The boffins in the Attorney-General’s Department revealed, at the one-off hearing for the 18C legislation reform, that they began working on drafting the 18C legislation on March 2. This was shortly after the parliamentary committee reported back, but before The Australian cartoonist Bill Leak died. This seems in contrast to the claims from the Oz that Cabinet decided to change the Act in the wake of Leak’s death. 

The legislation is due to be debated in the Senate on Tuesday. As it stands, without the support of Nick Xenophon Team senators, the legislation is doomed. It has been suggested that by entering the legislation into the Senate rather than the House, it was designed to save those in marginal electorates, like Craig Laundy, having to vote on it, and then be campaigned against on the basis of that vote. It didn’t stop GetUp last week rolling out campaigns in those electorates with large migrant populations.

Peter Fray

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