travelling around settler states to encourage other whites to protect “their” culture and “their” country then yes, the government should have the right to limit that discourse. This free speech discussion has currently just been white people worrying about having to think about how their words will affect those around them, for the first time in their lives. Minority groups have always been doing this, worried about how their speech will be perceived and ensuring what they say will be in line with the dominant culture.

As soon as your free speech encroaches on others’ rights, there is a need for limitation. Until minority groups have the same political and social power as whites, the state should intervene when free speech incites violence against those without an equal voice.

Greens on Campus

Yes the Government should have the power to shut down hate speech. Free speech is a quintessential part of any democracy but it is not an absolute. We already have limits on free speech. You can sue people for defamation and threats, and incitement and cyber-bullying are crimes. We do this because we value the protection of the vulnerable in society against racism and hate speech. Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux profess beliefs that are racist and this is a view unacceptable for New Zealand. We should not give them a platform to stand on to profess their outdated beliefs. So yes the Government should be critical of cynical views that blatantly profess racism against the values of diversity we have in our own country.

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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