THE ANDREW BOLT CONVICTION
My own view is that there are sufficient allowances in the law to have enabled the judge to have thrown out the case. I think Bolt was simply the victim of a hostile and illogical Jewish judge.
For understandable reasons Jews tend to be very sensitive about any hint of racism. Mordechai Bromberg should have recused himself from the case.
As it is, he is a disgrace and a burden to his community. Taking part in such an act of gross censorship against quite mild comments reinforces the Leftist and Arab claim that Jews are the modern-day Nazis. As a strong supporter of Israel I could not deplore Bromberg's activities more. He has made himself an enemy of Israel by reinforcing the claims of its critics.
Four current articles below -- JR
Andrew Bolt's response
IT IS time we put aside racial and ethnic divisions. As multicultural Australia strives for harmony, these distinctions merely reinforce existing barriers.
I am the son of Dutch parents who came to Australia the year before I was born. For a long time, I have felt like an outsider here, not least because my family moved around so very often. You know how it is when you feel you don't fit in. You look for other identities, other groups, to give you a sense of belonging, and perhaps some status.
So for a while I considered myself Dutch, and even took out a Dutch passport.
Later I realised how affected that was, and how I was borrowing a group identity rather than asserting my own. Andrew Bolt's. So I chose to refer to myself as Australian again, as one of the many who join in making this shared land our common home.
Yet even now I fret about how even nationality can divide us.
To be frank, I consider myself first of all an individual, and wish we could all deal with each other like that. No ethnicity. No nationality. No race. Certainly no divide that's a mere accident of birth. So that's the background to the calamity that hit me yesterday.
That's why I believe we can choose and even renounce our ethnic identity, because I have done that myself.
But I also believe that many people now increasingly do insist on asserting racial and ethnic identities, and that we increasingly spend money and pass laws to entrench them. I think that a terrible pity, even a danger, because surely in a multi-ethnic community like ours it's important to stress what unites us, not what divides.
As you might know, I have argued against this trend. For instance, and this is what brought me to the court, I have written about what seems to me an increasing trend of people to identify as Aboriginal, when even their looks loudly suggest they have ancestry drawn from many "races" or ethnicities, especially European.
In two columns in particular - and that's where this misery started - I wrote about people who, it seemed to me, had other options than to call themselves, without qualification or hyphens, "Aboriginal". They included nine fair-skinned Aborigines who responded not with public arguments, but with a legal action in the Federal Court to have my articles banned forever, and me prevented from ever again writing something similar.
I'm talking about people such as an Aboriginal lawyer whose father was British, an Aboriginal activist whose own sister identified as non-Aboriginal, and an Aboriginal writer whose father was born in Austria.
In those articles I wrote that I did not question the genuineness of their identification. I did not even go as far as did Professor Larissa Behrendt, one of those who took me to court, who nine years ago declared that the definition of Aboriginality needed to be tightened, or "you run the risk of having the parameters stretched to the ludicrous point where someone can say: 'Seven generations ago there was an Aboriginal person in my family, therefore I am Aboriginal'."
To be clear: not once did I say that these people had no right to call themselves Aborigines. I've always accepted that they do.
I am too worried now to quote directly from what I did actually write, but my argument - which Justice Mordecai Bromberg of the Federal Court yesterday rejected - was that such people had choices. They could choose to identify as Aboriginal, or as some other ethnicity in their ancestry, or, as I do, as Australian. Even as an individual.
Indeed, they could do as the former sprinter Patrick Johnson once put it in his own case: "I have the best of both cultures, of a couple of cultures. I mean, Dad's Irish. I'm Aboriginal as well."
As well. And, in fact, since I wrote my damn columns two years ago, I've seen that one of the people I wrote about has indeed since described herself as someone of many heritages - "of English, Jewish and Wathaurung descent".
Two years ago, I would cheerfully have argued that this acknowledgment of a multiple ethnicity was healthier, and truer, in such cases than insisting on only being Aboriginal. But not today. I no longer dare.
I yesterday learned I had breached the Racial Discrimination Act, as interpreted by Justice Bromberg, and I must now be very, very careful about discussing anyone's identification with any ethnic group or "race" in multicultural Australia.
Here is a relevant part of his judgment:
"At the core of multiculturalism is the idea that people may identify with and express their racial or ethnic heritage free of pressure not to do so."
In fact, it seems from Justice Bromberg's judgment that it is against the values of the Racial Discrimination Act for me to write columns likely to "pressure" people to give up some racial identity.
