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Racial Discrimination Act: Brandis moves to amend — not repeal — 18C

The government has unveiled its amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act, removing the concept of offence but adding racial vilification for the first time.

In what appears to be an acknowledgement of community concerns about the impact of removing the “offensive behaviour” section of the Racial Discrimination Act, Attorney-General George Brandis this morning announced that section 18C of the legislation will be amended but not removed.

The Coalition committed to amending the RDA before the election, in the wake of the court case that saw Andrew Bolt successfully prosecuted for breaching s18C in articles about people who identified as Aboriginal. However, a wide array of community groups, including some close to the Coalition, have lobbied intensively for the section to be retained. The section currently bans (subject to some exemptions in s18D) actions “reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate others because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin”.

The key change announced by Brandis will be the removal of the words “offend, insult, humiliate”, leaving “intimidation”. Section 18D will be removed entirely but the exemptions will be moved into 18C. In addition, Brandis announced a new offence would be added to 18C — “racial vilification” — adding the concept of vilification to Commonwealth legislation for the first time.

Vilification as a legal term is currently used in state law, such as the South Australian Racial Vilification Act 1996, which proscribes inciting racial hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, people or a group by threatening physical harm or inciting others to physical harm. However, the concept was used differently in the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, which outlaws simply the incitement of hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons on the ground of race, without any threat component.

Brandis has proposed the lower threshold of the NSW approach, defining “vilify” in the draft bill as “incite hatred against a person or group”, as judged by “an ordinary reasonable member of the Australian community” — no threat is needed (and which would be presumably be covered by intimidation anyway).

The draft amendments will be the subject of community consultation. The exposure draft of the amendment is:

The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 is amended as follows:

Section 18C is repealed.
Sections 18B, 18D and 18E are also repealed.
The following section is inserted:

(1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:

(a) the act is reasonably likely:

(i) to vilify another person or a group of persons; or
(ii) to intimidate another person or a group of persons,

and (b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of that person or that group of persons.

(2) For the purposes of this section:

(a) vilify means to incite hatred against a person or a group of persons;

(b) intimidate means to cause fear of physical harm:

(i) to a person; or
(ii) to the property of a person; or
(iii) to the members of a group of persons.

(3) Whether an act is reasonably likely to have the effect specified in sub-section (1)(a) is to be determined by the standards of an ordinary reasonable member of the Australian community, not by the standards of any particular group within the Australian community.

(4) This section does not apply to words, sounds, images or writing spoken, broadcast, published or otherwise communicated in the course of participating in the public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter.

45
  • 1
    JamesH
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I predict concern will now focus on what exactly is meant by section 3. For example, if an “ordinary reasonable member of the Australian public” is likely to believe that substantial numbers of asylum seekers are not genuine refugees or even are Muslim terrorists, as various opinion polls seem to indicate, then does someone saying that Iranian refugees are terrorists, or fake refugees are causing all our traffic jams, get a free pass? or does “reasonable” mean “accurately informed”?
    Reaction to the dropping of the “reasonable”, “good faith”, “fair and accurate” tests 18D applied to material covered by section 4, which is what caught Bolt out, will also be interesting.

  • 2
    Sean
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    What’s left after the (very very broad) exemption of sub-section (4)? Intimidation (at least as defined) is probably covered by other criminal laws relating to assault anyway. This is Clayton’s discrimination law.

  • 3
    paddy
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Section (4) looks to be a cracker of an escape clause.

  • 4
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Section 4 is the big thing - it apparently replaces this section -
    Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:

    (a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or

    (b) in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or

    (c) in making or publishing:

    (i) a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or

    (ii) a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.

    The big thin is the removal of the word “fair”. This I bel ieve is so that Mr Blot can continue his ludicrous arguments without fear of contravening a “fair” comment!!

  • 5
    acannon
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Sean and paddy and Jimmy. Can anyone give any examples of something which would NOT be exempted by Section 4? I was OK with it up until then. And doesn’t Section 4 contradict Section 1’s “unlawful except in private”?

