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The Forum > Article Comments > So, what went wrong with section 18C? > Comments

So, what went wrong with section 18C? : Comments

By John de Meyrick, published 10/1/2017

None of what the (then) Government appears to have intended or proposed is what section 18C says or does.

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What is wrong with 18c? Let me tell you. It is the capital S in stupid.
It demonstrates what we all know. There is no justice unless payed for. Free justice is worthless. Justice revolves around money, and lots of it.
18c is ALL about money, lots of it for free.
The answer? Remove compensation bennifits, and 18c is dead!
Posted by diver dan, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 8:17:09 AM
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As my Grandfather would say, you all need to take Bex and have a lie down. I'm concerned that as a barrister you seem to be a bit confused, as far as I'm aware only one person has had rulings against them in regards to 18C. All others have failed.

Are you suggesting that laws can be written so that they are so clear that breach of them is so obvious that mediation or trail isn't required. Or are you suggestion that civil actions would be eliminated by further clarity.

The reality is the laws have been tested in court and anybody considering action under 18c will be informed by the latest rulings. That how the laws work, surely you should understand this!
Posted by Cobber the hound, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 9:13:38 AM
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Hear, hear and well said Cobber!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Tuesday, 10 January 2017 9:25:00 AM
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My grandma always included a 'cuppa tea" with the "Bex and a good lie down".
Posted by Cambo, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 9:29:09 AM
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The author is dead right, it's only the chance of judges having common-sense that fills in the sloppy wording. 18c says "reasonably likely to offend" which is ambiguous about whether it's the speaker or hearer being reasonable. Pollies are paid New year champagne to get laws right but they pay judges and barristers zillions to sort out the hangover.
Posted by nicknamenick, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 10:29:54 AM
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Nothing went right with 18c; it was, and is, the worst piece of totalitarian rubbish ever forced on Australians.

In their summary of "No Offence Intended:Why 18c is Wrong", Forrester, Finlay and Zimmermann advise that:

"... s 18c unduly (inhibits) freedom of expression... the freedom (being) both a universally recognised human right in international law and a fundamental common law freedom".

It cannot be "sustained under the external affairs power".

"Insult" and "humiliation" greatly "overreach" the purpose of the 'Convention', which obliges "State Parties to reconcile the prohibition of racial hatred with guarantees of freedom of expression".

Section 18c's legislative overreach, if not 'overkill' does not conform to Australia's obligation under the Convention,as it is not 'reasonably capable' of being considered appropriate or adapted to the Conventions purpose.

Even if the external affairs power supported 18c, then its operation impermissibly infringes on the implied freedom of political communication.

18c burdens discussions about matters that are that are the subject of Commonwealth and State legislative action.

18c's aim - which is to prohibit racial hatred or promote racial tolerance by prohibiting offensive speech, is not compatible with Australia's system of representative government.

18c is not reasonably appropriate to its purpose. Many of the terms that 18c and 18d employ are too broad and too vague. In any event, these terms directly affect DISCUSSIONS AND POLITICAL MATTERS - discussions that are "often robust and heated and result in offence, insult and humiliation"
Posted by ttbn, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 10:37:40 AM
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nicknamenick:

It is never reasonable for it to cause offence. It can only cause offence if the offended person agrees with the attitudes that are expressed by the person trying to offend.

If a racist slur causes you to feel uncomfortable it is because you are not secure enough in your own attitudes to race. No one chooses their race and so no one can take responsibility for the race they were born into. If someone wants to deride me for my race then why should I take offence at something over which I have absolutely no control? It is totally unreasonable.

If I am offended then the problem is mine. I cannot be responsible for my race but I am responsible for the way I think and feel about race. I am responsible for what I think is up to me to do something about and my race is never anything I should try and change for any reason.
Posted by phanto, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 10:45:18 AM
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Disagree Phanto, You are right inasmuch as nobody is responsible for their race or circumstances of birth! None of which gives any other, so called civilized human being, the right to abuse or discriminate!

"Least we forget" the racial hatred that resulted in the mindful, deliberate, and horrific extermination of 6 million Jews! Or the almost countless examples of state approved ethnic cleansing!

If 18C needs to be amended then let those proposing that make it a first order issue for the very next election and after the nation has effectively voted on marriage equality!

Arguably it's marriage equality alone that has raised a storm against 18C? And indeed, the most vociferous homophobic opposition to it? Gotcha?
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Tuesday, 10 January 2017 1:59:00 PM
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The only reason 18c is getting a run is Bolt or Blot which ever appeals,who got done by the law for making stuff up,18c had nothing to do with it had more to do with the fact Bolt stuffed up at googling,then printed falsehoods, bad luck Bolt maybe proof read before publishing.
Among all this confected outrage which is led by the the OZ version of the Völkischer Beobachter backed by the rest of the Murdoch pack of liars & stenographers.
Anything that sends the Murdoch owned papers into a tizzy and upset the rest of the RWNJs has my blessing,but one thing is for sure,one of the real as opposed to made up freezes on Free Speech are our very restricted defamation laws.
I don't see the same papers getting their nickers in a twist over that try fixing that first you might sound more convincing
Posted by John Ryan, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 5:16:40 PM
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Alan B.:

So without 18C we are heading straight into another Holocaust? That's a bit dramatic isn't it?

In order to have another holocaust we would have to start killing people. Killing people has its own laws that must be obeyed. There is no need for 18C to stop Holocausts.

Can you show exactly how a racial slur would definitely lead to a holocaust?
Posted by phanto, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 5:31:49 PM
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So where in this discussion does Grahams occasional propensity to remove posts and ban people? Isnt that just the same as relying on 18c?
Are some things too offensive? Or is OLO a bastion of censorship and unreasonableness?
Posted by mikk, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 5:56:21 PM
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There is one basic problem with 18C. It is that there is such a thing as truth.

If the truth offends the person offended must put up with offence.

E.g. Mohammed married his youngest of his wives when she was 6 and consummated the marriage when she was 9.All duly recorded in Arabic in the hadiths ( or more correctly the plural is ahadith)

It no doubt offends Muslims to say that if Mohammed were alive to day in Australia he would be in gaol as a paedophile.

Mohammed defeated a tribe of Jews and beheaded every adult male in the tribe (duly recorded in a hadith). If he were alive today, in Australia or Europe, he would be in gaol as a war criminal. In the Koran he expressly authorises the killing of prisoners of war who will not convert to Islam

If those statements offend many Muslims, I am a racist and subject to penalty for stating them. Is that the law? If so, the law is wrong. Repeal it. The truth is the truth is the truth!

It would be also true to say that people following the teachings of Mohammed are following the teachings of a person who today would be considered a paedophile war criminal. Is that not the truth? Does it offend? have I committed an offence? Can Australians no longer tell the truth ?
Posted by Old Man, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 6:00:51 PM
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phanto
Goodoh but the topic is about the pollies writing the words in the Act.

People can be provoked , it's a defence to murder and maybe a person with known mental disorder is understood likely to go beserk under a certain type of speech. Maybe an ethnic group is that way. Some people just accept corrupt pollies , many Australians go nuts about it and demand the right to get cranky. Not easy..
Posted by nicknamenick, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 8:35:30 PM
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//Are some things too offensive?//

Ja. Anything that offends Oberfuhrer Young will be banned, including people if the doesn't like the cut of their jib (i.e. if they're left wing, rude and abusive. It's OK to be rude and abusive if you're conservative, or runner would have been Terminated long ago.)

Amazingly, he claims to be a fan of the work of John Stuart Mill. The mind boggles.

//is OLO a bastion of censorship and unreasonableness?//

What, you've only just figured this out now?
Posted by Toni Lavis, Tuesday, 10 January 2017 10:58:19 PM
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Toni Lavis,

You seem to get away with being "left wing,rude and abusive" all the time. You appear to have survived insulting our editor with a Nazi rank, this time. Yobbos like you make it so easy. You continually display your ignorance and stupidity, which obviates the need for censorship. You do it all yourself. You don't need others to show you up.
Posted by ttbn, Wednesday, 11 January 2017 11:26:32 AM
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John. Thanks for your article; it does raise some interesting and challenging points.

One matter in particular does interest me and you refer to that in your introduction - to the gap between (probably) the first Cabinet submission and the subsequent legislation in 1995, and IMO you correctly state: "So what went wrong somewhere along the way between the policy intentions...and the actual amendment...?"

John, does Hansard shed any light on why the change happened - was it for example Parliamentary opposition or Media pressure?
Posted by Pilgrim, Wednesday, 11 January 2017 3:56:30 PM
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//Yobbos like you make it so easy.//

Nah mate, I'm a w4nker. Get it right:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiHdpAVIHgo
Posted by Toni Lavis, Wednesday, 11 January 2017 6:07:15 PM
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Section 18C and why do we have it?

To stifle free speech and nothing else.

The supporters of this section know full well that the only change to behaviour that legislation will bring about is a behaviour resulting from a fear to say what they think. Perhaps this is their real intent to retain 18C.

Why should any law say I cannot comment on another persons race colour religion or creed?

Why should any law say I cant say something that offends others?
Posted by Referundemdrivensocienty, Wednesday, 11 January 2017 6:40:53 PM
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good for you with distilled water and your home pipes http://watergadget.com/best-water-softener-reviews which will eliminate chlorine as well as assists best.
Posted by kova245, Thursday, 12 January 2017 7:52:08 PM
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