Again, I quote: "Such pressure may ultimately cause a person to renounce their racial identity. Conduct with negating consequences such as those that I have described, is conduct inimical to the values that the RDA seeks to honour. "People should be free to fully identify with their race without fear of public disdain or loss of esteem for so identifying."
To argue against their choices is apparently "destructive of racial tolerance". And, I now find to my astonishment and utter dismay, the arguments as expressed in my articles are also against the law.
CRUCIAL to Justice Bromberg's finding is that fair-skinned Aborigines such as the claimants do not choose their ethnic or "racial" identity, even though one of the nine in the court action against me conceded in court that her own sister disputed her account of their genealogy and did not consider herself to be Aboriginal.
If Justice Bromberg's view is correct, I would be even more depressed than I am already. It would have grave implications for our multi-ethnic or "multi-racial" community. Must we always be defined by our ancestry, trapped forever in some box of race? Is someone with even just 1/128th Aboriginal ancestry forever an Aborigine, and Aborigine only?
Well, yes, suggests Justice Bromberg's judgment - as long as that person felt Aboriginal and other Aborigines approved. And this must be the law, end of debate, even if many of us disagree - even though, as His Honour wrote, "the perception of many Australians of an Aboriginal person will no doubt be influenced by the stereotypical images of a dark-skinned Aboriginal person in outback Australia".
But I must not go further. I may breach the law.
True, having declared my columns unlawful, Justice Bromberg did insist he did not mean to "suggest that it is unlawful for a publication to deal with racial identification including the challenging the genuineness of the identification of a group of people".
Oh, really? Believe me, I wouldn't ever want to test that assurance after going through what I have -- two years of worry, two weeks in court, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs, just to test whether my columns could pass this muster.
And, yes, Justice Bromberg suggests I did bring all this upon myself, not because of my opinion (even though he condemns it) but because of the way I expressed it.
After all, I used "mockery, derision (and) sarcasm" in writing my columns, and this could offend and humiliate people - although, frankly, the most offensive thing said by anyone in this case was the vilification of me by the claimant's own barrister, Ron Merkel QC, who accused me of having a eugenics approach towards race - the approach which he said was behind the Nazis' Nuremberg race laws. There was even an attempt to paint me as homophobic.
I also made mistakes, Justice Bromberg said, although none seemed to me to be of consequence. Moreover, when I wrote that none of the fair-skinned Aborigines I'd mentioned had chosen their racial identity for "anything but the most heartfelt and honest of reasons", people would think I wasn't being "genuine".
Justice Bromberg also said I'd used "derisive" comments "that have little or no legitimate forensic purpose to the argument".
His Honour cited a long list of these bad comments of mine, such as "seeking power and reassurance in a racial identity is not just weak" and "it is also divisive, feeding a new movement to stress pointless or even invented racial differences". FOR expressing such views, in such language, I have lost my freedom to put my argument as I did.
And be warned: use such phrases as those yourself, and you too may lose your right to speak.
But as I say, Justice Bromberg insists he hasn't stopped debate on racial identification, unless, apparently, your adjectives are too sharp, your wit too pointed, your views too blunt, your observations not quite to the point, your teasing too ticklish and your facts not in every case exactly correct.
And even then, having jumped every hurdle and written with the forensic dullness of a Reserve Bank governor, you will run the risk of a judge deciding that whatever you've written is, after all, the very opposite of what you really meant.
Despite Justice Bromberg's assurances, I feel that writing frankly about multiculturalism, and especially Aboriginal identity, yesterday became too dangerous for any conservative. It's simply safer to stay silent, or write about fluffy puppies instead.
And so the multiculturalists win. They win, because no one now dares object for fear of what it will cost them in court. Hope they're satisfied, to win a debate not by argument but fear.
Law used against Andrew Bolt has no place in a society that values freedom of expression
by: George Brandis
WHEN, in 1995, the Keating government amended the Racial Discrimination Act to outlaw "racial vilification", the opposition warned that the prohibition went too far. Then Liberal Senate leader Robert Hill said the language of the amendment, "by making it unlawful for a person to do an act in public that is reasonably likely in all the circumstances to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group of people if that act is done because of the race of the offended person or persons . . . presents an unacceptable threat to civil liberties in Australia".
