"If elected as PM, Tony Abbott says he would remove section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act as part of a "new debate about freedom of speech". Is freedom of speech more important than the Racial Discrimination Act? What do you think about his proposal?"
Opposition leader Tony Abbott tells Institute of Public Affairs the coalition will repeal racial discrimination laws if it forms government.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he will open new debate about freedom of speech by rolling back racial discrimination laws if elected prime minister.
A coalition government would repeal laws prohibiting statements that offend people on racial or ethnic grounds, Mr Abbott said in an address in Sydney on Monday.
In a speech at an Institute of Public Affairs function, Mr Abbott said that as prime minister, he would remove section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act as part of a "new debate about freedom of speech".
Under the current law, statements are prohibited if they "offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate" people based on race and ethnicity.
"Making the likelihood of causing offence to a group the test of acceptable behaviour goes way beyond the time-honoured remedy when a particular victim has been brought into hatred, ridicule, or contempt," Mr Abbott told the function.
"A hurt feelings test is impossible to comply with while maintaining the fearless pursuit of truth."
Mr Abbott's speech came after he wrote in The Australian newspaper on Monday that section 18C of the act was a "threat" to freedom of speech.
"Expression or advocacy should never be unlawful merely because it is offensive," he wrote.
He again defended News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt, who was ruled to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act in articles he wrote on fair-skinned Aborigines.
The articles, published in 2009, were headlined "It's so hip to be black" and "White fellas in the black".
Mr Abbott said while the articles were not Mr Bolt's finest, the commentator should have been afforded the right of freedom of speech.
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06-08-2012 12:57 #1
Abbott to roll back discrimination laws....
06-08-2012 13:04 #2
06-08-2012 13:13 #3Senior Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
I can't even say anything apart from "I am scared for this Nation".
06-08-2012 13:14 #4
Would like to say so many things but they would all be starred out.
I have a very different opinion about free speech than Mr Abbott. I don't believe free speech should be letting anyone say whatever they want. I think this is another terrible suggestion from Mr Abbott.
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06-08-2012 13:17 #5
There's free speech and then there's hate speech.
06-08-2012 13:22 #6
Never thought I'd say this but - BRING BACK KEVIN RUDD!!
06-08-2012 13:26 #7-
- Join Date
- Sep 2009
OP, I am disgusted about this. He has a well known dislike of homosexuals and other minority groups and he is entering a dangerous territory. I for one, know the Aboriginals will not be very happy with this one.
I wouldn't want to be messing with them. I believe I recently read somewhere that we have over 2,5 million people from different race/ethnics than West European.
I don't think I would want to upset 2,5 million people in 1 go. Doesn't he realize that those people also have a right to vote???
06-08-2012 13:51 #8Senior Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
I don't normally get involved in political threads, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to regret doing so now, but... (deep breath)
I actually think Tony Abbott has a point.
The labour government has indicated that it may not approve a new news regulator, unless a number of media outlets 'better regulate' themselves. The current government has made various complaints about media reporting, particularly with regard to reports that do not favour government policy or opinion.
Ray Finkelstein advocates putting several individuals (who would be funded by the government) in charge of media regulation. The Coalition opposes this suggestion, and views it as contradictory to our ideals of freedom of speech, saying that we do not need further regulation in our media - and that it is not in the public's best interest. I agree with this.
Tony Abbott does not support 'hate speech' and makes it quite clear that (in his words) it is 'deplorable' to insult, humiliate, or intimidate others.
However, his point is that legislating on grounds of 'hurt feelings' is impossible.
06-08-2012 14:03 #9
WTF?? I also really fear for the nation we will become if he gets in.
and I agree with a PP, bring back Rudd
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06-08-2012 14:10 #10
Sheesh! Abbott really wants the votes. I think this decision is out of touch for most Aussies and will open up for exactly what this law was suppose to stand for. What a disappointment.
He should look at when people's feelings get hurt? Um when they're (among other things) humiliated, insulted or intimidated especially when it's based on something about them they cannot control (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc).
I guess we'll see how it goes if it comes to fruition although I hope it doesn't!
Last edited by Chillies; 06-08-2012 at 14:19.
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