Why are we ignoring 18D?

All the talk of getting rid of 18C in the Racial Discrimination Act is centred around this idea that ‘it shouldn’t be a crime to offend or insult someone’. The conversation usually tries to steer clear of mentioning that it’s not actually a criminal offense to begin with, that it has to be specifically because of their race, colour, or ethnic origin, and it definitely never goes so far as to examine, or in any way acknowledge, the myriad of exemptions for 18C presented by 18D.

Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:

(a)  in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or

(b)  in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or

(c)  in making or publishing:

  • (i)  a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or
  • (ii)  a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.

So, the complaints about the law as it currently exists are that: it should be okay to offend or insult based on their race, colour or ethnicity in ways that are not done reasonably or in good faith, in ways that have no genuine purpose in the public interest, that are not fair and accurate reporting of any event or matter of public interest, and are not a fair comment that is an expression of a genuinely held belief of the person making the comment.

I can’t but wonder exactly what these peeps are holding back that they worry might not make it through such a comprehensive list of exemptions?

You can buy that shirt by the way –

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