The government dismissed with contempt the Liberal Party's concerns about the effect of the new provisions on freedom of expression. Then minister for immigration and ethnic affairs Nick Bolkus, apparently oblivious to the Orwellian resonances of his rhetoric, described the conduct that the bill sought to outlaw as "speech crimes". He said: "They are crimes which society and government have recognised need a legislative response because the behaviour that attaches to them is such that we can do without it and it has a deleterious effect on our community."
Last Wednesday, when the Federal Court gave its judgment against Andrew Bolt in a case brought against him by a group of "fair-skinned Aborigines" relying on the 1995 amendments (in particular section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act), the prescience of Hill's warning became apparent for all to see. The opposition does not criticise judge Mordecai Bromberg for reading the act in this way. Whether he was right or wrong in law is a matter on which, should there be an appeal, a higher court will have the final say. What his judgment reveals is just how far-reaching the effect of those amendments is.
Three points should be made about the consequences of section 18C, as revealed by the Bolt case.
First, it is clear that freedom of political expression in Australia is subject to a significant new constraint, which had not existed before. It is in the nature of political argument that it is commonly offensive to those who have the opposite view.
Like most Australians, I find the flagrant dishonesty of the carbon tax offensive. I find the shameless amorality of the Malaysia Solution offensive, just as I am offended by the hypocrisy of moral posturing by a government that is prepared to trash the most elementary human rights standards.
By making the reasonable likelihood of causing offence or insult the test of unacceptable behaviour, in any political context, section 18C is a grotesque limitation on ordinary political discourse. While some have pointed out the analogy with the limitations on free speech in the defamation laws, the threshold at which speech may be unlawful because it is defamatory is much higher: the traditional formula is that it must be likely to bring the victim into "hatred, ridicule or contempt". There is all the difference in the world between that standard and making unlawful speech merely because it causes offence.
Second, it is wrong and, indeed, dangerous to regard the question as one of balancing of interests. In a liberal society, freedom of speech and expression -- and their corollary, freedom of the press -- are not interests to be weighed in the scale but fundamental rights, without which individual liberty cannot exist and democratic governance cannot work. It is true to say that they are not absolutes, as defamation law, and laws criminalising sedition or incitement of violence demonstrate. But English law has always defended freedom of speech jealously and read those necessary limitations narrowly. It is for this reason, for instance, that traditionally, the courts would not issue an injunction to restrain a threatened defamation. The legal limitations on freedom of speech and of the press are necessitous exceptions to a strongly defended general rule, not a counterweight.
Third, restrictions on freedom of political discourse inevitably lead to restrictions on political opinion itself. There is very little distance between speech crime and what George Orwell called thoughtcrime. What section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act seeks to do, by prohibiting the expression of political views that mainstream society finds unattractive and objectionable, is to penalise the holding of those views at all.
Is it really the business of government to be telling people what they may or may not think? I suppose the whole point of the political correctness movement is that the answer to that question is yes.
But the conceit that government should presume to sanction what may properly be thought as well as what may properly be said is inimical to the most fundamental values of a free society.
It would be nice to try to explain the Bolt case as an example of the unintended consequences of poor draftsmanship and legislative overreach. I fear it is nothing of the sort. It is precisely what those who amended the Racial Discrimination Act in 1995 intended to achieve. We should, in that sense, be grateful to Justice Bromberg for exposing its full implications.
Section 18C, as presently worded, has no place in a society that values freedom of expression and democratic governance. If the Bolt decision is not overturned on appeal, the provision in its present form should be repealed.
Herald and Weekly Times weighs up appeal against Bolt judgment
LAWYERS say an appeal by columnist Andrew Bolt and his publisher the Herald and Weekly Times would face significant obstacles. HWT, the News Limited-owned publisher of the Herald Sun, is not expected to decide on any action until next week.
Bolt used the Herald Sun to air his feelings. On the tabloid's front page yesterday, he wrote of his shock at the decision, saying: "I cannot believe this is Australia, a land of free speech."
Inside the paper he continued: "For expressing such views, in such language, I have lost my freedom to put my argument as I did. "And be warned: use such phrases as those yourself, and you too may lose your right to speak."
Constitutional lawyers are divided on the prospect of any appeal based on the freedom of speech provision in the Racial Discrimination Act. Lawyers and academics contacted by The Australian said if an appeal were mounted, the more likely approach would be to question interpretations of the act.
One constitutional lawyer, who wished to remain anonymous, said the High Court would first need to decide whether the matter deserved deliberation: "The High Court would be quite nervous because they've taken quite a strong line on that freedom implied in the Constitution."
