Time For Turnbull To Rule Out Changes To Hate Speech Laws

In the latest test of his leadership, Mr Turnbull must stand up and categorically condemn members of his own party who are once again attacking Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.  And Mr Turnbull must rule out any dirty deal with the Senate cross bench in which our long-standing protections against racist hate speech become a bargaining chip.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

THE HON TONY BURKE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR WATSON

  

TIME FOR TURNBULL TO RULE OUT CHANGES TO HATE SPEECH LAWS

In the latest test of his leadership, Mr Turnbull must stand up and categorically condemn members of his own party who are once again attacking Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.  And Mr Turnbull must rule out any dirty deal with the Senate cross bench in which our long-standing protections against racist hate speech become a bargaining chip.

For over twenty years, the Racial Discrimination Act has been a key part of Australia’s legal protection against racist hate speech. The latest attack on Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is not about freedom of speech, but an ignorant attack on the rights of Australians to live without fear of being abused or vilified because of their race, colour or ethnic origin. Labor calls on proponents of scrapping Section 18C to explain what they think people should be able to say in public that’s currently not permitted.

Labor has always stood firm with the Australian community on this matter. What Senator Brandis infamously claimed was a right to be a bigot should not be prioritised above the rights of all Australians to live in dignity as part of a united multicultural community.

It is time for Mr Turnbull to step up and categorically rule out any changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Mr Turnbull’s refusal so far to condemn this attack on Australia’s protections against racist hate speech is a reflection of the spinelessness of the Turnbull Government and on Mr Turnbull’s utter lack of leadership within the Liberal Party.

Attacks on Section 18C have always been on the absurd assertion that racially vilifying individuals in public is necessary to support freedom of speech in our country. It is not and that absurdity was admitted to in 2014 when even the Abbott Government admitted its mistake and withdrew its plans to repeal Section 18C.

Mr Turnbull must show leadership for a change and categorically rule out any changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

MONDAY, 15 AUGUST 2016