  • 6
    Hunt Ian
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    The changes remove all the protection for citizens against the tactics that Nazi’s made commonplace. Public discussion of how subhuman, dangerous and evil Jewish people might be is protected because it is part of public discussion. That this idea of Jews is an unfair portrayal or that it might lead to violence against them is of no consequence - it is, after all, part of public discussion in which the “Volkische Beobacter” (People’s Observer”) could make an indelible impression, leading all the way to the Holocaust.

    Aborigines, who have been vilified in various ways in Australian history as incapable parasites in their own now stolen land, will now have no defence, should someone with resources like those Andrew Bolt commands, decides to repeat this theme in public discussion. No doubt the equally powerful resources for public discussion that aboriginal people can command will protect them from intimidation.

    The changes Brandis proposes are a disgrace.They bring the Abbott government to a new reactionary low.

  • 7
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    acannon - “I was OK with it up until then.” I would also caution you to have a think about “(b) intimidate means to cause fear of physical harm:
    (i) to a person; or
    (ii) to the property of a person; or
    (iii) to the members of a group of persons.”

    What if the harm isn’t physical? Is damage to reputation phyiscal harm to a persons property?

  • 8
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Human Rights Law Centre executive director Hugh de Kretser on the RDA overhaul. Thumbs down George.

    Under the changes, the words “offend, insult and humiliate” would be deleted from the existing laws. “Vilify” would be inserted but narrowly defined and the existing protection against “intimidation” would also be given a new narrow definition.

    The drafting of the community standards test opens up the prospect of perpetuating prejudice. The existing free speech exemptions for fair comment, fair reporting and artistic and scientific works would be over-inflated and greatly expanded to include “public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter.”

    Importantly, the requirements for “reasonableness” and “good faith” in the exemptions would be removed.

    It’s hard to imagine any racial topic that would be outside the realms of this extraordinarily broad exemption.

    The attorney’s claim that these proposed laws would provide the strongest ever protection against racism under federal legislation is astonishing and not backed by any basic analysis.

    Overall, these changes substantially weaken the existing protection.

  • 9
    drmick
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    The reasonable person test has been challenged again and again as it was originally the reasonable man test. Princess blurt is proven rac ist and changing the law will not change that fact.

    The test fails because of the very diversity these people want to vilify. “Community standards” in days gone by produced white and black lost generations, witch burnings and kangaroo courts that resulted in hangings. They also produced attempts at ethnic cleansing and genocide.
    Do we really need to revisit these? Especially for princess bolts pride?

  • 10
    David Penington
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    otherwise than in private” plus section 4’s “public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter” means virtually everything is exempt.

  • 11
    Thomas King
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Radical right governments AKA Conservatives tend to be sticklers for definitions.
    vilify: Speak or write about in an abusively disparaging manner e.g. “he has been vilified in the press”

    Intimate: Frighten or overawe (someone), especially in order to make them do what one wants: “the forts are designed to intimidate the nationalist population”

    Now unless these definition have changed dramatically in business or academia I would suggest that AG is trying to change the meanings of these words so that his mates in the media can do whatever they want.
    definitions and examples taken from the Oxford Online Dictionary

  • 12
    The Old Bill
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    So the draft amendment as above deletes the Bolt sections, but then says you can’t vilify. That’s the trouble with wh#te abori**nals like Brandis and Bolt, they don’t realise they are still likely to be in hot water, depending on the first High Court decision after they go through with this nonsense and rightly so.

  • 13
    fractious
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Though IANAL my understanding (help yourselves if I’m wrong) was that the “reasonable person” test was always the benchmark by which an action was judged. If I am not entirely wrong, then the addition of “not by the standards of any particular group…” in clause 3 has me wondering: why express such an unnecessary condition?

    And, as others before me point out, clause 4 wtf. If I were a lawyer in a test case I’d think all my christmases had come at once.

