Danby defends Section 18C

February 27, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Federal Labor MP has slammed new Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson’s aim to abolish Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act saying that “it is the most effective legislative arm of the agency”.

Michael Danby

Michael Danby

Danby’s defence of Section 18C took place during a heated moment in Parliament when he referred to former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard as a socialist…a tongue in cheek remark alluding to the Howard Government’s acceptance of Section 18C. Danby was instructed to withdraw his remark naming Howard as “a socialist”.

Danby also tabled a table of statistics detailing the number of complaints received since 1995 and their outcome…the table follows this excerpt from Hansard.

“…Sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act were introduced in response to recommendations of major inquiries, including the National Inquiry into Racist Violence and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. These inquiries found that racial hatred and vilification caused psychological harm to their targets and reinforced other forms of discrimination and exclusion. They found that low-level behaviour like this softens the environment for more severe acts of harassment, intimidation and even violence by impliedly condoning such acts.

The table shows that since 1995 there have been 1,656 complaints received under section 18C and of those complaints 478 were referred to conciliation and the remainder were withdrawn or terminated for a number of reasons. Only eight were required to go to court. The whole purpose of section 18C is to promote tolerance by bringing parties together to discuss the subject of their complaint and arrive at a conciliated and agreed outcome. Conciliation meetings that are resolved required the following outcomes: an apology; an agreement to remove offensive material; systemic outcomes, such as changes to policies, procedures and training of staff or individuals; or even the payment of compensation.

Similarly, the new ‘freedom commissioner’ Tim Wilson, another of their warriors blinded by ideological zealotry, has restated his demand for the abolition of section 18C. Strangely, it is the most effective legislative arm of the agency that he works for. I have not come across a situation like this where a public servant in an agency is calling for the abolition of the most effective work of that agency.

Fifty-three per cent of racial vilification complaints in 2012-13 were resolved by conciliation. Less than three per cent of hatred complaints proceeded to court, according to the Human Rights Commission. This small percentage of complaints referred to court illustrates that the use of section 18C under the discrimination act is not being abused. It should not be repealed. Why are we getting rid of it? What is the mindset of those in the coalition—and I am sure in this room there are people from the coalition who do not share those views?

The fervour of the coalition and their tribunes in the Murdoch echo chamber on this issue reflects an attempt to repeal what they call the Bolt laws. Section 18C reinforces pluralist Australia and complaints are resolved by a process of reconciliation. It worked well under that well-known socialist John Howard, the former Prime Minister. For the years that socialist John Howard was in office he allowed section 18C to proceed. He saw it was mainly a process of reconciliation. Prime Minister Howard as a person genuinely committed to pluralist Australia—

Dr Stone: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order regarding appropriate language. I would like the speaker to withdraw the remark that he has made several times about the previous Prime Minister. I find it offensive.

Mr DANBY: I am happy to, Mr Deputy Speaker, but it was used with deep irony of course. Mr Howard was not a socialist. I was seeking to juxtapose his very tolerant views on these issues with the views of the current government.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Broadbent): Member for Melbourne Ports, if you decide you are going to withdraw, can you use the words ‘I withdraw’?

Mr DANBY: In deference to my friend the member for Murray, I am happy to withdraw. The majority in this government feel it should be abolished because the IPA feel that in the Bolt case he was treated harshly as a result of an interpretation by a judge of section 18C.”




J-Wire has invited a response from Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson.



One Response to “Danby defends Section 18C”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Not quite sure about the term “slammed” in what “naughty boy” Misha Danby (sic) has done by desecrating the House through the use of explosive sarcasm.
    Calling Howard a “socialist” while wagging one’s tongue in the proximity of the rosy cheeks, does not look to me as the rhetorical powder keg.
    Incidentally, the Andrew Bolt case demonstrated that the law, as it stands, DID work, it was/is ethically proven valid and necessary. The complaints against Bolt were NOT dismissed as “trivial” or “vexatious”, in legal terms governing the very act 18C, Bolt was considered apt for Court hearing and found guilty. So the Bolt reason should be used as the best example of a necessary law.
    The reasons behind the manipulated attempt at repealing 18C, could be found in the perception of a monocultural political elite ( the governing one !!) that smaller and veciferous minute interest gropus are interfering with the very governance of the political entities “meant”, actually electorally appointed, to run the country. Here one may even speculate that “certain” apex principles of “entitlement” by those hyper-active small groups, may contravene what is preffered as the local, Australian traditional model. Allowing for the inevitable progress in social behaviour, 18C may be seen as endowing peripheral, centrifugal ideologies ( the same small groups ) to gain unwanted prevalence. It is not without a reason why only CERTAIN ethnic groups are seen at the forefront of the defence of 18C, Jewish “interests’ included. We do NOT see larger ethnic groups intersted, such as Greek or Italian !!! Let’s speculate: Italians are also part of the larger Catholic and also of older residence and well integrated. Same with the Greek community, intergrated, not closely associated with other ethnic groups, individually self-sufficient. Anti “wag”/Italian/Greek attitudes have been replaced in society’s “school-yard” by anti Asian, Middle Eastern sentiments.
    Why is, then , the Jew involved !!! It is a given; antisemitism is, by far, the most popular form of inter-cultural entertainment. Anti-Asian sentiments do not carry the same juicy ( Jewcy !!!) substance. The Jew is prctically universally interchangeable in any derogatory situation from the trivial, vexatious to the serioulsy prejudiced.
    In a way, not so far fetched, the attempt by Tim Wilson and the mob behind him to repeal 18C is a move to clear the way to PREJUDICE as a valid and, definitely, POTENT clearing agent of minds, otherwise clogged with the annoying interference of those small intersts group morality into the core Australian true-blue 24/7 pastime of ESTABLISH(ed)(ment) dominance against the sizeable, visible invasion of the “foreign” element, as legal as the “invasion” has been and continues to be. It is a statement of desire of the dominant political group of retention of monoculturalism, in spite of a country which has deemed it necessary to INCLUDE other cultures in its structure as a vital, survival socio-econnomical method. We are dealing with the division based on absurd prejudice of the political/cultural from the socio-economical imperatives.
    Tim Wilson is clever enough to understand all that, but he, in his own cynical/happy way, prefers to ignore these impeding facts. Why !!?? Only he – AND WE – know.

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