Friday, 31 March 2017

Senate resoundingly rejects gov 18C changes racial discrimination Act

Bill Leak's infamous racist cartoons

"People have a right to be bigots" - George Brandis
The much vaunted gov changes to section 18C of the racial discrimination act have been shot down in flames in the senate, with the majority of the senate trashing the entire legislative package. After months and months of the far right campaign to have a right to be bigots and say so publicly, the attempt to pass the changes into anything more than their own pipe dream was a dismal failure.

Most Australians are I suspect still scratching their heads as to why on earth this was even on the gov agenda? In a civil society it's all about respect, which the current legislation backs. What would you want to say that you can't now already say? It's not exactly a screamingly important issue. 

Truth is it was because some of their right wing mates ran afoul of even the current law, with the likes of Andrew Bolt and infamous cartoonist Bill Leak crossing paths with the Australian Human Rights Commission. Abbott has even suggested abolishing the Human Rights Commission over it FFS!

Just as bizarrely, some are now suggesting the gov take this to the next election as an election issue. WTF? Nothing less than political suicide in a country that has the most immigrants per capita in the world. I'm sure the rumblings in many ethnic communities over the government's efforts to change race hate laws haven't been at all friendly. 

Regardless of the amendments, a majority of the Senate went on and rejected the entire legislative proposal.

 Labor and the Greens declared the result a victory for racial tolerance and for multicultural Australia.

The Greens senator Nick McKim said the result meant senators stood “shoulder to shoulder” with multicultural Australia.

 Immediately after the vote, the influential rightwing thinktank the Institute of Public Affairs declared the Turnbull government must take its proposed changes to section 18C to the next federal election.

"If another Andrew Bolt, QUT, Bill Leak or Ashfield Uniting church-type case occurs that will be on the heads of Labor, Greens, Xenophon and Jacquie Lambie who voted today against removing restrictions on freedom of speech,” said Simon Breheny, director of policy at the IPA.

 “Senators who voted against this bill have failed a test of their commitment to basic human liberty.”

But Amnesty International welcomed the Senate’s stance, saying Thursday’s vote should be the end of the matter.

 “The message to prime minister Turnbull is clear: this conversation is over,” said Tammy Solonec, Indigenous rights manager at Amnesty International Australia. “He needs to get on the right side of history and firmly put an end to the debate around racist hate speech.”

 The renewed debate has sparked a significant backlash from ethnic and religious communities, and it has divided the Coalition. The Guardian
All that electoral pain for absolutely no gain at all. As the US Democrat guy said the other day after Trumpcare went down in a similar fashion, "You can't govorn from the far right". The Lieberals here would do well to heed such advice.

It's always a laugh when they bang on about "freedom of speech". Bill Leak and the Australian Christian Lobby's Lyle Shelton have both called the LGBT Nazis, but woe unto us if we describe them as homophobes. In any case once they use the Nazi argument it means they've already lost the argument anyway.