Another constitutional law expert pointed towards Coleman v Power & Others (2004) as the most relevant case.
In that matter, the High Court overturned a ruling against a Townsville student, Patrick Coleman, who was convicted under the Vagrancy Act for yelling abuse about corruption at a policeman.
The Coalition has signalled it will try to amend the Racial Discrimination Act if it wins office, branding it a "terrible statute".
But the Gillard government yesterday affirmed its support for the race laws, and backed the independence of the judiciary in reaching the Bolt verdict.
Opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis said the ruling of Federal Court judge Mordecai Bromberg had exposed a legal flaw that limits free speech.
"The fact is today in Australia we are not free, and journalists, commentators, ordinary citizens are not free, to make critical or unpopular remarks," Senator Brandis told Sky News.
But the plaintiffs continued to celebrate the win, with former ATSIC commissioner Geoff Clark saying he hoped the decision would make people think about their views on racism. "Racism is entrenched in society - I'm probably racist myself in some regards - and we have to accept some things can't be tolerated," he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
The decision was criticised by some, including Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes, who said it "strikes me as profoundly disturbing". The judge's claim "that his judgment need not affect the media's freedom to publish reports and comments on racial identity is clearly absurd", Holmes wrote on ABC's The Drum website.
Australian Judge Censors Speech About Affirmative Action and Fraud in Racial Set-Asides
Comment on the Bolt case from America -- by lawyer Hans Bader
Political “commentator Andrew Bolt ‘was found guilty Wednesday of breaking Australian discrimination law by implying that fair-skinned Aborigines chose to identify as indigenous for profit and career advancement.’ A judge ‘said he will prohibit reproduction of the offending articles,’ and ‘Bolt and his publisher must meet with the plaintiffs to discuss appropriate court orders that would reflect the judgment.’”
This is an extremely damaging blow to free speech. The problem of fraud in affirmative action programs is neither new nor rare. People who are not minorities often pretend to be minorities in order to obtain benefits under affirmative-action programs and racial set-aside schemes (The Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the firing of two brothers who pretended to be black to receive preference in hiring). And people often push the envelope in claiming minority status when they have only a small fraction of non-white or minority ancestry. (For example, beneficiaries of affirmative action included people who were only one-quarter Hispanic, under a consent decree in the U.S. v. New York City Board of Education case.)
Australia does not have an equivalent of the American First Amendment, but that is no excuse for the judge’s verdict, since the speech restrictions in the Australian Racial Discrimination Act contain an applicable defense of “fair comment.” The judge, Mordy Bromberg, did not deny that the problem of fraud in affirmative-action programs existed, and claimed that “nothing in the orders I make should suggest that it is unlawful for a publication to deal with racial identification, including by challenging the genuineness of the identification of a group of people.” But he refused to allow the defense of fair comment mandated by the statute, because, he said, “of the manner in which that subject matter was dealt with” by the commentator.
But in truth, the principal thing distinctive about the political commentator’s “manner” was his viewpoint: he was citing affirmative action fraud to criticize affirmative action programs, rather than just to highlight particular undeserving non-minority beneficiaries of it (as even left-leaning journalists occasionally do).
The judge was offended by his viewpoint, and used that as a pretext to gut the “fair comment” defense recognized by law. As Popehat notes, people claiming to be Australian aborigines (and thus eligible for affirmative action) include people whose “face is paler than” his “Scandinavian ancestors.” The judge did find that some of Bolt’s many factual contentions were erroneous, but in truth, that was not the judge’s chief concern, as his railing about Bolt’s alleged tone (“provocative,” “inflammatory,” and “gratuitous”) and the court’s rejection of literal truth as a defense indicated (“To establish the defence of fair comment the requirement is not merely that the facts stated are true.”). The judge has indicated that he will issue “orders prohibiting the republication of the newspaper articles,” even though those articles made valid points.
In addition to being judicial overreaching, the judge’s decision flouts free-speech provisions contained in international treaties signed by Australia like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The right to criticize affirmative action is a free-speech right, even in contexts where free speech is quite limited, like the public employment setting, where the U.S. Supreme Court’s Connick v. Myers decision allows greater restrictions on speech.
For example, the California Department of Corrections attempted to fire employee John Wallace after he angrily denounced its affirmative action plan. The California Court of Appeal, however, found that his criticisms of the plan were protected by the First Amendment, and barred Wallace’s firing, in California Department of Corrections v. State Personnel Board, 59 Cal.App.4th 131 (1997).
