The text of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) can be found via Austlii.
Section C18 of the Act, that being which Tony Abbott so vehemently opposes concerns offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin. That’s correct it’s offensive behaviour, with the specifics being:
For an act to be unlawful it must fulfill the following criteria:
- that the action causes words, sounds, images or writing to be communicated to the public; or that it is done in a public place.
- that the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people.
- that the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.
So let us consider that which is not considered unlawful under s18C of the Act.
It is not a group of friends in a public bar talking amongst themselves, even if the subject matter would offend and humilitate a person standing directly next to them. For example, racist jokes.
It is not public discussions for the purpose of information, education or analysis.
There is also the matter of intention plus “the reasonable person test” that is, would a reasonable person given an identical set of circumstances feel humiliated or intimidated. With regard to intent; for example a remark said in public about a person’s religion might offend that person, however if there was lack of intent on the first person’s part to cause offence, then it is not racial vilification.
Therefore, what we are dealing with is people who want the right to make statements in the public forum, and with the intention of causing offence and humiliation. Enter Andrew Bolt..
Is it nothing more than a sheer coincidence that Abbott announced his intention of changing the racial vilification section of the Racial Discrimination Act just prior to Bolt writing this one, How dare they try to censor this flyer.
Sadly, the ACT Government seems only too keen on the idea:
Attorney-General Simon Corbell said laws prohibiting religious vilification should be considered by a review of the act that is being conducted by the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council.
How dare these people presume to strip others of the right to speak? How dare they?
And..again, where Bolt once again attempts to defend freedom:
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott rightly calls the laws under which two of my articles on this matter were declared unlawful an offence against free speech, and says he will strip them back. But the Left is furious, and introduces absurd excuses for their excesses:
As reported in news.com, Mr Abbott’s speech came after he wrote in The Australian 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.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon’s response is that section 18C provides protection for many vulnerable people, and that, “This legislation also helps to protect the community against those who advocate violence on the basis of race.”
Ms. Roxon might nod in agreement at the statement made by Aquanut: You mean the freedom to be an asshole.