Turnbull fails to rule out changes to 18C

Prime Minister Turnbull was given repeated opportunities to stand up to Cory Bernardi and his right-wing cabal in Question Time today and rule out weakening protections against race hate speech. He failed.

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  

 

TURNBULL FAILS TO RULE OUT CHANGES TO 18C

 

Prime Minister Turnbull was given repeated opportunities to stand up to Cory Bernardi and his right-wing cabal in Question Time today and rule out weakening protections against race hate speech. He failed.

On day two of the 45th Parliament, Mr Turnbull is facing open rebellion on Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act from all but one of his coalition backbench Senators.

Asked twice by Labor to definitively rule out changes to 18C, the best Prime Minister Turnbull could offer was that it “was not a priority”. He again stated that he believed there were good arguments for destroying precious protections against race hate speech in their current form.

Make no mistake – this is as good as giving Senator Bernardi a green light to continue his campaign to allow bigots to offend and insult on the basis of race.

This is the first serious test of Mr Turnbull’s leadership in the 45th Parliament, and he has abjectly failed. If Mr Turnbull had any spine at all, he would have publicly denounced Senator Bernardi and pledged his support for the Racial Discrimination Act, which has functioned well for decades in maintaining a balance between free speech and protections for vulnerable people in our society.

Labor fought to maintain protections against race hate speech in the 43rd Parliament, and we will continue to fight against this continued threat which Mr Turnbull has failed to shut down. He should be ashamed.

WEDNESDAY, 31 AUGUST 2016