THE radio station 2UE has found a novel way to deal with the anti-hate laws its presenters find so troublesome: plead the constitution.

Its presenters, John Laws and Steve Price, had a combined rant about the gay couple on Channel Nine’s renovation show, The Block, in 2003, using the terms “poofs” and “grubby” in their extended attack.

A complaint was filed by Gary Burns, alleging they had breached anti-vilification provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act. They make it unlawful to incite hatred of homosexuals. Protections also exist for race, transsexuality or having HIV or AIDS

Mr Burns filed another complaint against Mr Laws over his on-air comments in 2004 about Carson Kressley, the host of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which included the terms “pillow-biter” and “pompous little pansy prig”.

But both of Mr Burns’s complaints - and any other made under the vilification laws - could be thwarted if 2UE’s constitutional argument succeeds.

It says that the right to freedom of political communication - inferred from the constitution by the High Court - means state anti-vilification laws should be declared invalid. In the event of a conflict, federal laws trump state laws. If its invalidity claim does not succeed, it says the laws should be restricted to allow for the freedom of political speech.

The Attorney-General, Bob Debus, has intervened in the case, claiming the Administrative Decisions Tribunal’s appeal panel does not have the power to decide constitutional matters.

Three Court of Appeal judges have reserved their decision. (SMH)