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Race hate victims must prove they have been 'harrassed'





  • In a victory for freedom of speech, race hate laws are expected to be weakened
  • The words 'insult' and 'offend' will be demolished in favour of the word 'harass'
  • Changes are part of contentious Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act
  • The Turnbull government is expected to make the announcement on Tuesday 

By Kate Darvall For Daily Mail Australia and Australian Associated Press

Published: 19:52 EDT, 20 March 2017 | Updated: 20:08 EDT, 20 March 2017

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to compromise on race hate laws and abolish the words 'insult' and 'offend' in favour of the word 'harass' when his government discusses the Racial Discrimination Act on Tuesday. 

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act currently makes it an offence to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate an individual or people based on race. 

The changes expected to be announced will be a victory for freedom of speech because they will draw a line between someone having their feelings hurt and someone actually feeling threatened. 

The way the Human Rights Commission deals with complaints also faces change.

Mr Turnbull has faced calls from within the coalition to water down the laws in the interest of freedom of speech Mr Turnbull has faced calls from within the coalition to water down the laws in the interest of freedom of speech

Mr Turnbull has faced calls from within the coalition to water down the laws in the interest of freedom of speech

The race-hate speech laws were championed by the Keating government in 1995, and have been hotly contested ever since.

Mr Turnbull has faced calls from within the coalition to water down the laws in the interest of freedom of speech to bring an end to frivolous 'racist' complaints. 

But he also faced ongoing pressure from the opposition to keep the laws in place. 

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Turnbull's integrity hung in the balance of his decision.

'Will he back the 'right to be a bigot', or will he back modern, multicultural Australia?' Mr Shorten said about Mr Turnbull's decision to possibly weaken race hate laws  'Will he back the 'right to be a bigot', or will he back modern, multicultural Australia?' Mr Shorten said about Mr Turnbull's decision to possibly weaken race hate laws 

'Will he back the 'right to be a bigot', or will he back modern, multicultural Australia?' Mr Shorten said about Mr Turnbull's decision to possibly weaken race hate laws 

Mr Shorten said Mr Turnbull would have 'sold the last shred of his integrity to hang onto his own job'.

'Tuesday's party room meeting is a test of Malcolm Turnbull's leadership,' Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said.

'Will he back the 'right to be a bigot', or will he back modern, multicultural Australia?' 

A Liberal MP has also vowed to stand up for his multicultural electorate when his federal coalition colleagues debated changes to the race-hate speech laws. 

Craig Laundy, who holds the marginal western Sydney seat of Reid, said he was comfortable with a contentious section of the Racial Discrimination Act Craig Laundy, who holds the marginal western Sydney seat of Reid, said he was comfortable with a contentious section of the Racial Discrimination Act

Craig Laundy, who holds the marginal western Sydney seat of Reid, said he was comfortable with a contentious section of the Racial Discrimination Act

Craig Laundy, who holds the marginal western Sydney seat of Reid, said he was comfortable with a contentious section of the Racial Discrimination Act despite a likely change that will replace the words 'insult' and 'offend' with 'harass'.

'If that is what comes into the party room I will stand up and as I've done for four years, fight for the people of Reid,' he told ABC radio ahead of Tuesday's meeting. 

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he was working on a response to a parliamentary committee's report into freedom of speech, which failed to find a consensus on changing the law but called for changes to the commission's handling of complaints.

Mr Turnbull said he was considering changes to the Human Rights Commission's handling of complaints Mr Turnbull said he was considering changes to the Human Rights Commission's handling of complaints

Mr Turnbull said he was considering changes to the Human Rights Commission's handling of complaints

Mr Turnbull said the joint standing committee on human rights had written a 'very good report' and he was considering its findings.

The committee failed to reach a conclusion on 18C but called for sweeping changes to the operation of the Human Rights Commission, including that it offer reasonable assistance to respondents of complaints.

It also recommended time limits for the handling of complaints, refundable complaint lodgement fees, and an ability for respondents to complaints to apply to terminate the case.

The prime minister on Monday released a new multicultural statement which he said would 'renew and reaffirm' Australia's commitment to being a multicultural nation in which racism and discrimination have no place and integration and contribution are core elements. 

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said an announcement about Section C of the Racial Discrimination Act was likely after the coalition joint party room meeting Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said an announcement about Section C of the Racial Discrimination Act was likely after the coalition joint party room meeting

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said an announcement about Section C of the Racial Discrimination Act was likely after the coalition joint party room meeting

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said an announcement about Section C of the Racial Discrimination Act was likely after the coalition joint party room meeting.

'No doubt something will be brought to the joint party room in due course,' he told ABC's Lateline program on Monday night.

'Let's wait for (Tuesday) and we will have this discussion then.' 


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