TONY Abbott promised to repeal the “racial hatred” section (18c) of the Racial Discrimination Act “in its current form”. George Brandis promised to repeal those provisions that enabled Andrew Bolt “to be successfully pursued through the courts for expressing an opinion on a matter of public policy’’, a commitment he reaffirmed on ABC1’s Q&A on Monday night.
These statements are not inconsistent and the electorate awaits final words before passing judgment on any breach of an election promise.
Meanwhile, Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane fears the abolition of 18c. He says that abolition “can licence racial hatred (and) may unleash a darker, even violent, side of our humanity, which revels in the humiliation of the vulnerable’’.
Was Australia a darker place before the insertion of 18c in 1995? I do not think so.