SUBJECT/S: Section 18C
THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
90 SECOND STATEMENT ON 18C
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 20 MARCH 2017
This week the Prime Minister faces a major test.
Does he stand on the side of bigots, or on the side of multicultural Australia?
If this government proposes any change to 18C – no matter how innocuous it looks – it will mean one thing. A green light for racist hate speech in Australia.
In August last year, this is what the Prime Minister said about section 18c, in a media interview:
…it is not going to create an extra job. It is not going to ensure that your listeners are going to get to work or get to school, or get around their business sooner. It’s not going to build an extra road.
3AW 19 August 2016
Now, the Prime Minister has given in to his right-wing masters and changes are being considered.
It’s particularly galling that the government wants to promote racist hate speech in the same week as the International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Make no mistake – the debate on 18C has nothing to do with free speech. This government only argues for free speech when it suits them.
Just ask the Minister for Immigration – he says there should be free speech for racists but not for CEOs advocating for marriage equality.
The Prime Minister must rule out any weakening of Australia’s protection against racist hate speech.