Federal Labor Member for Watson, Tony Burke has condemned the Abbott Government’s proposed changes to Section 18C of Racial Discrimination Act, which protects against racist and bigoted hate speech in Australia.
The Racial Discrimination Act in its current form makes it unlawful to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate any person on the basis of race.
Mr Burke said the proposed changes are deeply, deeply concerning, especially for our local area where we are one of the most multiculturally diverse in the country.
“I never thought I would see the day when we had a government that claimed people have a right to be bigots” Mr Burke said.
“It’s simple. Bigotry is wrong. Any government that defends bigotry as a right has failed the leadership test and doesn’t understand modern Australia.”
The changes have so far been strongly criticised by multicultural and community groups, who understand better than anyone the protection Section 18C provides.
“Tony Abbott needs to recognise that racially motivated hate speech is always unacceptable and has absolutely no place in our diverse community. It is not right to mask this as free speech.” Mr Burke said.
I will be sending a strong message to Tony Abbott that these proposed changes should be rejected in their entirety.