One of the strongest advocates for repealing section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm was asked on Melbourne LGBTI radio station Joy FM on Monday night about what exactly he couldn’t say under 18C today that wouldn’t be allowed under the exemptions in the act in Section 18D:
“Racial abuse, colour-based abuse, ethnic abuse, national-origin abuse is not fair comment. I mean the defence of 18D is essentially fair comment,” he said.
He claimed that Fairfax’s Mark Kenny’s column on him would not be able to rely on 18D because the “angry white man” comment went beyond fair comment as allowed by 18D. Leyonhjelm said that people should be allowed to say those things, and then be “vigorously rebutted” and abused.
The free speech advocate also revealed he acknowledged that some limits on free speech in Australia are accepted:
“We do have impediments on freedom of speech in this country … where infringements on freedom of speech are agreed and accepted. They include things such as incitement to criminal offence, and defamation. They are not in question here. 18C is all about feelings.”
He said mental illness could not be blamed on racial abuse:
“Mental illness is a disease. It’s like saying getting cancer can be caused by being abused by your wife … to blame someone else for an illness of that kind is fanciful.”
He said it was a racist assumption to say that minority races in a predominantly white nation were less able to cope with abuse than white people.