By Andrew Bolt ~
Malcolm Turnbull has not achieved a single thing of substance in 11 months as Prime Minister. When asked about his stance with respect to the contentious Section 18C of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act, regarding the freedom of speech, his excuse for not honoring his promise to increase free speech is that he’s just too busy:
It is not a priority for us. Can I just emphasise this: we have a very extensive legislative program with the policies we took to the election.
He now has priorities?
Then this excuse, which could work just as easily to put off action on same sex marriage or constitutional recognition of Aborigines, or even domestic violence programs:
With all due respect to the very worthy arguments around it – it is not going to create an extra job, it is not going to ensure your listeners will get to work, or school, or get around their business any sooner, it’s not going to build an extra road.
Hmm. Seems we have a prime minister who can’t multi-task.
One of the nation’s most experienced judges has joined the push to reform section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to strike a better balance with freedom of speech while maintaining an effective armoury against racial hatred.
Judge Ron Sackville … told The Weekend Australian he favoured retaining a national race-hate law but said it needed a series of changes that would shift the balance and make section 18C easier for the courts to apply in a consistent manner.
The key part of his scheme would mean moving to what he described as an objective test in which liability under section 18C would be determined according to community standards. This would mean abandoning the current approach that focuses on how the statements at the heart of a complaint would affect a reasonable representative of those who lodged the complaint.
Justice Sackville’s reform plan, outlined in a forthcoming edition of the Australian Law Journal, would also remove the prohibition on language that offends, insults, humiliates or intimidates and replace it with what he described as “a more demanding standard”. This would ban language that degrades, intimidates or incites hatred or contempt.
The Weekend Australian can reveal the Human Rights Commission was considering 18 race hatred cases in June, with more having reached court over the past two years.
The Institute of Public Affairs obtained heavily redacted documents from the commission under the Freedom of Information Act … IPA director of policy Simon Breheny said: “The really worrying thing is that Australians have no visibility about the process that is taking place inside the commission.”
While the commission’s “conciliation” procedures frequently result in monetary settlements, Mr Breheny said there was no specific information about each matter.
Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser and runs Australia’s most-read political blog. On week nights he hosts The Bolt Report on Sky News at 7pm and his Macquarie Radio show at 8pm with Steve Price.