"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" is a quote made famous by English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her biography of Voltaire, the French philosopher.
It was first printed more than a century ago but it's as true today as it ever was.
The Border Mail's Facebook page was flooded with negative commentary on Wednesday night after a story went online regarding Wodonga councillor Danny Lowe's attire on Australia Day.
Before I go on, let me make a couple of things clear: I think Cr Lowe looked great with his colourful shirt and broad-brimmed hat. Not only was he being sun-smart in the midst of a scorching run of hot weather, he was showing that it's OK to be a bit different and isn't that what Australia Day's all about - to welcome all aspects of society on a day of celebration?
If you need proof of my position on this, refer back to the editorial from January 17 which said Prime Minister Scott Morrison looked "foolish" for trying to implement a dress code at Australia Day ceremonies.
Just because Kevin Mack and Dean Rees wore suits and ties at the Albury and Wangaratta ceremonies, doesn't mean Cr Lowe is obliged to do the same at Wodonga. The cap-wearing councillor has always done things his way and that's a good thing.
That said, real estate agent and community radio announcer Des Lonergan is entitled to his view on an issue which was put on the agenda by the prime minister.
Mr Lonergan made the comments at a public forum, a meeting of the city's Ratepayers Association, where it's quite clear a lot of Wednesday night's Facebook audience weren't in attendance.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The story was balanced in that Cr Lowe was given the opportunity to respond to Mr Lonergan's claims and he was classy with his reply, saying the pair were in "in two different eras … (and) fashion is an individual statement".
Hall's quote has been used to describe the principle of "freedom of speech", but the trouble is it's something too many people on social media only believe in as long as you agree with them.
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