  • 14
    Ben Gray
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Lets all remember that its Australia 2014 not 1939 Germany! The change appears to be very conservative, removing the clauses that (barring the odd show trial) were never really enforcible anyway.

  • 15
    David Hand
    Posted Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Those uncomfortable with these changes should reflect on the ill-judged actions of the six complainants in the Bolt case. They got their trophy and all that adulation from the green / left anti-Murdoch brigade but are now facing significant changes to the RDA that reduce protections for people experiencing genuine racial vilification.

    I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time.

  • 16
    Elbow Patches
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    I fear Andrew Bolt may be knighted for services to ‘free speech’.

  • 17
    klewso
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this simply pay-back?
    To help the likes of Blot and the rest of Murdoch’s “Conservative PR Ink;” better manage (without fear of accountability) their market clout to sell their pro-Limited News Party “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth” propaganda?
    In this “War on Democracy” intelligence starvation, in a Murdochratic “Oz-lab-ia”?

  • 18
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    David - “Those uncomfortable with these changes should reflect on the ill-judged actions of the six complainants in the Bolt case.” In the Bolt case he was found to have made 19 errors of fact, he distorted the truth and made comments unsupported by any factual basis - you don’t think the complainants had a point?

  • 19
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    David - “Those uncomfortable with these changes should reflect on the ill-judged actions of the six complainants in the Bo lt case.” In the Bo lt case he was found to have made 19 errors of fact, he distorted the truth and made comments unsupported by any factual basis - you don’t think the complainants had a point?

  • 20
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    To me this is one of the more troubling parts-
    EMMA ALBERICI: The central issue in the Bo lt judgment was not whether Mr Bo lt’s articles were an expression of opinion, but whether the factual allegations on which that opinion was based were accurate. The judge concluded that the case was not about freedom of opinion, it was about freedom to spread untruths. Are you saying that freedom should exist?

    SENATOR GEORGE BRANDIS: Yes, I am

  • 21
    David Hand
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Sure Jimmy,
    Go after Bolt regarding errors of fact. Journalists make errors such as these all the time.

    But the six went after him because they found his criticism of them scooping up awards, scholarships and jobs that were set aside for a disadvantaged group - aboriginals - when they had no perceived disadvantage, offensive.

    Demand retraction of errors of fact if you like, but to abuse 18C as they did will now undo it.

  • 22
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Journalists make errors such as these all the time.” Only sloppy journalists who routinely bend the facts to suit their arguments make 19 errors of fact - including the whole basis of their argument - that the parents and grandparents of the individuals weren’t actually aboriginal!

    scooping up awards, scholarships and jobs that were set aside for a disadvantaged group - aboriginals” So even though these people were aboriginal and the awards scholarships and jobs they received were for aboriginals it is supposedly OK for Blot to deny their aboriginality and accuse them of something that was patently false?

    And when it is all said and done even if the Blot case is some outrageous miscarriage of justice it hardly warrants overturning a law that has worked very effectively for some 20 years - Michelle Grattan wrote a good piece on that point today if you are interested.

  • 23
    danger_monkey
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Those uncomfortable with these changes should reflect on the ill-judged actions of the six complainants in the Bolt case…I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

    I really enjoy it when someone points out that someone exercising a right (in this case, pursuing the repellent Bolt in court) has led to pushback, and now we might not have that right/privilege in the future, as if it’s the exercise of the right that is problematic and not the pushback. If you can only have those rights and privileges that you don’t insist on, then what’s the point of them anyway?

  • 24
    Sharkie
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    +1 Jimmy.
    The vast majority of racial vilification complaints never make it to court and are solved in mediation. BLOT made 19 errors or fact, and refused to apologise or correct the comments. He could have ended the situation very early in the piece, but arrogance of a particularly high standard saw BLOT in court where he was rightly found to have racially vilified the people in question. Did he appeal? of course not because that would have meant another court loss. His only “sensible” response was to play the victim card. Remember people, it takes a very “special” person to actually get done for racial vilification. It’s just stunning that normally sensible people in the media have swallowed the “free speech” tripe being peddled.