The Australian court ruling came in the case of Eatock v. Bolt.
Mr Garnaut, climate policy should be questioned
by: Henry Ergas
ROSS Garnaut has an unusual concept of democracy. The Prime Minister goes to the country promising "there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead". Once in office, she then proposes to implement one, with the added twist of making repeal by a future government prohibitively costly. Yet, according to Garnaut, rejection of the government's proposed legislation would amount to a failure of Australian democracy on a historical scale, indeed to "a corruption of democracy" caused by "distortion of reality and abuse of truth".
But then again, Garnaut has insights ordinary mortals are denied. Talk about access all areas. For, as he told the the Joint Select Committee on Australia's Clean Energy Future Legislation earlier this week, he was assisted, in his work on the US, "by the top advisers to the President: people who report directly to the President of the United States". And how many of the great unwashed have "joined Jiang Zemin in reciting the Gettysburg Address with the fruit at the end of a meal"?
So it is even more striking that Garnaut accepts that in the US "there will be no carbon price nationwide". As for India, "for quite a while, total emissions will increase". And in China too there will be a "large increase" in emissions, albeit less than without any efforts aimed curbing their growth. Moreover, Garnaut recognises, in reducing global emissions, "there is no chance of success unless all substantial countries do their fair share".
All that, one might have thought, suggests abatement by Australia risks being both futile and costly. And that locking the country into the government's carbon scheme is at best dangerous, at worst reckless. Not so, says Garnaut. Rather, to express that concern is a distortion of reality.
Quite how stating the obvious distorts reality, Garnaut does not explain. Nor does he explain where the risks have been assessed, and shown to be worth bearing, of a scheme whose own proponents boast it would be prohibitively costly to unwind. Not that that worries Garnaut. Rather, he asserts, the government's proposal involves "reasonable economic costs".
As best one can tell, that assertion relies on Treasury's modelling. Yet no scientist would accept that modelling. Not because it is necessarily wrong but because the models and data on which it relies is secret, and hence incapable of being tested.
That is bad enough. But it has also become increasingly clear that Treasury's results depend on assumptions that were not adequately disclosed.
Three such assumptions are at the core of Treasury's recent replies to questions I put to them some time back. A first relates to the global framework for carbon emissions. Treasury, in its modelling report, assumed there would be a harmonised, global carbon price by 2016. But how was such a price established? After all, prices don't fall from the sky; rather, they emerge from the interaction of demand and supply in markets. And usually that requires some form of trading. So how was that trading going to occur, given that many key countries did not have, and would not have, any form of carbon pricing in place?
To this, it appears, the answer is as clear as mud. "The modelling does not rely on an assumption that there is a perfectly harmonised global emission trading scheme", Treasury says. But, it now admits, it does assume that even in countries such as the US, there is "some mechanism" that "allows individual firms or governments themselves to trade abatement with other countries". What mechanism? No one knows. Where is the legislation that would put such a mechanism in place? No one knows. And what happens to the assessed costs if there is no such mechanism? Again, no one knows. And since the models and data are not public, nor will they, least of all the hoi polloi who will pay the price.
In short, Treasury has assumed away the problem. Indeed, it has done so even more starkly than in its work on Rudd's carbon pollution reduction scheme. Then, the base case (against which the costs of the CPRS were assessed) involved a world without abatement targets. This time, however, the modelling starts from the premise that global abatement efforts are in place, even after the commitment period for Cancun pledges ends. So the costs for Australia are only assessed assuming global abatement will occur and persist.
It gets even better. As I suggested on these pages, and at greater length in a post on the Catallaxy website, the modelling involves an extreme assumption: that for all emissions outside Australia (so 98 per cent of emissions worldwide), merely increasing the carbon price costlessly allows emissions reductions, as carbon-saving innovations rain, like manna from heaven, on to carbon emitting processes.
In the Senate Select Committee on Scrutiny of New Taxes, Treasury claimed otherwise, saying the "marginal abatement cost curves" that effect this miracle were "fully costed". Now it accepts my contention was correct. How big an effect would this have? Likely large, as it implies a greater contraction in emissions-intensive industries than Treasury's results suggest. But can we know for sure? Not without the models and the data.
