Letters to the Sydney Morning Herald, today,  in response to the Attorney-General George Brandis.

So, George Brandis is now comparing himself to Voltaire in his defence of free speech (“Climate change proponents using ‘mediaeval’ tactics: George Brandis”, April 18). Free speech for racist bigots, free speech for climate denialists. Where will it end? Free speech for the tobacco industry to deny smoking causes cancer? There is a value in free speech to promote reasoned discussion and deliberation. And then there is obdurate and at times wilful ignorance. Smoking does cause cancer, there are no superior races and human-induced climate change is as certain as it is scientifically possible to demonstrate.

Denial is not driven by some otherwise ignored piece of scientific insight but by the massive vested interests of the fossil fuel industry. Its combined economic resources dwarf those of many nations and it has no hesitation is using those resources for its own short-term benefit, even if it means destroying the planet in the process.

Neil Ormerod Professor of Theology, Australian Catholic University, Strathfield

<i>Illustration: michaelmucci.com</i>Illustration: michaelmucci.com

I assume that my application to be a High Court judge will be given equal weight by George Brandis despite my complete lack of a legal education?

Mark Tierney West Pennant Hills

The public has received another revelation of George Brandis’s philosophy on life. Last month he was saying everyone has the right to be a bigot. Now he has switched focus to climate change. Senator Brandis seems to be bemoaning the fact that decades of work by scientists, backed by the authority of CSIRO, the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, is being used to trump denialist mining billionaires and politicians.

Fiona Ryan Edge Hill (Qld)

Senator Brandis has deplored the sidelining of climate change sceptics in the climate change debate. I echo his concerns with regard to the round v flat earth debate. While 97 per cent of geographers may claim that the “science is already settled”, we should respect the views of those sceptics who have a different view. The models of the Earth that one sees everywhere, known as maps, are flat. Globes of the world constructed according to the ideas of the sphericalists are hardly ever seen these days. This would seem to indicate that the flat Earth model of the world is increasingly gaining ground among the public, and is only prevented from attaining complete acceptance by the authoritarian orthodoxy of leftists and scientists bent on suppressing the free discussion of ideas. Round Earth sceptics must be given equal space in the press to have their fair say in this debate. I urge Senator Brandis to extend his support to those who are sick of having their flat earth views delegitimised.

Geoff Gordon Cronulla

By George, Senator Brandis has really got his knickers in a knot by claiming that people who say the science is settled on climate change are ‘‘ignorant and medieval’’, and furthermore says that though he believes humans were causing global warming he was ‘‘really shocked by the sheer authoritarianism of those who would exclude from the debate the point of view of people who were climate change deniers’’. Senator Brandis also opined that people who believed in climate change would accept the science without “intellectually” engaging with deniers.

Gee whiz, Senator Brandis, all this moralising about what you say is about your fight against the “cultural tyranny of political correctness” makes me think that having apparently lost the battle public opinion-wise to repeal section sections of the Racial Discrimination Act, you are now well and truly engaged in another losing battle.

Eric Palm Canada Bay

Hooray for George Brandis. How can people shut down the debate on climate change simply because the science overwhelmingly supports the issue? Senator Brandis is rightly protecting the rights of bigoted Australians to question the value of leeches in medicine, our flat Earth policy and burning the occasional witch (especially those in the Labor Party).

Chris Andrew Turramurra


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