  • 25
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Sharkie - Let’s face it this is simply a “Thanks for all your hard work over the last 6 years Andrew”

  • 26
    Gederts Skerstens
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    A civil society isn’t produced by laws.
    Decent folk don’t laugh at cripples or abuse guys with turbans.
    Not from fear of being jailed or fined, but out of innate human decency.
    That notion has to be restored. It can be done.
    Lawyerist quibbling about word definitions has nothing to do with civilisation.

  • 27
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Gederts - But “decent folk” don’t kill fellow citizens or steal from them or defraud them or do any number of things.

    And the insidious nature of the abuses this law is designed to prevent means they has to be fought at the margins and opposed forcefully for every inch they tries to gain - because it is only little by little, so small we harldy notice, that civility crumbles.

  • 28
    Gederts Skerstens
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    …so small we harldy notice, that civility crumbles.”

    Sure, the Boiling Frog procedure gets employed by many.

    Little erosions of our standard freedoms, one building on the existence of the previous gets them all dead as the frog. You’re right.

  • 29
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Gederts - “Little erosions of our standard freedoms” What freedoms has this 20 year old law eroded? And what freedoms will it’s amending replace - the freedom to make an argument based on inaccuarate and baseless allegations? The freedom to say whatever offensive remark you want as long as it is in the “course of participating in the public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter”?

  • 30
    Gederts Skerstens
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Libel, defamation, fraud and slander laws were in operation for centuries.

    Let’s be clear about 18c: It’s not a law but an edict. It requires the judge’s personal view and nothing else.

    Read the Bolt judgment. All opinion about feelings, tone and sensitivity. Okay for a lifestyle piece in a magazine but not for precedent-setting in our legal system.

    Simply put, it’s a matter of deciding whether the laws reflect what Most Of Us, the guys that pay for everything, want, or whether we get told what we should have by some politically-appointed guys in fancy dress.

  • 31
    drmick
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Geez Jimmy you can pick em; You cannot rationalise with irrational people. Its like arguing with a rock or a dead piece of wood; it is a waste of time and changes nothing. Even a dog tu@d changes colour and the smell stops after a while; but stay around the aggressively ignorant too long and your IQ starts to decrease.

  • 32
    Gederts Skerstens
    Posted Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    drmick should post more.
    These characters are more eloquent than they know.

  • 33
    David Hand
    Posted Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Hey Monkey,
    The exercise of this right by the six complainants demonstrated that 18C is a step too far, that, as the president of the human rights commission said on Lateline last night, that the bar is too low.

    The judgement created a precedent that a person could express a personal view, some else could feel offended and if the view expressed contained some sort of factual error, could get the commenter labelled in law, a ra cist. This would have a negative effect on the expressing of views and would suppress free speech.

    As the Bolt case shows, the errors of fact, such as which of Larissa Behrendt’s was actually European, had no real relation to his underlying point but still got him labelled ra cist. He expressed a view that awards and scholarships set aside for a disadvantaged group were being scooped up by people with no disadvantage and no one, the complainants, the judge, Crikey, or people posting here have put forward a cogent argument why he was wrong.

    This shows the complaint about Bolt and the adverse judgement he received should never have been allowed in law.

    So the law is being changed. All the people concerned that an important protection against ra cial abuse is being undone can thank the six.

  • 34
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Funny David that you quote the Human Rights commisioner supposedly criticising the current law but make no mention of her absolutely pasting the proposed changes and that the commission itself is vehemently opposed to the changes.

  • 35
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    David Hand Just for context this is what was said last night;
    “TONY JONES: Do you all agree that the draft itself is insufficient, it is not what you actually need?

    GILLIAN TRIGGS: Yes, I think that’s a fair statement. It’s agreed that it doesn’t yet meet what we believe are appropriate legal standards and it requires considerable redrafting.

