The Liberal party room has overwhelmingly backed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's plan to alter section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act. Turnbull yesterday won approval to move forward with legislation removing the words “insult, offend and ­humiliate” and replace them with "harass or intimidate".

The PM has two problems, however. The first is pressure from ethnic groups, who have come out against the changes. The second is that he faces opposition from Nick Xenophon's key voting block in the senate. Xenophon could back changes to the Australian Human Rights Commission's complaints process but has indicated he will oppose the "offend, insult and humiliate" change.