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Reports cabinet approves removal of 'insult' and 'offend' from Racial Discrimination Act - politics live Reports cabinet approves removal of 'insult' and 'offend' from Racial Discrimination Act - politics live
(35 minutes later)
10.46pm GMT
22:46
Let me take a brief trivial excursion to a Daily Tele story our social services minister.
Social Services Minister Christian Porter 's hilarious self-portrait’ for Cleo magazine, aged 28. https://t.co/0tYf4nihRa pic.twitter.com/ewIZXMlwg0
Perfectly spherical in face, dark-eyed and with tiny arms, Mr Porter’s stick figure self-portrait was unremarkable — except for one astonishing feature that suggests Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet has a remarkably well-endowed member.
Taking time out yesterday from negotiating the passage of the government’s omnibus bill, Mr Porter told the Daily Telegraph: “It was a long time ago, but I ­recall having to submit a self-portrait. I’m not much of an artist — and, yes, there was a lot of wishful thinking in that picture.”
In the 1999 list of Australia’s most eligible bachelors, Mr Porter was in the esteemed company of many prominent and wealthy Australians including James Packer and Justin Hemmes.
Perhaps that was what led him to overstate his wedding tackle credentials. Or maybe with a name like “Porter” he just wanted to brag about how much luggage he has to carry — as well as the size of his trunk.
I make no comment.
Updated
at 10.51pm GMT
10.39pm GMT
22:39
Liberal MP Craig Laundy blames the conservative media for whipping up 18c
The moderate Liberals are fighting a rearguard action. Liberal MP Craig Laundy, who also has a very diverse seat in Sydney, has been speaking out against any changes.
Laundy’s seat is one of the most ethnically diverse in Australia, with high populations of Australians from backgrounds including Chinese, Greek, Indian, Korean and Italian.
But Laundy says this is not about votes for him and he did fight the changes from the original proposal first proposed by Tony Abbott and George Brandis in 2013. He told Fran Kelly:
This isn’t an issue of votes for me, never has been. Four generations of my family have called Reid home. We have watched it change, amazingly and for the better. I am pragmatic and sensitive to the issues people face. This is a matter of principle, not being re-elected.
Laundy says talk about things that matter to the population. He says the bump in the polls last week occurred because the government was talking about energy policy and the Snowy Hydro scheme. Stick to your knitting.
While he acknowledged 18C was a preoccupation of some in his party room, he also blamed the conservative media for the current debate.
Yes there is an element of my party that have an issue with this but there is a far bigger element in the conservative media that run this and make it a front page issue at times and that is when I have it raised with me from people that are concerned with changes.
He also laid blame at the feet of Tony Abbott, who dumped the changes on the basis that he had to negotiate with the Muslim community over national security changes.
Former prime minister Abbott I think did the discussion a great disservice when he stated that one of the reasons he was walking away from changing 18C was to appease the Muslim community.
Now the major drama is, Islam is not a race. It is a religion. And you only have to look at comments from people like Ross Cameron and others to know that you can speak and bag Muslims all you want with no fear of repercussion. This was an issue of the day with race and that got missed and blended into a problem that some conservative commentators conflated or brought together with their questions about radical Islam.
He said that this time around, the debate is about process, after the Bill Leak case. He said the case against Leak should have been knocked out immediately, given the provision of 18D. He said costs were racked up and that should not have happened. Laundy is in favour of a change of process but not the law.
The process should be such that if Bill Leak’s case had come to the commission at nine in the morning it should have been knocked out by two minutes past nine.
Updated
at 10.53pm GMT
10.07pm GMT10.07pm GMT
22:0722:07
Rightwing thinktank the Institute of Public Affairs has welcomed the (unsighted) proposed change. The IPA have been pushing for this for a long time and when former deputy director senator James Paterson moved into the Senate for the Liberal party, it had the voice on the inside as well as on the outside.Rightwing thinktank the Institute of Public Affairs has welcomed the (unsighted) proposed change. The IPA have been pushing for this for a long time and when former deputy director senator James Paterson moved into the Senate for the Liberal party, it had the voice on the inside as well as on the outside.
John Roskam, executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs, has welcomed any proposal to replace the words “offend” and “insult” in section 18C with the word “harass”.John Roskam, executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs, has welcomed any proposal to replace the words “offend” and “insult” in section 18C with the word “harass”.