    TONY JONES: Finally, if this new freedom of speech bill becomes law, will it actually be a post facto justification for what Andrew Bolt wrote in those notorious articles about those “light-skinned” Aboriginal people?

    GILLIAN TRIGGS: Well I think that is probably the greatest defect with this exposure draft because it does seem to be a contrivance deliberately to ensure that a Bo lt-like case would not emerge again. And one of the phrases one learns in Law school, as I did many decades ago, is bad cases make bad law. And I’m afraid that Mr Bo lt was successfully prosecuted under civil law and he failed to meet the defences because of inaccuracy and lack of good faith. Now, that was the law, that is the law. To try to change the law to deal with that one case is probably, as a matter of legislative drafting and law reform, not a wise approach to law.

    TONY JONES: And is that what you think has actually happened here, that it’s so narrowly an attempt to post facto defend the Bo lt case that it’s actually failed as law?

    GILLIAN TRIGGS: Well I think that’s why we have an overreach. I think it’s fair to say there’s a genuine community concern that the words “offending” and insult” put the threshold at too low a level that. That was if you like a mischief to be addressed by reform legislation, but to go so far as to eliminate the defences of good faith and fair comment and accuracy is an overreach which I think needs to be brought back to a compromise when the Attorney finally produces a bill for Parliament to consider.

    TONY JONES: Gillian Triggs, we thank very much for taking the time to come and talk to us tonight.

  • 36
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    David Hand Just for context this is what was said last night;
    “TONY JONES: Do you all agree that the draft itself is insufficient, it is not what you actually need?

    GILLIAN TRIGGS: Yes, I think that’s a fair statement. It’s agreed that it doesn’t yet meet what we believe are appropriate legal standards and it requires considerable redrafting.

    TONY JONES: Finally, if this new freedom of speech bill becomes law, will it actually be a post facto justification for what Andrew Bo lt wrote in those notorious articles about those “light-skinned” Aboriginal people?

    GILLIAN TRIGGS: Well I think that is probably the greatest defect with this exposure draft because it does seem to be a contrivance deliberately to ensure that a Bo lt-like case would not emerge again. And one of the phrases one learns in Law school, as I did many decades ago, is bad cases make bad law. And I’m afraid that Mr Bo lt was successfully prosecuted under civil law and he failed to meet the defences because of inaccuracy and lack of good faith. Now, that was the law, that is the law. To try to change the law to deal with that one case is probably, as a matter of legislative drafting and law reform, not a wise approach to law.

    TONY JONES: And is that what you think has actually happened here, that it’s so narrowly an attempt to post facto defend the Bo lt case that it’s actually failed as law?

    GILLIAN TRIGGS: Well I think that’s why we have an overreach. I think it’s fair to say there’s a genuine community concern that the words “offending” and insult” put the threshold at too low a level that. That was if you like a mischief to be addressed by reform legislation, but to go so far as to eliminate the defences of good faith and fair comment and accuracy is an overreach which I think needs to be brought back to a compromise when the Attorney finally produces a bill for Parliament to consider.

    TONY JONES: Gillian Triggs, we thank very much for taking the time to come and talk to us tonight.

  • 37
    David Hand
    Posted Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    But Jimmy, she did criticize the current law. Thank you for publishing her words.

    ” I think it’s fair to say there’s a genuine community concern that the words “offending” and insult” put the threshold at too low a level”

    I’m sure the Brandis changes won’t get up in their current form but 18C must still be changed to stop the stuff up that occurred in the Bolt case. Gillian Triggs has agreed with that when she said, “That was if you like a mischief to be addressed by reform legislation” She called the prosecution of Bolt under 18C “a mischief”.

