MEDIA RELEASE: Turnbull must explain race hate leaks

Joint Media Release with the Shadow Attorney-General and the Shadow Minister for National Security, Mark Dreyfus QC.

Malcolm Turnbull's leadership is again in question today as more hard right-wing MPs call for the repeal of race hate laws, including a member of his own front bench.

Leaks from within the Liberal Party also suggest Malcolm Turnbull did a deal to repeal race hate laws for the support of right-wing MPs in rolling Tony Abbott as Prime Minister.

Malcolm Turnbull must immediately explain these leaks and tell the Australian people if they are true.

Malcolm Turnbull must also rebuke Assistant Minister Anne Ruston for calling for race hate laws to be repealed and tell the Australian people whether he agrees people should have the right to offend, insult and humiliate other Australians based on their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin.

A failure by Malcolm Turnbull to rebuke his Assistant Minister will confirm he is being held hostage and is subject to the extreme views held by fringe elements of his own party.

Supporters of repeal of 18C must explain what they think people should be able to say that’s currently not permitted.

Labor introduced the protections against racist hate speech in section 18C more than twenty years ago, and we continue to stand by those protections today.

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act protects against offence, insult, humiliation and intimidation based on race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin.

Labor believes one of Australia’s proudest achievements is our multicultural society, where every Australian deserves the right to live free from racial and ethnic vilification. Modern Australia and multicultural Australia are the same thing.

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act has served Australia well for more than two decades. The only outcome from repealing section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act will be more hate speech. This is unacceptable.

AUGUST 17, 2016

Tony Burke