Free speech victory: Marlborough District Council accepts remedies to avoid court

19 June 2024
Free speech victory: Marlborough District Council accepts remedies to avoid court
Following an unlawful and discriminatory decision to bar Let Kids Be Kids from using facilities in the Marlborough District Library, the Chief Executive and Mayor have accepted three remedies to avoid court action by the Free Speech Union. We welcome the decision by the Council to admit they got this wrong and to set the situation right, says its Chief Executive, Jonathan Ayling. 
“At a meeting yesterday afternoon between the Mayor, Council CEO, General Counsel, and myself, the Council accepted that little defence could be made for the decision to refuse Let Kids Be Kids use of the library facilities.
“Marlborough District Council’s hire agreement had vague clauses that led to the unlawful decision by Council staff to exclude certain voices based on the subjective claim that they were not sufficiently ‘inclusive’.
“The Free Speech Union has pursued numerous cases of this kind, and the case law is clear: Councils cannot discriminate against groups or individuals on the basis of their ideological perspectives. 
“To remedy this situation, the Council has accepted three demands:
1. They will publicly apologise to Let Kids Be Kids by Friday;
2. They have invited the Free Speech Union to run an educational seminar for their staff on respecting ratepayers’ basic speech rights, and;
3. Most importantly, they have committed to revising the policy in question within a month.
“We welcome the Council’s candour and good-faith engagement with this issue. So-called ‘inclusivity’ policies don’t trump the Bill of Rights. This is a victory for free speech and all ratepayers in Marlborough.”
Note to editor: See the letter we sent to Marlborough District Council here and our drafted Protection of Freedom of Expression legislation that’s been picked up as a Member’s Bill here.
Media contact - Jonathan Ayling 021 842 215, [email protected]

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  • Max Bond
    followed this page 2024-06-20 14:37:06 +1200
  • Nadia Braddon-Parsons
    published this page in Media releases 2024-06-19 15:45:39 +1200

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