This is an important step towards restoring freedom of speech in Australia. However, only the full repeal of 18C will guarantee this fundamental human right.This is an important step towards restoring freedom of speech in Australia. However, only the full repeal of 18C will guarantee this fundamental human right.
Section 18C in any form is a restriction on freedom of speech that chills public debate and damages social cohesion.Section 18C in any form is a restriction on freedom of speech that chills public debate and damages social cohesion.
The definition of words like ‘harass’ are mired in uncertainty. We would predict that even under the government’s proposal, problems would still emerge in the future.”The definition of words like ‘harass’ are mired in uncertainty. We would predict that even under the government’s proposal, problems would still emerge in the future.”
UpdatedUpdated
at 10.28pm GMTat 10.28pm GMT
9.57pm GMT9.57pm GMT
21:5721:57
Steve Ciobo on 18C: a small niche of people really preoccupied by thisSteve Ciobo on 18C: a small niche of people really preoccupied by this
Trade minister Steve Ciobo is talking to Kieran Gilbert on Sky. He starts with a fan dance on whether the government is removing “insult” and “offend” from the Act.Trade minister Steve Ciobo is talking to Kieran Gilbert on Sky. He starts with a fan dance on whether the government is removing “insult” and “offend” from the Act.
I’m getting whiplash listening to the key messages.I’m getting whiplash listening to the key messages.
Ciobo says any changes will make the law work better.Ciobo says any changes will make the law work better.
But this is a minor issue for a niche group of people (in his party room).But this is a minor issue for a niche group of people (in his party room).
He would rather be talking about issues that resonate with Australians (this does not).He would rather be talking about issues that resonate with Australians (this does not).
Which seems to be conflicting.Which seems to be conflicting.
Gilbert makes the point that chief justice Susan Kiefel said there was a tougher test for “insult” and “offend” than the words would suggest. What about changes to the process instead?Gilbert makes the point that chief justice Susan Kiefel said there was a tougher test for “insult” and “offend” than the words would suggest. What about changes to the process instead?
Ciobo:Ciobo:
There’s scope to look at both reform in relation to the actual section 18C but also reform in relation to how that actual process works with the Human Rights Commission as well.There’s scope to look at both reform in relation to the actual section 18C but also reform in relation to how that actual process works with the Human Rights Commission as well.
We effectively want to take it from being about hurt feelings to harm. So it’s a tougher law. It’s a better law. And it’s a fairer law.We effectively want to take it from being about hurt feelings to harm. So it’s a tougher law. It’s a better law. And it’s a fairer law.
So the government is definitely changing the law rather than process.So the government is definitely changing the law rather than process.
Then Ciobo bells the cat on whether this issue is gripping the Australian people.Then Ciobo bells the cat on whether this issue is gripping the Australian people.
I would love to have spent this amount of time talking about something that actually really resonates with Australian people, in terms of unemployment, in terms of economic growth, in terms of job prospects, in terms of trade. It’s actually what exercises my mind.I would love to have spent this amount of time talking about something that actually really resonates with Australian people, in terms of unemployment, in terms of economic growth, in terms of job prospects, in terms of trade. It’s actually what exercises my mind.
And how many people actually care about it.And how many people actually care about it.
These are not the issues that I focus on. These are not the issues that I believe Australians focus on. It tends to be a small niche of people that are really preoccupied by this but you know what Aussies care about. They want to know about their job security. they want to know about their wages. they want to know about their ability for their kids to get a good education.These are not the issues that I focus on. These are not the issues that I believe Australians focus on. It tends to be a small niche of people that are really preoccupied by this but you know what Aussies care about. They want to know about their job security. they want to know about their wages. they want to know about their ability for their kids to get a good education.
Then Gilbert notes that Plibersek just said exactly the same thing.Then Gilbert notes that Plibersek just said exactly the same thing.
This is going to be something we are going to deal with because we are not afraid to make hard decisions ...This is going to be something we are going to deal with because we are not afraid to make hard decisions ...
UpdatedUpdated
at 10.05pm GMTat 10.05pm GMT
9.31pm GMT9.31pm GMT
21:3121:31
Tony Burke on 18C: if you are the woman abused, this is no small matterTony Burke on 18C: if you are the woman abused, this is no small matter
Labor deputy Tanya Plibersek has been out early, reminding people that there is a significant unemployment and under-employment problem, education and childcare issues to fix. Her tone and words are along the lines of “what the hell are you people thinking if this is the most important thing etc etc”.Labor deputy Tanya Plibersek has been out early, reminding people that there is a significant unemployment and under-employment problem, education and childcare issues to fix. Her tone and words are along the lines of “what the hell are you people thinking if this is the most important thing etc etc”.
