Abbott planning to change racial vilification law

August 8, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
Read on for article

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has claimed that, if elected, his Government will repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act under which this causing offence to a person or a group of people on the grounds of race or ethnicity may face prosecution.

Tony Abbott

Michael Danby

Federal Labor MP Michael Danby said: “Tony Abbott’s promise to scrap racial vilification laws is a worry and might give the green light to bigoted groups like the Larouchites and Adelaide Institute. The reason the Australian Jewish community and many others fought for these laws was that racial hatred from these elements was getting out of hand in mid 1990. We don’t want to go back to that darkness. Some people were left uncomfortable with the Andrew Bolt decision. I know Andrew Bolt and he may have been misguided, but he is not a racist. Will this be the kind of Australia we might expect under Tony Abbott where laws are varied to suit mates, whether they be Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart or Andrew Bolt. Tony Abbott may be jeopardizing the many for the few. Free speech is cherished in Australia at the same time as the Australian fair go mentality allows people to feel safe from fear, racial hatred and vilification. This announcement is a mistake borne of Tony Abbott listening too much to Sydney talkback radio. He should be listening to the rest of Australia too. Racial vilification is illegal for good reason. Getting rid of those laws could again unleash bigotry on ethnic communities in this country.

Executive Director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry  Peter Wertheim added: “Tony Abbott’s announcement took us by surprise. I understand that the Opposition is planning to replace Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act with criminal sanctions akin to common law offences of incitement and ‘causing fear’.  I have sought a meeting with the Opposition leader and Shadow Attorney General to try to clarify the details of the Opposition’s policy before commenting further”.

Peter Wertheim

NSW Opposition leader, Mr John Robertson and NSW Upper House MP, Mr Walt Secord, who is also NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel Deputy chair have joined together to express their support for anti-racial vilification laws.

Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott has pledged, if elected, his Government will repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act under which this causing offence to a person or a group of people on the grounds of race or ethnicity may face prosecution.

John Robertson and Walt Secord

Mr Robertson and Mr Secord said anti-racial vilification laws must remain and expressed their opposition to Federal Liberal leader Tony Abbott’s promise.

Mr Secord said: “There is no place in our society for hate speech and the anti-racial vilification laws must remain to protect the vulnerable.”

“In NSW, we had bi-partisan support for racial vilification laws. In fact, in 1989 the NSW Parliament under then-Liberal Premier Nick Greiner – with bipartisan support from then-Opposition leader Bob Carr – passed Australia’s first anti-racial vilification laws,” Mr Secord said.

“At the time, there was strong support from NSW’s Jewish, Asian and Aboriginal communities for anti-racial vilification laws. It was a welcome law which carried bipartisan support.”

Mr Robertson said: “Tony Abbott’s plan to remove racial vilification laws is nothing short of a disgrace.”

“Mr Abbott’s plan to make intimidating and insulting racially-based statements legal speaks volumes on the Liberal Party’s real attitude to community relations.

Mr Robertson and Mr Secord also called on NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to state his position on the Tony Abbott proposal.

“We would also like the Premier to express his commitment to NSW anti-racial vilification laws and promise that he will not dismantle the current NSW anti-racial vilification laws,” Mr Secord said.




6 Responses to “Abbott planning to change racial vilification law”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Can yourse legal eagles and birds of any other feathers be a bit more explicit regarding the actual changes proposed. For instance in some place there is mention of the entire “PART IIA” being changed, although I understand the section 18C is pivotal for our “concerns”.
    Yet, PART II, Section 9, deals quite satisfactorily with the same and it is not mentioned as being changed ( proposed ).
    Back to 18C, what precise amendments are envisaged ? Is it the notion of “public place”, is it the reference to a “Human Rights etc.” being proposed to be altered ?
    Peter, mate, you say that the changes make the breches akin to common law.
    Is your statement that Abbott wants to “get rid of those (sic) laws ” really, really accurate. Watering down gets rid of SOME methodology in applying the SAME principles in a forensic manner, but it does not seem to repeal, ged rid of the laws in tottum, essentially speaking. I know, I know, that it means “getting rid” of one particular expression AND specific method means “getting rid” as such, but the replacement proposed by the current Gov. does not seem to eliminate racial vilification as an offence , does it !!??

    Anyways, is SECTION II being left untouched, because it also seems to cover principles at law consistent with our “concerns”.

    P L E A S E E X P L A I N !!!!!!

    How I’d love non legal minds to get involved in it and carry on with high principles, ethics etc. totally un-connected with the fundamentals of the proposed changes, mind you I shall remain forever a vicious fascist in so many critical eyes. Let’s make it “Otto a human rights criminal”, ok !!
    I offer a prize for anyone trumping “Otto criminal”. Prize to be advised.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Patricia, love, I am sure you make the best meat pies, but in this legalistic stuff you are mincing legal rationale in a very, very indigestive way. How is your muffins, anyways, darl ?!

  2. PATRICIA says:

    What Tony Abbott is about is FREEDOM OF SPEECH – and it is high time this stupid law was repealed. This should stop the Politically Correct idiots in their tracks.
    As Brits who emigrated in the 1960’s – we had numerous encounters in being called many so called ‘insulting’ names. We gave as good as we got – and it did not deter us from settling in this great country and contributing to it’s development. If you have a thin skin and are extremely sensitive to being called the odd name – better take the next plane back to where you came from. Knowing Aussies as we do – they make great mates.

  3. Harry Joachim says:

    Mr Abbott has just lost a whole lot of votes with this decision. I hope he knows what he is doing by marginalising Jews and other minorities.

    • PATRICIA says:

      Mr.Abbott is not marginalising anyone. Certainly not the Jews. Have you read his L’Shana Tova address wherein he commends the Jewish community for their input in Australian Society.

  4. Liat Nagar says:

    Obviously Tony Abbott has no imagination and no sense of history. How else to explain such a retrograde decision as to intend to scrap 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Extreme Right-wing political groups are increasingly to the fore in much of Europe and racially motivated violent acts are also increasing. We have a diverse multi-cultural society in Australia that deserves as much sensible protection as it can get – anti-racial vilification laws serve this end and to remove them makes a statement that implies freedom to speak or behave in a racist manner. What is Abbott thinking of here! What’s his rationale? Let’s keep a good eye on this and do everything we can to show our concern.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.