This issue is “an old bag of veggie scraps”

The majority of Coalition backbenchers in the Senate are set to support the latest push to water down the nation’s
Politics

The majority of Coalition backbenchers in the Senate are set to support the latest push to water down the nation’s race hate laws.

Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi is this week expected to move a private member’s bill to remove the words “insult” and “offend” from the Racial Discrimination Act, meaning it would no longer be illegal to insult or offend a person on the basis of race.

Section 18C of the act makes it illegal to commit an act that is reasonably likely to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” someone because of their race or ethnicity.

Conservative MPs — still reeling from their party’s disappointing election result — say the issue is important to their base, arguing the laws, as they stand, impede free speech.

The ABC reports that at least 10 Coalition Senators — including Linda Reynolds, Chris Back, Eric Abetz, Ian MacDonald, John Williams and Barry O’Sullivan — have agreed to support the bill, as well as the bloc of One Nation senators and crossbenchers Derryn Hinch, Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm.

Senator Bernardi would not confirm which of his colleagues had signed onto the bill but said he had invited all senators to sign the “very sensible, modest and widely supported” amendments to the laws.

“Ultimately when the notice of motion is tabled, those that are prepared to have the courage of their convictions and speak up for freedom of speech will be on the record,” he said.

Nationals Senator O’Sullivan told the ABC the issue has been “hanging around like an old bag of veggie scraps” for the past 18 months and it was time to test its support in the Senate.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott abandoned plans to soften the Racial Discrimination Act in 2014 after widespread criticism, particularly from ethnic groups.

While the latest push is unlikely to succeed in the Senate, it is likely to create headaches for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has made it clear that changing the laws is not a priority for his Government, and has not made it part of the 25 point battle plan he has in place this week.

What do you think about the proposed changes to this Act?

  1. Sheila Ward  

    How. Come anything we say is taken as an offence but what is said to and about us is not? This is our country if others feel offended let them go bac to where they come from and leave the great life Aust. Has provided.

    • Dale  

      Ummmmmmm. …. A great many of the people who are increasingly “offended” are indigenous Australians. Just how do they go back to the country they came from???? Maybe it’s the offenders that need to go back to the country they came from! If you are not indigenous, that you or your ancestors came from somewhere else!!
      What a ridiculous and racist argument.

  2. Can’t change the Marriage act have to have a Plebiscite.
    but apparently changing 18C is ok to do it in parliament
    What a bunch of hypocrites

  3. colin  

    yeh, change it so I can call an overweight older person, a fat old smelly piece of white trash

  4. Gavin Weston  

    Like all remarks that offend they are done by people who do not think before they speak. So they should pay a price for offending innocent people who have not offended them. That’s “common sense”, an aspect that is fast dwindling in our society especially in the Parliament and its people. Keep it simon and then people will understand instead of the complex that appears out of Parliaments world wide.

  5. J Taylor  

    I think we need to balance to political correctness, depending how thin skinned you are it can be easy to insult and or offend some people. As a migrant of over 50 years before we all became PC our parents told us ‘ sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you’ so we ignored the insults.
    As for the same sex marriage – it should be called The Marriage Equality Act’ obviously as a democratic society we are all equal.
    Instead of complaining how much a plebasight will cost, politicians should be passing bills working hard and stop wasting our money stonewalling each other. If they are only in parliament for themselves and their party they should resign, They are employed by all the people of Australia they should be working hard for us, not them.

  6. J Taylor  

    I think we need to balance to political correctness, depending how thin skinned you are it can be easy to insult and or offend some people. As a migrant of over 50 years before we all became PC our parents told us ‘ sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you’ so we ignored the insults.
    As for the same sex marriage – it should be called The Marriage Equality Act’ obviously as a democratic society we are all equal.
    Instead of complaining how much a plebasight will cost, politicians should be passing bills working hard and stop wasting our money stonewalling each other. If they are only in parliament for themselves and their party they should resign, They are employed by all the people of Australia they should be working hard for us, not them.

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