Posted 19/03/2014 by Kirsty Magarey
There is currently heated debate over the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (RDA) and its racial vilification provisions. This debate has been narrowly focussed on one section of the Act, and has sometimes failed to recognise the impact of the following ‘free speech’ provision.
The media’s coverage has focussed almost exclusively on section 18C of the RDA. 18C makes it illegal for someone to do a public act which is ‘reasonably likely, in all the circumstances,’ to ‘offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate’ someone on the basis of their race (‘the vilification section’). There has been less attention paid to section 18D, which provides an overarching freedom of speech limitation on the restrictions of 18C (‘the freedom of speech section’). As an example, the ABC’s recent discussion of ‘Freedom of speech and the RDA’ included a detailed examination of 18C, but made no reference to the freedom of speech section. Read more...
TAGS: human rights; Racial Discrimination Act