Joint Media Release with the Shadow Attorney-General and the Shadow Minister for National Security, Mark Dreyfus QC.

Malcolm Turnbull is facing yet another test of his leadership today with news the hard right-wing of the Liberal Party is in conversation with the Senate cross-bench about repealing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act protects against offence, insult, humiliation and intimidation based on race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin. If the Government is again harbouring intentions to make changes to 18C, it has to come clean, now.

Proponents must also explain what they think people should be able to say that’s currently not permitted. 

Labor introduced the protections against racist hate speech in Section 18C more than twenty years ago, and we continue to stand by those protections today. This attack on every Australian is a test of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.

Labor believes one of Australia’s proudest achievements is our multicultural society, where every Australian deserves the right to live free from racial and ethnic vilification; modern Australia and multicultural Australia are the same thing.

We don’t simply tolerate diversity, we welcome diversity, we thrive on diversity, we are enriched and strengthened by diversity.

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act has served Australia well for more than two decades. The only outcome from repealing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is more hate speech, which is never ok.