Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Lord Christopher Monckton, a climate change sceptic, recently visited Perth where he gave a speech at Notre Dame University outlining his beliefs. He had caused a furore earlier by referring to Professor Ross Garnaut as a Nazi. Professor Garnaut is an economist who was commissioned by the Federal Government to provide a 2011 review on his earlier 2008 report on the impact of climate change. Needless to say, whether you agree with Professor Garnaut or not, the tag of Nazi and describing him as 'having a fascist point of view' did not go down well and I have no quibble with those who expressed their opinion on this. It is highly offensive.

What I do have a problem with is some of the responses, in particular the petition which was signed by some fifty academics urging cancellation of the lecture at Notre Dame. We live in a democracy and whether or not you agree with Lord Monkton - and, for the record, I don't - he has the right to his opinion and to express it. He doesn't have the right to use offensive symbols or language to denigrate those who do not agree with him and for that he certainly should be held to account but, as long as he doesn't do that and he is not advocating criminal acts, he has a right to speak.

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