  • 38
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    David Hand - Let’s look at what she said;
    “I think it’s fair to say there’s a genuine community concern that the words “offending” and insult” put the threshold at too low a level that.” She isn’t saying she is concerned she is saying there are some in the community like the IPA that think it is a concern.
    “She called the prosecution of Bolt under 18C “a mischief”.” No she did not she said “if you like a mischief” - there is a big difference and if you look at her previous answer - “And I’m afraid that Mr Bo lt was successfully prosecuted under civil law and he failed to meet the defences because of inaccuracy and lack of good faith” so Mr Blot could of avoided prosecution for “insulting” and “offending” if he had acted in good faith - that would seem protection enough.
    Also, and possibly most importantly, she said “Now, that was the law, that is the law. To try to change the law to deal with that one case is probably, as a matter of legislative drafting and law reform, not a wise approach to law.”

  • 39
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    David Hand - Let’s look at what she said;
    “I think it’s fair to say there’s a genuine community concern that the words “offending” and insult” put the threshold at too low a level that.” She isn’t saying she is concerned she is saying there are some in the community like the IPA that think it is a concern.
    “She called the prosecution of Bo lt under 18C “a mischief”.” No she did not she said “if you like a mischief” - there is a big difference and if you look at her previous answer - “And I’m afraid that Mr Bo lt was successfully prosecuted under civil law and he failed to meet the defences because of inaccuracy and lack of good faith” so Mr Blot could of avoided prosecution for “insulting” and “offending” if he had acted in good faith - that would seem protection enough.
    Also, and possibly most importantly, she said “Now, that was the law, that is the law. To try to change the law to deal with that one case is probably, as a matter of legislative drafting and law reform, not a wise approach to law.”

  • 40
    David Hand
    Posted Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    That was (if you like) a mischief to be addressed by reform legislation”

    Look Jimmy, Triggs could have come out and said, “I like 18C as it is. It should not be changed” but she didn’t. She spent most of the interview commenting on the proposed changes and their weaknesses.

    You make the mistake of confusing an acceptance that the law as it is must change with criticism of the proposed changes. I think that Triggs agrees change is needed but does not support the draft as it is.

    I come back to my original point. The six, in their pursuit of Bolt, have stuffed it for everyone else.

  • 41
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    David - “I think that Triggs agrees change is needed but does not support the draft as it is.” I think that interpretation is a stretch bt we will see when they release their official respeonse.
    “I come back to my original point. The six, in their pursuit of Bolt, have stuffed it for everyone else.” To quote TRigg “To try to change the law to deal with that one case is probably, as a matter of legislative drafting and law reform, not a wise approach to law.”

  • 42
    drmick
    Posted Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I didnt know the did a Braille copy of Crikey? Looks like they must do a crayon and colouring in version as well; like the murdoch papers do.

  • 43
    tonyfunnywalker
    Posted Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Brandis has more or less made certain that there will be no amendments at all and the whole issue will need to be dropped.
    His “smart” comments on bigotry to Senator Perris was enough for the repeal to take a life of its own and with Barry O’ Farrell and 3 other Abbott Ministers stating reservations it is true to say that Brandis has cooked his own goose and the IPA and Bolt will just have to “grin and bare it”.
    The bigotry experiences of leading politician’s such as Senator Wong has much more meaning and resonance with the public than the “hurt feelings” of Andrew Bolt. Bolt got it wrong - he knows that - otherwise he would have appealed.
    The thought of a resurgence of the repugnant Adelaide Institute will add to the fact that a Brandis retreat is inevitable and Brandis can blame no one but himself.
    Is Abbott about to lose Minister 2.5 - he has over stretched and needs to pay the penalty.

  • 44
    Gederts Skerstens
    Posted Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    a Brandis retreat is inevitable”

    No, there won’t be any retreats.
    We gain ground, this time, not just hold it ‘till the next bunch of lunatics.

  • 45
    Irene Lee
    Posted Tuesday, 8 April 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    George Brandis (and Tim Wilson) are white, well educated, and have the support of family and friends. If they are verbally abused, they have the means to have it redressed. People of a minority race or ethnicity, those with poor education or are of L.S.E. background do not have this ability. This ‘Bolt protection’ amendment must not be allowed to go through.

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