Tony Burke, who represents the very diverse seat in Sydney of Watson which takes in Lakemba and Punchbowl, said get a grip, people.Tony Burke, who represents the very diverse seat in Sydney of Watson which takes in Lakemba and Punchbowl, said get a grip, people.
There is a discussion where people say this isn’t the biggest issue. And for most people it’s not. But if you’re the woman who gets racially abused on the way home when you’re catching public transport just keeping to yourself, it’s not a small matter. If you’re the child that comes home shaking after your parents have been abused and racially insulted in a shopping centre, it’s not just a minor matter.There is a discussion where people say this isn’t the biggest issue. And for most people it’s not. But if you’re the woman who gets racially abused on the way home when you’re catching public transport just keeping to yourself, it’s not a small matter. If you’re the child that comes home shaking after your parents have been abused and racially insulted in a shopping centre, it’s not just a minor matter.
And I cannot fathom what sort of extreme members we have in this parliament when for all the people you could defend, for all the so-called victims that you could go out and try to help, they look at a situation of racial abuse and say, its the abuser who is the victim. That is the person whose cause we need to champion, that’s the person who we need to help.And I cannot fathom what sort of extreme members we have in this parliament when for all the people you could defend, for all the so-called victims that you could go out and try to help, they look at a situation of racial abuse and say, its the abuser who is the victim. That is the person whose cause we need to champion, that’s the person who we need to help.
Under any changes of the Racial Discrimination Act, no matter how they say what words they delete and what words they insert, its about permitting more than is permitted now.Under any changes of the Racial Discrimination Act, no matter how they say what words they delete and what words they insert, its about permitting more than is permitted now.
UpdatedUpdated
at 9.38pm GMTat 9.38pm GMT
9.19pm GMT9.19pm GMT
21:1921:19
Today’s Guardian Essential poll, reported by Katharine Murphy, has found Labor pulling ahead of the Coalition. But the interesting point is on perceptions of a divided Liberal party.Today’s Guardian Essential poll, reported by Katharine Murphy, has found Labor pulling ahead of the Coalition. But the interesting point is on perceptions of a divided Liberal party.
Labor has pulled 10 points ahead of the Coalition, and there has been a significant rise in voter perceptions that the Liberals federally are divided, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll.Labor has pulled 10 points ahead of the Coalition, and there has been a significant rise in voter perceptions that the Liberals federally are divided, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll.
As the government prepares to bring heavily contested changes to the Racial Discrimination Act to the Coalition party room on Tuesday, the new opinion survey puts Labor well ahead of the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis, 55% to 45%.As the government prepares to bring heavily contested changes to the Racial Discrimination Act to the Coalition party room on Tuesday, the new opinion survey puts Labor well ahead of the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis, 55% to 45%.
The latest poll also charts a 16% increase in voter perceptions that the Liberals are “divided” [to 68%] since that question was last asked in June 2016, just before last year’s federal election.The latest poll also charts a 16% increase in voter perceptions that the Liberals are “divided” [to 68%] since that question was last asked in June 2016, just before last year’s federal election.
Voters are also more inclined than they were last June to characterise the government as being “too close to the big corporate and financial interests”, “out of touch with ordinary people” and “will promise to do anything to win votes”.Voters are also more inclined than they were last June to characterise the government as being “too close to the big corporate and financial interests”, “out of touch with ordinary people” and “will promise to do anything to win votes”.
9.07pm GMT9.07pm GMT
21:0721:07
Barnaby Joyce: I don’t get pursued by people up and down the street by people talking about 18C.Barnaby Joyce: I don’t get pursued by people up and down the street by people talking about 18C.
Of course Malcolm Turnbull ruled out any changes to section 18C before and after the election.Of course Malcolm Turnbull ruled out any changes to section 18C before and after the election.
Before the election in February 2016:Before the election in February 2016:
Q: Do you believe that 18c in the Racial Discrimination Act strikes the right balance?Q: Do you believe that 18c in the Racial Discrimination Act strikes the right balance?
Turnbull:Turnbull:
Well, it is, there are no plans to change it, so no plans to change it.Well, it is, there are no plans to change it, so no plans to change it.
