Labor’s New Threat To Freedom Of Speech

Written by:
3 May 2019
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Free Market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs has criticised a proposal from Mark Dreyfus, the Federal Labor shadow attorney-general, that if elected a Labor government would ‘beef up’ the enforcement of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act by increasing the funding of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). 

“Not only does the AHRC preside over divisive and unnecessary anti-discrimination law, it has ridden roughshod over the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness. As was found with Bill Leak and the QUT students, with the AHRC, the process is the punishment,” said IPA Director of Policy, Gideon Rozner.

“Labor’s proposal to crack down on so-called ‘hate speech’ is deeply worrying. According to the Labor Party ‘hate speech’ is a statement by university students that students should not be segregated by race.

“The AHRC receives an extraordinarily low number of complaints. Labor’s proposal will just mean more commissioners actively seeking out work where there is none, like former commissioner Tim Soutphommasane did when he encouraged Australians to make complaints against Bill Leak.

“The Coalition Government must stand up against this outrageous attack on free speech. 18C does not need to be boosted; it needs to be repealed. The Australian Human Rights Commission does not need even more money; it needs to be abolished.

“Rather than campaigning on issues that mainstream Australians care about, Labor has increasingly focused on identity politics. Ramping up funding for divisive bodies like the AHRC is evidence of this,” said Mr Rozner.

For media and comment: Evan Mulholland, Director of Communications, on  0405 140 780, or at [email protected]

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