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We Asked Fans Of Dangerous Ideas If Free Speech Can Ever Go Too Far

People are really into free speech at FODI.

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When Australia's federal parliament returned this week, 20 backbench senators signed a petition calling for immediate changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.

They had in their sights section 18c which makes it an offence to insult, offend, humiliate or intimidate people on racial grounds.

The idea was swiftly shut down but people from across Australia's political spectrum consider 18c an impingement on free speech.

At Sydney's Festival of Dangerous Ideas, divisive commentator Andrew Bolt told a crowd at the Opera House the boundaries for free speech should be "way way way wound back".

Journalist David Marr told festival goers he was in favour of removing the words "offend" and "insult" from section 18c.

So we asked people attending the festival: when does free speech go too far?



"Free speech is no licence for hate speech."


"When influential people tell scary lies to justify racism and bigotry."

"Never because the knife cuts both ways."


"[If it] incite[s] violence."

"When it has an element of bullshit to it!!!"



"There's no such thing."


"Just because you can does not mean you should."

"When it incites violence."


"When it impinges on other's [any living creature] freedom."

"Seldom, but maybe when other's rights will be damaged."


"When Donald Trump is allowed to tweet."

"When it's pointless."



"When it offends someone."


"When it legitimises intolerance."

"Define "far" [p.s. I have a law degree]."

"When insulting the person, not the issue."

"When the powerful use bullshit to incite violence and hatred against the powerless!"