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Thursday, 30 March 2017
Page: 2740

Senator HANSON (Queensland) (12:53): As I have said about section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, it is not in keeping with what I believe the majority of the people want. In listening to talkback radio and to other people who come up to me in the streets and in my office, people want what is right. They want to be able to have an opinion. They want to be able to voice their concern. As I said before—and I have said it repeatedly—about the word 'offend', not everyone likes the way other cultures dress, their music, the way they dance or whatever. If you make a comment like that, that other person may be offended by it. Is that enough grounds to take them before the courts for racial discrimination? I do not believe so.

Let us put it in the true context of what it is. Just two weeks ago, I had Bill Leak's widow and son come to visit me, in support of my stance against 18C. Johannes saw the stress that his father went through. His widow was so distraught about having lost her husband, and so she should be. They saw the stress that he was put under, with the challenges upon him, and it did have an impact on his health. They came to see me because they knew my stance against 18C and they encouraged me and others to stand up for this. Johannes said, when his father drew the cartoon, it was to send a message of what was happening in our society. It was not meant to be derogatory towards the Aboriginals—not in the slightest. He was basically saying, 'This is what is happening in our society; this is what is happening in some communities,' and that was his way of expressing it.

Isn't it funny that people who objected to the cartoon had to go out and try and find some people to complain about it? They actually went out of their way to find some people to complain about it. Is this what it is about—that you have to go and find people? What I am seeing these days in Australia is that those of the left with the socialist views are encouraging people to purposely go out and complain. I am hearing from a lot of different groups and organisations and people from different cultural backgrounds that they are not offended by this cartoon. If they are, let them stand up on their own two feet. Let them go and make a complaint. Do not find other people to go and make complaints for them and continually stir the pot. If I say anything that is derogatory or not in keeping with what the average person in Australia believes, they will judge me at the polling booth. That is what they have done and that is why I take my place here in this chamber with three other senators.

Freedom of speech is so very important. Criticism is not racism. This is all about having a debate about these issues, having your say and trying to find the right answers—and that is all Australians ask. Australians are not racist. Australians are very proud of their culture, their country and their heritage. Most Australians, including me, welcome others who have come here to this country for the freedom, the life that we have and our way of life. It is so precious to each and every one of us. Surely, we can all work together and in harmony and stop this rubbish that is going on in our country, pushed by the left side of politics.