In a valiant attempt to address a problem that doesn’t exist, NSW AG John Hatzistergos has announced that artists who use images of nude children can shield themselves from prosecution by paying a $500 per image fee to have their images ‘classified’ by official censors.
Clearly, this is a ham-handed attempt to placate the wowsers who were committed to seeing Bill Henson’s work classified as child pornography, which this legislation will not accomplish.
Will images of nude cherubs on stained glass in churches be subjected to the $500/image ‘freedom fee?’ How about museums which display similar works? Who will pay, the National Gallery or Caravaggio?
Listen up, NSW government: censorship doesn’t work. Every single time you censor, you dive headlong into an authoritarian morass that devalues freedom while protecting precisely no-one. Official censorship is an anachronism that has no place in 21st century Australia. There’s a use-by date on the Classification Board and official censorship in general… and that was about 100 years ago. Hatzo and NSW Labor are only in it to preserve the last vestiges of governmental power over freedom of expression.
If this is such necessary legislation, why is it that the USA, which has no official censorship in any form, has not imploded by now? Are Australians so weak-minded that we cannot survive without a nanny holding our hands and covering our eyes? Are we lesser people than Americans? In simple fact, we’re not- we just have no legal protection against excesses of government, which is perpetually scrabbling desperately for popular approval. NEWSFLASH for government: legal rights protecting free expression are not needed to protect popular views- they’re intended to protect unpopular positions.
It’s lonnnnnnng past due time for a constitutional Bill or Charter of Rights in Australia to permanently enjoin government from meddling where they simply have no business whatsoever.
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