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Laughing off criticism: Tim WilsonSource: Supplied
TIM Wilson has laughed off the torrent of social media criticism directed at him following his appointment as Australia's new Human Rights Commissioner, saying he is ``ecstatic'' to have helped trigger a new debate about the subject.
Mr Wilson told The Australian his appointment would take effect in February and that he would prepare by re-reading John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, The Hedgehog and the Fox by Isaiah Berlin and The Soul of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde.
Critics of Mr Wilson have flocked to social media to attack his appointment, including former Fairfax columnist Catherine Deveny who tweeted that Mr Wilson would restore balance because there were ``not enough c-nts''.
Current Fairfax columnist Mike Carlton sought to ridicule the appointment by questioning whether Mr Wilson would be promoted to a three star general. Mr Carlton followed the comment by writing ``LMFAO'' - commonly used as an abbreviation for ``laughing my f-cking arse off.''
When asked what his reaction was to some of the more vituperative tweets posted about his appointment, Mr Wilson replied by saying: ``All I do is laugh at them''.
``Honestly, I'm just laughing, amazed at the number of people who suddenly have a view about me. I consider myself to be a basic, normal person,'' Mr Wilson said.
``Some of them are hilarious. I'm just confused as to why they're their spending their time doing these things.''
Mr Wilson said he would take his new role seriously and believed that it was a time of ``opportunity and growth'' for the Australian Human Rights Commission. He suggested it would be able to ``refocus its work''.
``I'm obviously going to making a contribution to how I think it should be re-focussed,'' he said.
Former human rights commissioner Sev Ozdowski has lashed out at Mr Wilson's critics, accusing them of double standards.
Prominent Australian left wing academic, Robert Manne -who specifically requested that his quotes be run in full or not at all - expressed doubt yesterday about Mr Wilson's past comments.
``As Tim Wilson appears to believe that Edward Snowden ought to be imprisoned as a traitor for exposing to the world the extraordinary threat to our freedoms posed by the activities of the US National Security Agency, and as I believe he advocated turning water cannon onto Occupy Melbourne protesters as an instance of his support for the principle of freedom of assembly, and as he certainly believes that the tepid Labor Government media reform proposals form a greater threat to freedom and democracy than News Corp's ownership of two-thirds of the Australian metropolitan press, his choice as our Freedom Commissioner seems to me rather odd,'' he said.