The government has announced the terms of reference for its “Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Speech”, which was called in response to the growing consternation about section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. According to a press release, the inquiry is to report on two questions:
- “Whether the operation of Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (including ss 18C and 18D) impose unreasonable restrictions on freedom of speech”; and
- “Whether the complaints-handling procedures of the Australian Human Rights Commission should be reformed.”
While the terms of reference do pay lip service to other areas in which Australians’ free speech is impinged, the email address, “18Cinquiry@aph.gov.au”, gives the game away.