After the election in August 2016:After the election in August 2016:
The government has no plans to change 18C, we have other, much more pressing priorities to address and they include big economic reforms.The government has no plans to change 18C, we have other, much more pressing priorities to address and they include big economic reforms.
Last night, Barnaby Joyce warned reporters to check their sources and has told the ABC again there is no great clamour for change in the electorate.Last night, Barnaby Joyce warned reporters to check their sources and has told the ABC again there is no great clamour for change in the electorate.
I always love to hear rumours about a cabinet meeting which I’ve just left and I’d say, check your sources, check them hard. Because they were all still there when I walked out the door.I always love to hear rumours about a cabinet meeting which I’ve just left and I’d say, check your sources, check them hard. Because they were all still there when I walked out the door.
18C? There’s been a committee. It’s made a report. We’ve read the report. No doubt something we’ve brought to the joint party room in due course, I imagine tomorrow. But there’s all of the reports about a massive split. That’s a load of rubbish. I can’t understand how these reports get legs when I was actually in the room and what they say is just wrong.18C? There’s been a committee. It’s made a report. We’ve read the report. No doubt something we’ve brought to the joint party room in due course, I imagine tomorrow. But there’s all of the reports about a massive split. That’s a load of rubbish. I can’t understand how these reports get legs when I was actually in the room and what they say is just wrong.
I don’t get pursued by people up and down the street by people talking about 18C.I don’t get pursued by people up and down the street by people talking about 18C.
UpdatedUpdated
at 9.24pm GMTat 9.24pm GMT
8.49pm GMT8.49pm GMT
20:4920:49
Good morning blogans,Good morning blogans,
Welcome to 21 March, the United Nations international day for the elimination of racial discrimination. I kid you not. The theme this year is “racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration”:Welcome to 21 March, the United Nations international day for the elimination of racial discrimination. I kid you not. The theme this year is “racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration”:
Every person is entitled to human rights without discrimination. The rights to equality and non-discrimination are cornerstones of human rights law. Yet in many parts of the world, discriminatory practices are still widespread, including racial, ethnic, religious and nationality based profiling, and incitement to hatred.Every person is entitled to human rights without discrimination. The rights to equality and non-discrimination are cornerstones of human rights law. Yet in many parts of the world, discriminatory practices are still widespread, including racial, ethnic, religious and nationality based profiling, and incitement to hatred.
In Australia last night, cabinet met to discuss the vexed issue of section 18C (sans 18D) of the Racial Discrimination Act.In Australia last night, cabinet met to discuss the vexed issue of section 18C (sans 18D) of the Racial Discrimination Act.
The Australian, which has been campaigning to change the law, suggests that cabinet favours the Right’s proposal going the Full Monty - that is, remove the words “insult” and “offend”.The Australian, which has been campaigning to change the law, suggests that cabinet favours the Right’s proposal going the Full Monty - that is, remove the words “insult” and “offend”.
The Australian has learned that a major sticking point was the ­offence of “humiliate” within the act, which several senior MPs who are backing change argued would be politically difficult to remove.The Australian has learned that a major sticking point was the ­offence of “humiliate” within the act, which several senior MPs who are backing change argued would be politically difficult to remove.
The government is not confirming these reports and any change first has to get through the party room.The government is not confirming these reports and any change first has to get through the party room.
This is what these two sections say:This is what these two sections say:
Section 18C: Offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic originSection 18C: Offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin
(1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:(1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and
(b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.(b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.
Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:
(a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or(a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or
(b) in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or(b) in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or
(c) in making or publishing:(c) in making or publishing:
(i) a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or(i) a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or
(ii) a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.(ii) a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.
Katharine Murphy reported yesterday that Liberal moderates like Russell Broadbent and Craig Laundy are opposed to the change and prefer a process change which would stop vexatious claims earlier.Katharine Murphy reported yesterday that Liberal moderates like Russell Broadbent and Craig Laundy are opposed to the change and prefer a process change which would stop vexatious claims earlier.
The Coalition party room will meet this morning and we expect a briefing around midday.The Coalition party room will meet this morning and we expect a briefing around midday.
It is going to be a rocky road today. Keep calm and carry on. Or out the door. Speak to me in the thread, on the Twits @gabriellechan and @mpbowers or on Facebook.It is going to be a rocky road today. Keep calm and carry on. Or out the door. Speak to me in the thread, on the Twits @gabriellechan and @mpbowers or on Facebook.
UpdatedUpdated
at 9.36pm GMTat 9.36pm GMT