Political activism is an important thing, being able to criticise and speak out about those that are in powerful positions is also super important, and most of all, the ability to call politicians obscenities is a right we all hold close to our hearts.
So, a judge ruling that political activist Danny Lim didn’t really do anything wrong when he wore a sign a few years ago that may or may not have called Tony Abbott a cunt is a big win for everyone.
Back in 2015, the sandwich-board wielding political warrior stood outside Edgecliff station with a sign that read “Peace Smile, People can Change, Tony You Can’t”. However, the trickster had constructed it in such a way that the ‘a’ appeared upside down, and more resembled a ‘u’.
A judge last year reckoned that while it was obviously a play on words, it was still offensive to the general public and Lim had to pay a $500 fine, which crowd-funding helped cover.
Just recently, NSW District Court Judge Andrew Scotting overturned the original decision, adding that the wording alone didn’t make it offensive behaviour.
“While the conduct was inappropriate and in poor taste, I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt it was offensive. The front of the sandwich board was capable of being construed as being clever or light hearted while also capable of being read as the word ‘can’t’. The language used was clearly a play on words,” he said.
He drew on Shakespeare’s use of the word and the fact that it’s already way less offensive in Australia than other speaking countries.
He went on to say:
“This is an essential and accepted part of any democracy. That criticism can often extend to personal denigration or perhaps even ridicule, but still maintain its essential character as political comment.
“There is no reason to conclude that the prime minister, as the leader of the federal government, should be treated any differently to any other person who holds or seeks political office.”
Sounds about right, ‘Straya cunt.
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