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Turnbull's test on 18C



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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

TURNBULL'S TEST ON 18C

Today's cabinet meeting will be a major test for Prime Minister Turnbull - does he have the backbone to stand up for protections against racial hate speech?

His government has been told loud and clear by Australia's modern, multicultural community - do not change this law.

Mr Turnbull's own inquiry, set up to push the agenda of weakening sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act, recommended no change.

The only people calling for change are the hard right of the Prime Minister's own party. If changes to 18C are announced, we will know that he has buckled.

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Australia Tony Burke said: "The ideological fixation with these laws is not about allowing more free speech. It’s about allowing more hate speech.”

“What kind of a legacy would that be? Imagine being the Prime Minister who, during the re-emergence of One Nation, decided to allow more racial hate speech.”

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said: "Sections 18C and 18D have worked well together for years, providing a balance between free speech and protections against hate speech."

"Any change to these laws sends a terrible message - that it is ok to use racial hate speech in Australia."

When it comes to the far right of his party, or the millions of people who have experienced racism in Australia, Mr Turnbull must make the right choice.

Australians of all backgrounds will not readily forget this decision.

As long as the Liberal Party are in power, 18C is not safe.

TUESDAY, 14 MARCH 2017

MEDIA CONTACTS: ASH BERDEBES (BURKE) 0403 288 479 JO HEATH (DREYFUS) 0427 915 633