Controversial case of alleged racial vilification thrown out

There has been much discussion over a need to change section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act after three Queensland

There has been much discussion over a need to change section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act after three Queensland University of Technology students were embroiled in controversy over comments published on Facebook following an incident in a computer lab.

Section 18C makes it unlawful to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person or group on the grounds of race.

When it first made headlines, Cindy Prior, an indigenous staff member at the university, lodged a complaints under the Act after a student, Alex Wood, posted on Facebook in 2013: “Just got kicked out of the unsigned indigenous computer room. QUT is stopping segregation with segregation.”

A further comment was added by another student, Jackson Powell, saying “I wonder where the white supremacist lab is.” While a third man, Calum Thwaites, is alleged to have written: “ITT N—–s”, though he denies the claim.

Prior accused the three men of racial vilification and sued for $250,000 for damages, lost wages and future economic loss.

However, a Brisbane judge has thrown out the case of alleged racial vilification at QUT, and it looks as though the Government will be launching an inquiry into the country’s race hate laws in the coming weeks.

Federal Court judge Michael Jarrett dismissed the case.

In his written statement, the judge said the comments were not made because of Prior’s race and were not likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate indigenous people.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has indicated an inquiry into the 18C provision and freedom of speech will commence. This follows support from all but one Coalition senate backbencher to have section 18C changed as well as support from the lower house.

The change proposed is that the words “insult” and “offend” would be removed from the Act.

“In this area, many people feel that the provisions of 18C oppose unreasonable restraints on free speech, or impose restraints on free speech over and above what is needed to prevent hate speech,” Turnbull told the media on November 4.

What are your thoughts on the proposed changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act? Have you ever been on the receiving end of comments designed to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate? Share your stories with us.

  1. Bruce  

    All this PC nonsense is the result of kids being told for the past 40 years “if you don’t go to university you’ll never amount to anything”. Now we have a generation of university graduates (lawyers, pyschologists etc) looking for lucrative employment but there isn’t enough for them all so they create taxpayer funded red herrings to try and justify their existences. Meanwhile there aren’t enough people to do manual labour so everyone has trouble getting tradesmen etc to do the real work.

  2. Greg Hills  

    I agree with have a generation of people who have been fed this silly notion that you need to go to University.
    No one needs to go to University at all. There is a place for it. We need to train Doctors, Solicitors, etc., but there are way too many useless degrees – I mean, the Arts is a fine example of a degree that is a nothing degree.
    When an Arts student graduates with a degree, they rightfully can’t get a meaningful job because their degree doesn’t train them to actually do anything.
    So, they just go back to Uni. And do a post graduate course and then come out again and they are still aren’t trained to actually do anything.
    All this cycle creates is a generation of profession University students with nothing better to do than try and create the “politically correct” guidelines that they then try and impose on everyone else. Even if their views are not representative or appropriate.
    One such example is their campaign to have the name “Christmas” removed from the annual holiday season at the end of the year. The name is a tradition, and should and will always remain. Regardless of what they think, even if they give the impression that the name “offends” mini ritzy religious groups.
    In reality those groups know the term for what it represents to Christians and accept it, because they want to be tolerated too, and live in harmony in their new country.

  3. Greg Hills  

    Sorry, I did type “minor religious groups” NOT “mini ritzy groups” that good old auto correct decided was appropriate – with no regard to good grammar, spelling or common sense!

  4. Nancy Taylor  

    I believe the word “offend” should be removed as it is too open to interpretation but the other words should stay.

  5. Guy Flavell  

    This section 18c of the Act is pure nonsense and should be removed immediately.
    Press freedom is completely hamstrung in offering sensible editorials or comment.
    Andrew Bolt’s blog is a perfect example of these unjust limitations following his successful
    charging under 18c. I’m a regular contributor to his blog but have had at least 20 sets of honestly made and quite reasonable conservative comments deleted by his moderators in
    fear of the dreadful ramifications of this disgraceful Act. Where oh where is our wonderful country heading when our freedom of speech has been seriously curtailed to pacify the bleating of the Socialist Left and the loathsome, anti-Australian Communist Greens morons.

  6. Look I don’t know where most of you people come from but going to uni has nothing to do with insulting or offending there are so many times in the past few month that I have heard the comments that people would deem racist or offending if you were watching the ABC to night you would know what I mean, Are talking about people that use the words I was in the pub a bloke a bit under the weather used the words bloody wog you c!!!!!nt you guna give me a lift home To which I said F!!!!!!k of you K!!!!!i D!!ck H!!!ad is this racist and degrading and offending or 2 blokes in court suing for 1/4 mill each for not shouting last, 18C is only there to appease the immigrants and the lefties which is a joke because most can look after themselves and we don’t go around abusing people in Australia well not the majority of us anyway, an over reaction on the part of the government

    • Guy Flavell  

      Russell, an interesting and down-to-earth comment … once you’d worked your way through the total lack of punctuation. Mate, 200 odd words without a FULL STOP is hard going !!!
      You are completely correct though that section 18c is a travesty and should be reformed immediately by our pollies. In addition, Ms.Triggs, the incompetent left-wing Labor stooge, should be dismissed from the HRC asap.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *