Anti -hate speech laws may broaden in Victoria

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Anti – hate speech legislation has been debated in Victoria. However, any further movement is postponed until next year due to religious freedom legislation the Coalition government wants to pass.

Should hate speech laws be extended?

I’m really uncomfortable with laws that are deemed censorship. This is the problem with legislation like Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

Do I want racism, bigotry against religions, homophobia and transphobia to increase? Of course not! It infuriates me when people, especially those with a massive media presence, make derogatory (and almost always false) comments against racial minorities and the LGBTQ+ community. But censorship has been proven to be a heartache, for both accusers and the accused.

Case: Eatock vs Bolt

In 2011, Newscorp columnist, Andrew Bolt was taken to the Federal Court of Australia and sued for two articles Bolt wrote in Melbourne’s Herald Sun and At the time, Judge Mordecai Bromberg concluded thar Bolt was in breach of 18C. The articles were forbidden to be republished. The Herald Sun was forced to apologise for publishing the articles and take them down.


I never read the articles. I’ve only the headings and snippets quoted in other articles. I have also heard and read Bolt’s defences in the aftermath.

The reason why I think the Eatock vs Bolt case has put 18C in a bad light is because of the affect it has had, even years later. Andrew Bolt has had a target on his back since 2011.

Bolt has been treated like a pariah in much of the media. He has written about serious abuse against him that’s been published on social media (which I vehemently condemned at the time), he has received threats that were deemed so serious, he and his family had to be escorted from their home for their safety.

Then, in 2017, Bolt was physically attacked by alleged Antifa members in Carlton, Melbourne. Unknown liquid was thrown on his head. Luckily for Bolt, he fought back. While many described the substance as merely glitter, Bolt insisted that the substance hurt his eyes.

Case: Cindy Price vs Queensland University of Technology

In my opinion, this is a tragic case.

In 2013, former Queensland of Technology students Alex Wood, Calum Thwaites and Jackson Powell, along with other students were sued by QUT administrator, Cindy Prior for racial abuse, citing 18C. Two students paid settlements to avoid court.

The event happened in 2013. The students were asked to leave the a computer lab that Prior said was reserved for Aboriginal students.

Thwaites, Wood and Powell made Facebook posts protesting “segregation”, and sarcastically asked where “the white supremacist computer lab” was.

Thwaites was also accused of using the word “ni**ers on the post. He always denied this and it was never proven.

The case was thrown out of the Federal Court in 2016. There were no real winners. Cindy Prior lost the case. She was ordered to pay all the court costs. She later filed for bankruptcy.

Although the judge ruled in their favour, Calum Thwaites, Alex Wood and Jackson Powell didn’t escape unscathed.

Arguments against broadening ‘hate – speech laws’

In the lead up to this year’s federal election, Labor proposed extending the RDA a similar way that Victoria Labor has.

On the surface, this may seem like a good idea. However, I think the Bolt and Prior cases show how badly things can go.

The laws end up causing division. They also cause people to have less empathy for racial, religious minorities and the LGBTQ+ community, not more. Talking about LGBTQ+ people, we had the marriage debate for a number of years. We had the Israel Folau religious freedom fiasco. I don’t think we need another culture war. We don’t need another ‘I told you so. I told you we shouldn’t have had same – sex marriage’.

A better way

Late last year, I wrote that the U.S’s First Amendment was admirable. The reason why I thought it worked, was because the U.S. had an independent media that is big enough to have an impact.

I love how Kyle Kulinski (Secular Talk), David Pakman (The David Pakman Show) and Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian (both The Young Turks) stand up and are often willing to stand against the status quo. They stand up for justice and accountability. Having a variety of voices and people willing to stand up for justice and accountability in the media is better than censorship.

Do you think anti – hate speech laws be broadened to protect religious minorities and the LGBTQ+ community? Should those sort of laws (i.e. like 18C of RDA) exist at all? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Extending 18C the Racial Discrimination Act is a bad idea

 In the midst of debate on changing 18C of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Labor Party have said they wanted the law extended. They want the LGBTQ+ community, people with a disability as well as racial minorities to be protected. So, it would be an offence to offend, insult, humiliate people on basis of race, ethnic background, disability and sexual orientation.

As someone with a disability and someone who isn’t straight, I have one thing to say on the proposal – GOD PLEASE NO!!!!

No, no, no, no, no. i can’t say this enough! The way 18C has been used already has proven to be disastrous: the students from Queensland University of Technology and the case against the late The Australian cartoonist Bill Leak suggest, while defendants were not prosecuted, the law does more to destroy people’s reputations rather than actually making Australia a safe country for racial minorities – the original intent of the law.


One of the fears is that if 18C was extended, it will silence opponents of same – sex marriage. I get that this is an emotional issue to many in the LGBTQ+ community. But this isn’t the right way to go about it. This extension will not stop homophobes or racists. In fact, I fear it will only aggravate people, not win support for the people that are meant to be protected. Anti – discrimination measures brought into law by the Obama Administration in the U.S. has already backfired with anti – trans laws (e.g. HB in North Carolina), being put forward by hard-line Republicans across the country.

Meanwhile, in Australia, I fear that the Left and so – called LGBTQ+ allies should embrace for a similar pushback. The latest events, such as the Cooper’s Brewery/ Bible society backlash, I believe that would have only confirmed to opponents exactly why LGBTQ+ people SHOULDN’T get legal rights. They won’t be won over if they feel their rights to freedom of speech, conscience, etc are being threatened. Also, there will be an increase – not decrease – support for policies such as multiculturalism.


Personally, I say scrap 18C altogether and replace it with an anti – hate crimes Act. This can be used to combat things like Antisemitism, which seems to be at alarming levels around the world now. There is likely going to be a case in Canada real soon where an Imam is going to be charged when he preached that Jews should be killed, (by the way, the controversial Imam has  also received condemnation from other Muslims). Along with anti – defamation and possibly anti – discrimination laws in regarding services, (well, that’s another can of worms for another day), that’s all minorities should need. I think the majority of liberals and conservatives can agree with anti – hate crime measures. Nobody has a right to physically harm or threaten another person.


While safety does need to be considered, stifling thought and speech has proven to do more harm than good. Too often, laws like 18C have left people feeling silenced and frustrated, rather than help people its allegedly supposed to protect. Maybe it’s time for a rethink.

Do you support a change to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act? Do you think such laws should be scrapped or extended to protect other groups? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.