The Coalition government has BROKEN its' election promise to REPEAL the controversial federal 'racial hatred' law that makes it ILLEGAL to OFFEND or INSULT someone on the basis of their 'race'.
After the election, the federal government back-pedalled on the promise because of a backlash from ethnic community groups, and proposed a 'watered down' version
which REMOVED the 'offend or insult' clauses and REPLACED them with a law banning the 'incitement of hatred'. Attorney-General George Brandis then conducted an Inquiry into the new proposal. (See our Campaign Info on Inquiry etc
Understandably a lot of people are VERY UPSET about this BROKEN PROMISE - and that includes us.
Free speech campaigners Andrew Bolt and Mark Steyn are highly critical, the IPA has launched a new campaign as have the Taxpayers Alliance.
We encourage you to TAKE ACTION, by writing to PM Tony Abbott and also your Coalition MP/Senators, urging them to REPEAL 18C.
See the ACTION section BELOW.
Why did the Prime Minister BREAK his ELECTION PROMISE?
It seems it was a question of the 'race hate law' versus the 'terrorism laws'.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott made the announcement last week, in the middle of announcing that the government was planning to increase terrorism laws. He said that the proposed change to the 'racial hatred' law was a "needless complication" in the government's relationship with the Muslim community!
As one commentator said, maybe they were trying to appeal to the conservatives AND the ethnic and Muslim communities at the SAME time. The 'conservatives' want strong terrorism laws and don't want the 'race hate law' (S 18C)on 18C. Ethnic and Muslim communities DO want the current 'race hate' law and DON'T want stronger terrorism laws!
BUT neither group was happy with the compromise!
Do we really have to compromise on free speech to try and get 'unity? If we do, it is a bad sign of what lies ahead.
Mr Abbott affirms he WON'T be changing the 'race hate ' law
After being criticised by Andrew Bolt and many others (see more below) about the announcement, Mr Abbott said that he wouldn't be 'revisiting' any changes to the law. He was criticised by Tim Wilson, the Human Rights Commissioner appointed by the Abbott government, who said, "Politicians shouldn’t be worried about critics; they should actually be interested in creating the structures and frameworks in our society so that people’s human rights can be protected, not appeasing to groups just because it makes their life easier.”
In response, Family First Senator Bob Day (SA) has now announced he will move a private senator's Bill to amend the Racial Discrimination Act. He said, "A person should not be taken to court because someone says 'I was offended by what you said'."
A sentiment we endorse!
Mark Steyn expresses concern
In 2012, Mark Steyn, who was prosecuted under Canada's hatred law, toured Australia as a guest of the Institute of Public Affairs.
Mark, who says he shared a stage with Tony Abbott during the tour, is critical about the BACK-FLIP.
He wrote an article, The "Needless Complication" of Free Speech, in which he says,
"Free speech is never a "needless complication" - and certainly not compared to all the other "complications" you'll be burdened with in lieu of it. I hope Aussie readers will support the IPA's campaign for freedom of expression - at least until I get down, there in a few months to kick up some free-speech dust all over again."
The important thing here is that Canada's 'hatred law' is "now deceased" - it has been REPEALED!
A LOT of upset people . . .
Concern in the Coalition...
Perhaps Tony Abbott was listening to some Coalition MPs - like Craig Laundy
who has a western Sydney seat with a lot of Muslims - or indigenous MP Ken Wyatt
However, there is a lot of concern in the Coalition ranks about the back-down.
Several Senators (including Cory Bernardi) are concerned about the backdown and are talking about supporting a Bill by Family First's Bob Day to change the law.
At the WA Liberal Party conference last weekend, a motion was passed severely criticising the Prime Minister. The motion was “that the Liberal Party of Australia WA Division express disappointment at the federal government’s decision not to pursue, as promised, the repeal of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act”.
The motion was supported by Bill Hassell, a former Liberal leader in WA, who said, "The only thing wrong with this motion as far as I am concerned is that it is too gentle. In all honesty, when I heard the news that the government had walked away from this clear and unequivocal electoral commitment, I couldn’t believe it. When I heard the Prime Minister say that he had done it because the Muslim community was unhappy about it I found it even more incredible. The plain fact of the matter is that the government’s decision is an unconditional surrender to narrow interest groups against the interests of the Australian people..."
As someone who was taken to court under Section 18C for 'offending and insulting aborigines, Andrew Bolt has been an outspoken critic of the law - and of the backdown.
One of the international champions of free speech, Mark Steyn toured Australia in 2012 - campaigning for the repeal of Section 18C.
He has recently criticised the Prime Minister's announcement that he has DUMPED the proposal.
Read Mark's recent article... The "Needless Complication" of Free Speech, 9/8/2014.
IPA runs a campaign
IPA is campaigning against the backdown... supporters are writing to MPs...
A media release noted that there has continued to be a rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, where 'race hate' laws are in place. It began, "If The Weekend Australian
is right and ‘Failure to condemn fuels anti-Semitism’
then we had better be free to condemn rather than reinforce bullies who hide behind a veil of religious protection."
Vickie went on to cite an example where a child carried an anti-Semitic placard - the mother, who was wearing an Islamic face-covering was free from condemnation because she couldn't be identified.
Action - Support FREE speech!
1. Write to Prime Minister Tony Abbott
2. Write to your Liberal/National MP (if you have one!) and Senators.
3. Support Senator Bob Day's move to introduce a Bill into the Senate to repeal Section 18C.