Articles on Section 18C

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Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane says Australian political leaders have understood the importance of making minorities feel a part of the community. humanrights.gov.au

What does ‘Team Australia’ mean, Race Discrimination Commissioner asks

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane has raised questions about Tony Abbott’s term “Team Australia” and warned that the “tone” of leadership matters. The Islamic Council of Victoria this…
Anti-obscenity laws were never designed to stop racism. anguila40/Flickr

Racist rants and viral videos: why the law alone can’t end racism

Karen Bailey pleaded guilty at Downing Centre Local Court last Thursday to the crime of using offensive language. Bailey received a 12-month good behaviour bond for the offence, with no conviction recorded…
Treasurer Joe Hockey has commenced defamation proceedings against several Fairfax newspapers over the ‘Treasurer for sale’ story. AAP/Dean Lewins

Hockey’s defamation suit shows need for wider free speech debate

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s decision to sue Fairfax Media for defamation over the now-notorious front-page story “Treasurer for sale” raises interesting questions about politicians suing to protect their reputation…
Simply knowing laws against hate speech exist makes people feel less vulnerable to the racial prejudice and hostility they encounter. Warren Hudson/Wikimedia Commons

Explainer: how do Australia’s laws on hate speech work in practice?

The Abbott government’s intention to amend national racist hate speech law has reignited a debate that has raged in Australia for decades: is there a place for laws that condemn public conduct that is…
The rise of Islamophobia in Australia has left Muslims vulnerable as anti-discrimination laws cover racial but not religious vilification. AAP/Dean Lewins

A Muslim perspective on Racial Discrimination Act amendments

The markers of identification of communities have clearly moved from just race, colour and national or ethnic origin to include religion. In the case of Muslims, their faith and culture and all that it…
The tragic 200-year folly of the Crusades attests to the power of culture to shape and sustain strongly held ‘personal’ beliefs. Gustave Doré (1832-1883), Crusade against the Moors of Granada/Wikimedia Commons

A bigot’s ‘rights’ ignore how culture shapes our brains

There is no gene for bigotry. Bigots are not born, they are made by the people and the society around them. Our brains and minds are shaped by culture. To quote a great American linguist, Edward Sapir…
George Brandis wants to protect the ‘right to be a bigot’ in the name of free speech. But the government may seek to remove such a right in relation to corporations. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

In the government’s hierarchy of values, is free speech at the top?

The federal government has indicated that it is considering repealing an exemption in the Competition and Consumer Act that provides for boycotts of companies on environmental grounds. The government is…
It is disingenuous for attorney-general George Brandis and the government to isolate Section 18C as the sole enemy to free speech. AAP/Stefan Postles

Section 18C and unravelling the government’s ‘freedom agenda’

It is remarkable that the Abbott government has singled out one law, Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, as stifling free expression, but has remained silent on other more draconian laws that…
AAP/Stefan Postles

Rights to bigotry and green lights to hate

Poor George Brandis. Our Attorney-General seems to have wedged himself on the issue of racial vilification. Soon after the election of the Abbott government, Senator Brandis defiantly declared that repeal…
Attorney-general George Brandis has released proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Race act changes are what you get when you champion bigotry

Federal attorney-general George Brandis is serious when he says that under his watch, “people do have a right to be bigots”. As drafted (and it is very poorly drafted), his proposed changes to sections…
An ideal marketplace of ideas would allow for stupidity and prejudice to be exposed without the need for the race hate laws which were used to prosecute Andrew Bolt. AAP/Julian Smith

Bolt, Brandis and the double standard on free speech

It was the ultimate irony. On this week’s Q&A, host Tony Jones issued an apology on behalf of both Indigenous academic Marcia Langton and the ABC for Langton implying on the previous week’s program…
Federal attorney-general George Brandis wants to champion a ‘classical liberal’ approach to human rights, but what does this actually mean? AAP/Daniel Munoz

What is a ‘classical liberal’ approach to human rights?

Tim Wilson, Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner, has announced that he will take a “classical liberal” approach to human rights. There is a fair degree of confusion about what this means. Classical liberalism…
Federal attorney-general George Brandis argues that the current debate on racial vilification laws centres on the regulation of free speech. AAP/Daniel Munoz

What do Australian internet users think about racial vilification?

Some time in the near future, federal attorney-general George Brandis will take a proposal to cabinet to amend or repeal the racial vilifications provisions (Sections 18C and 18D) of the Racial Discrimination…

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