Finally, Treasury constantly repeats the claim that its modelling shows there would be no adverse impact on employment. But it now admits that in the model it uses, it takes employment five to 10 years to recover from a major shock, such as imposing a carbon tax. And here the price rises substantially each year. So how do we get the result that there is no impact on employment? Treasury waves this question away, saying that because employers will foresee carbon price rises, the impacts of continuing increases will be slight. But if anything, the exact opposite is true: because employers will know the price will rise each year, the immediate effects will be far greater than the present modelling suggests.
Extracting even these concessions has been like pulling teeth. Yet it barely scratches the surface of the problems. No wonder Garnaut would rather no questions were asked. And no wonder he feels more comfortable with Jiang than with the local debate.
But silence isn't what Australian democracy is about. Rather, it is about forcing truth from power, however painful that may be. Long may it stay that way.
Gillard to scrap army bands
This is ridiculous. The bands are a major support for morale
RESERVE forces were in uproar yesterday after the circulation of a leaked minute from the military supporting the removal of 14 regimental bands across the nation, ''effective immediately'', by repossessing their instruments.
The move, which will take away historic units such as the band of the 1/15 Parramatta Lancers, and all four university regiment bands, is part of a cost-cutting operation by the Australian Defence Force aimed at saving $20 billion in 10 years.
Critics, including Major-General Jim Barry, president of the Defence Reserves Association, claim the loss of morale and public relations presence of military bands would vastly outweigh the cost of supporting them.
A minute from army logistics, signed on August 24, said entitlement of the bands to instruments was to be revoked and running the bands would be handed to regimental associations. It is also understood band uniforms will be taken away.
According to the minute, signed by Colonel C. Purdey, scrapping the bands is in line with the Strategic Reform Program.
General Barry said the bands will go from Sydney University Regiment, and the University of NSW Regiment. Also on the hit-list were bands from units such as the 23rd Artillery in Sydney, the 2/10 Artillery based in Melbourne, the 4/19 Prince of Wales' Light Horse, also in Melbourne, the 25/49 Royal Queensland and the 10/27 Royal South Australian.
Remaining will be eight regular bands, and one reserve forces band - the Royal Australian Corps of Transport Pipes and Drums.
In 1998, there was a push to ditch the bands but it was blocked by the Howard government.
Stuart Robert, the opposition defence personnel spokesman, said the Coalition would not accept the scrapping. ''The government says they have a Strategic Reform Program, but it is really just cuts to the defence force,'' he said.
A queer clothing shop
GASP clothing has defended its position involving a customer dispute, releasing yet another jaw-dropping response. The statement came after a spat between the retailer and a customer, who was told that their clothes were too exclusive for her, turned into a viral email sensation.
Keara O'Neil was on a shopping trip to find bridesmaid dresses for her wedding and a frock for her hens night at the GASP Chapel St store on September 24 when she had a dispute with a sales assistant named "Chris".
Like a scene straight out of Pretty Woman, O'Neil, a retail assistant herself, claims Chris was initially helpful but soon turned nasty, making a dig at her size 12 frame and yelling out as she left the store, "Have fun shopping at Supre... I knew you were a joke the minute you walked in".
Distressed by the treatment, O'Neil then sent a letter to the customer service centre at GASP, which was answered by GASP area manager Matthew Chidgey.
In the email, O'Neil was told the fashion chain aims to appeal "to a very fashion forward consumer" and that the sales assistant O'Neil made a complaint about was a "retail superstar" who's "only problem is that he is too good at what he does". It went on to say, "As I am sure you are aware, people whom are talented generally do not tolerate having their time wasted, which is the reason you were provoked to leave the store...
"It is probably fair to assume a lot of what I have said in this email either doesn’t make sense to you, or you totally disagree with it" and we "respectfully ask that you side step our store."
Mr Chidgey confirmed today that the email was legitimate.
Later GASP, whose website advertises dressed priced from $100, released a statement in its defence. "We respect that not all consumers strive for a glamorous appearance; some prefer to simply blend in," the statement said.
"We respect and welcome all customers whom wish to visit our store, even though the intention to buy may not exist. But we ask that their opinions be expressed through blogs, social media or around a warm latte, but certainly not inside our stores."
It is understood GASP today closed its Facebook page following a deluge of negative comments concerning the incident.
Celebrity Ruby Rose was one of many taking to Twitter to add their views on the incident, writing: "I am actually laughing.. I can't believe gasp called themselves fashion forward.. Sweetheart you sell polyester dresses u ain't no Prada. "This can't be real hahahaha gasp sells the most cheap tacky clothing in Australia," she said.