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Abbott: protections against race hate speech 'un-Australian'



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THE HON TONY BURKE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR WATSON

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY MEMBER FOR ISAACS

ABBOTT: PROTECTIONS AGAINST RACE HATE SPEECH “UNAUSTRALIAN”

In another sign of Malcolm Turnbull’s inability to control the right wing of his party, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has this morning made an outrageous set of statements about Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

On RN Breakfast this morning, Mr Abbott called the AHRC a “crook” organisation who acted like “thought police”, and made people to feel “un-Australian”.

This is a step too far, even for Mr Abbott. Is he seriously suggesting the AHRC are acting like criminals?

If upholding protections against racial hate speech is “un-Australian”, what exactly is Mr Abbott suggesting is the proper Australian way? Are Mr Abbott and Prime Minister Turnbull happy to treat racist speech as a normal part of Australian life?

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Australia Tony Burke said “I find the way this is being argued to be quite extraordinary. It is beyond belief that some people see one person hurling racist abuse at another, yet all their sympathy goes to the person hurling the abuse.”

“The person hurling the racist insults is not the victim.”

“Those who want to change 18C need to tell us, what racist speech do they want to permit?”

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said: “Racism, bigotry, and discrimination are not an acceptable part of Australian life. That is why we have Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it unlawful to insult offend, intimidate or humiliate another Australian on the basis of race.”

It is beyond time for Prime Minister Turnbull to call out the members of his right-wing backbench who are driving this ideological agenda against 18C. By not publicly distancing himself from comments like Mr Abbott’s, he is condoning them.

Mr Turnbull must answer - does he agree that protections against racial hate speech is “un-Australian”? When will he stand up for the AHRC, in simply doing its job in upholding Australian law?

At a time when Australians should be coming together, Mr Turnbull and his colleagues are trying to drive them apart. Mr Turnbull should be utterly ashamed.

FRIDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2016

MEDIA CONTACT: ASH BERDEBES (BURKE) 0403 288 479 JOANNA HEATH (DREYFUS) 0427 915 633