Opinion: Indeed, Mr Abbott, Section 18C is “clearly a bad law”

May 16, 2016

Lorraine FinlayFormer Prime Minister Tony Abbott has recently admitted that his failure to amend the controversial section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, was one of a series of mistakes he made while in office.

The section has been the subject of considerable debate over the past few years, and has been roundly criticised by many politicians and commentators because of its broad scope arguably preventing robust debate about race and ethnicity.

In an article for the website On Line Opinion, Murdoch University PhD candidate Joshua Forrester, and law lecturers Lorraine Finlay and Dr Augusto Zimmerman argue that section 18 C is not only a bad law, but an unconstitutional one. The article is based on research developed by the same authors in the new book No Offence Intended: Why 18C is Wrong that has recently been published by Connor Court Publishing.

They say it goes much further than required by the international obligations set out in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

They also argue it breaches the implied freedom of political communication by only requiring that an act is reasonably likely to offend or insult. This is a dangerously low threshold, they say.

To read the full article, click here.

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Media contact: Jo Manning
Tel: (08) 9360 2474  |  Mobile: 0408 201 309  |  Email: j.manning@murdoch.edu.au
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