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Malcolm Turnbull refuses to rule out changes to the Racial Discrimination Act



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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

MALCOLM TURNBULL REFUSES TO RULE OUT CHANGES TO THE RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACT

The Prime Minister is still refusing to rule out changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.

After thousands of submissions from people who reject watering down the laws against hate speech, Malcolm Turnbull has proved that the voices on the hard right of his back bench are more important.

After months of debate, all Malcolm Turnbull can say is the issue is worthy of more debate.

If he really cared about our multicultural society and the importance of mutual respect, then he should shut down the push to weaken our laws against racial hate speech.

But by refusing to rule out changes to section 18C, he is sending a message to all bigots.

Liberal backbenchers like David Coleman and Craig Laundy called the attack on 18C an “ideological frolic” and said it “shouldn’t be tinkered with”. Even ministers Julie Bishop, Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce have felt free to declare their position, calling the debate a “distraction”. Why doesn’t Malcolm Turnbull make his position known?

There is a core of the Liberal Party who think that racial hate speech is ‘just words’.

Why is the only freedom of speech that they care about the freedom to use racial hate speech? They don’t care about freedom of speech when it comes to defamation law. They don’t argue for freedom of speech when we’re talking about whistleblowers.

In the interview with Sabra Lane this morning, Mr Turnbull still refused to rule out watering down section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

If Malcolm Turnbull cared about our multicultural community, he would rule out any change which will permit more hate speech.

THURSDAY, 2 MARCH 2017

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