The Turnbull Govt: The New Face of Racism.
The Turnbull Government, you know the one that dismissed marriage equality as a ‘peripheral issue’ has been obsessing over its apparent inability to slander black people and so today on Harmony Day has approved changes to the Racial Discrimination Act effectively watering down protections against racial minorities.
In a peculiar premonition of perhaps his own political fortunes [what’s left of] Malcolm Turnbull said that the language in a section of the Racial Discrimination Act had ‘lost credibility and will be replaced.’
Amendments to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act will include the removal of the offences ‘insult’, ‘humiliate’, and ‘offend’ to be replaced by the higher test of ‘harass’.
The test to be applied in complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission will be the standard of a ‘reasonable member of the community’.
The commission will also have greater powers to filter complaints which are deemed to be frivolous or without merit and those who are the subject of the complaint will get an early warning when a complaint is lodged.
‘We are defending Australians from racial vilification by replacing language which has been discredited and … has lost the credibility that a good law needs,’ Mr Turnbull said.
‘We need to restore confidence to the Racial Discrimination Act and to the Human Rights Commission’s administration of it.’
The changes struck a balance between protecting people from racial vilification while defending and enabling free speech, and had support across the political spectrum, he said
Opposition leader Bill Shorten says consequences of this amendment will mean it is ‘easier for people to be insulted or humiliate on the basis of their race.’
‘This is not leadership, this is not what Australia is about,’ he said.
‘This isn’t about free speech; it’s about the prime minister appeasing his party.’
How much more will Australia throw overboard to save one man’s job?’
‘Labor will never support the right to be a bigot.’
The proposed amendment faces obstacles in the senate, with crossbencher Nick Xenophon saying his party ‘does not support the changes.’
‘The Nick Xenophon team does not support the Government’s proposed changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.’
‘But we do support sensible changes to the process involved in the handling of such complaints so the process does not become a punishment.’
Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act currently makes it an offence to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate an individual or people based on race.
Liberal Senator James Paterson says he’s ‘very happy’ with the updates to the law.
‘I’m very happy but we must recognise it is a compromise.
‘The administration of 18C, up until now, has been woefully inadequate,’ he told Sky News.
The laws will be taken first to the Senate where they will be introduced by Attorney-General George Brandis.