How has Malcolm Turnbull got the politics of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act so wrong?


The SMH reports: “An overwhelming majority of Australians oppose legalising speech that “offends, insults or humiliates” on the basis of race, according to a new Fairfax-Ipsos poll that underscores the political danger the Turnbull government faces in softening the nation’s race-hate laws.

As the Senate prepares to vote on amendments to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act later this week, the poll of 1400 voters shows 78 per cent of Australians believe it should be unlawful to offend, insult or humiliate someone on the basis of their race or ethnicity.”

Even though Labor and legal experts argue that the bar to catch racist speech will be set higher under the proposal, Turnbull has declared he is not approving a watering down of race protections.

“We are strengthening it because it’s clearer, it will be a more effective protection against race/hate,” he said.

His difficulty is that he doesn’t seem to have got this message across to the Australian public.

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One of his problems is that the current legislation makes it quite clear that it illegal to offend, insult or humiliate someone on the basis of their race or ethnicity.” If you ask most Australians if they think we should get rid of this law, they are likely to say no.

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Which is what poll did, and got the predictable answer. The poll did not ask the question, “Do you think that section 18 C can be improved?”  which is probably the question that Malcolm Turnbull would have liked it to have asked.

Now it looks as if Malcolm Turnbull is trying to give free rein to the racists and bigots and extremists of the far right.

But then Malcolm Turnbull not has been getting many free kicks on this issue

 

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