THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURALISM
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
SIGNS THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT WILL REPEAL 18C GIVEN THE CHANCE
The Abbott Government has made it clear that they will try to resurrect their plans to repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
Western Australian Senator Dean Smith said yesterday he is disappointed the current debate over the repeal of Section 18C is over, blaming Senator Brandis for the Government’s inability to sell their changes:
…It is disappointing that the debate has gone. I accept the reasons for the debate having now passed us, but I have no doubt the debate will come back again in a different form. I do not doubt for a second that it might come back in a form in which it finds support because some of the rough edges of the original proposal have been cut off and that we can find agreement and progress with some common ground around some amendments that reflect the country we want to be but also provide some of those protections to those who feel a little more vulnerable, who are not yet convinced that we can be the best we can be.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to speak on this bill. I do not agree with the motion; I think we can do better. We should always be open to the idea of reform, and I suspect that in coming months in this chamber, this Senate—and I hope in this parliament—the Australian community will again have an opportunity to debate this issue in another form.
SENATE – 27 AUGUST 2014
Labor remains very concerned that it’s only a matter of time before the Abbott Government tries again to weaken protections against racism and bigotry.
The backdown on changes to 18C was forced on Prime Minister Tony Abbott. He said these changes had “become a complication we just don’t need”. For now.
But the Prime Minister refused to retreat from his Government’s view that Australians have a right to be bigots.
Senator Smith’s contribution to this debate confirms it.
Communities around Australia have made their view clear. Section 18C has served Australians well for almost 20 years and should not be changed.
The Prime Minister conceded now is not the right time to proceed with changes to the Racial Discrimination Act but his Government has clearlyfailed to abandon the plan to repeal 18C completely.
Labor will fight to make sure any there is no further attempt to remove protections against racist hate speech.
THURSDAY, 28 AUGUST 2014