The government decided this week to make changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
The current section, which makes unlawful words that “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” has led to a series of regrettable outcomes.
Students at the Queensland University of Technology were hauled before the Human Rights Commission and through the courts because they had complained about the exclusive use of a computer laboratory.
The cartoonist, Bill Leak, was also brought before the Human Rights Commission for a cartoon depicting the failure of parenting in the indigenous community.
Worse, the Human Rights Commissioner encouraged people to bring complaints about the issue.
An ethnic group sought a ruling against another ethnic group because of activities that occurred in another country during the Second World War.
Provisions designed to protect individuals are being used to promote group rights and identity politics.
The proposed new section will include a prohibition on words that “harass or intimidate” – and introduce the standard of the “reasonable member of the Australian community.”
Under the proposed changes to the legislation, racial abuse remains an offence. It constitutes harassment.
The law will continue to protect individuals against racial intimidation and harassment while removing the ability of groups to prosecute vexatious claims.