PM Abbott is not content to just rewrite recent history by changing the Racial Discrimination Act, he also intends to rewrite the dictionary in the process. Reports that the Government’s new legislation will restrict defining ‘intimidate’ as meaning to ’cause fear of physical harm’ and to define ‘vilify’ as to ‘incite hatred’ drove me immediately to my bookshelf.
Neither Abbott/Brandis ‘definition’ is found as an option in my copy of The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary (4th edition, 2004). It defines intimidate as to ‘frighten or overawe, esp. to subdue or influence’ and to vilify as to ‘defame; speak evil of.’
So, the Abbott government proposes that language intended to frighten and subdue dissent, or to evilly defame others, is appropriate in their ‘freedom’ edition of modern Australia. I don’t. I’d say it’s un-Australian.
Alan Rich, Lennox Head