Articles on Section 18C

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Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday that changing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act ‘was not a priority’. Joel Carrett/AAP

Turnbull’s backbench muscles up

Malcolm Turnbull’s rhetoric this week has been designed to put the heat on Labor over budget repair. But he has three grassfires on his hands even before the new parliament starts on August 30 – and they’re…
While there are legitimate grounds for critique of Section 18C, David Leyonhjelm’s ‘test’ case is not the ideal candidate. AAP/Lukas Coch

Could Section 18C protect ‘angry white males’ like David Leyonhjelm?

David Leyonhjelm's complaint over being called an 'angry white male' could showcase the difficulty in launching a successful action under Section 18C and undermine an argument in support of repeal.
While most people would assume being the victim of racism can’t be good for us, being a perpetrator of racism is also bad for our health. from www.shutterstock.com.au

Does racism make us sick?

In highlighting the importance of retaining section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus said racial discrimination can make people sick.
Pauline Hanson’s return to politics provides a catalyst for a likely intense debate over multiculturalism in the coming months and years. AAP/Dave Hunt

Why multicultural policy looms as a Senate bargaining chip

How will the oft-proclaimed 'most successful multicultural nation in the world' handle the rumbling of multiculturalism's opponents?
The car that was set ablaze outside Perth’s Thornlie Mosque. Offensive graffiti was also scrawled on a wall nearby. AAP

Can religious vilification laws protect religious freedoms?

Legislating against racial and religious vilification is highly fraught, as the ongoing debate around Section 18C has demonstrated, and unlikely to become less so any time soon.
Tony Abbott promised the IPA that his government would repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act – only to renege on this when in government. AAP/Mick Tsikas

With friends like these: just how close are the Liberal Party and IPA?

The Institute of Public Affairs was founded by rich men with rich men’s interests at its core, albeit with obligatory nods to the national interest.
Most Australians are unlikely to be able to describe the doctrine of the separation of powers, but they’re quick to assert their liberties under the rubric of a ‘fair go’. AAP/Richard Milnes

Gillian Triggs: How the ‘fair go’ became the last bulwark for Australia’s freedoms

The government’s uncontested assessment of national interest and security often trumps the rule of domestic and international law, as well as Australia’s obligations under human rights treaties.
In Tony Abbott’s worldview, it seems, a person’s freedom of speech depends whose side they are on. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Abbott spins tangled web of free speech and editorial judgement

In all the politicking and government attacks on the ABC for giving a platform to former terror suspect Zaky Mallah, the free speech debate has become confused.
Family First senator Bob Day’s proposed changes to Section 18C have been given fresh prominence since the Charlie Hebdo attacks. AAP/Lukas Coch

Charlie Hebdo attacks provide a false pretext for 18C debate

Early in 2014, federal Attorney-General George Brandis released a proposal to significantly amend our law against racial vilification, Sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act, on the strength…
French comedian Dieudonné has just been charged as an ‘apologist for terrorism’ for his Facebook posting ‘Je me sens Charlie Coulibaly’ (I feel I am Charlie Coulibaly). EPA/Didier Jouret

Speech in France is not so free as Section 18C critics would have it

Recent commentary about the so-called “French” idea of free speech is fuelling confusion and misinformation in the debate about Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 in Australia. Human Rights…
Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has argued for Australia’s racial discrimination laws to be revisited in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France. AAP/Alan Porritt

Repealing 18C would leave Jews exposed as Muslims already are

Let’s be clear about one thing as the loony right once more revisits with slavering lips their thwarted desire to allow racial vilification to run untrammelled through Australian society. Nothing that…
Howard-era Human Rights Commissioner Sev Ozdowski is the new chairman of the revamped Australian Multicultural Council. AAP/Matthias Engesser

New Multicultural Council signals a broader shift to the right

Late in December, I took a phone call from a young woman working for the Department of Social Services. She had called, she said, because the department was checking its database of contacts, so that the…
While African Australians can express themselves in ethnic events such as Sydney’s Africulture festival, they still have almost no presence in mainstream media debate, even when it’s about them. AAP/Newzulu/Teresa Parker

Debate on free speech alone means little for minorities

Recent debates about freedom of expression in Australia have largely neglected the ethnic minority media sector. These debates came to a head in the lead-up to the federal government’s recent decision…

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