Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights

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Equal freedom for all requires limiting freedom of expression

Neal Jennings Flickr  Photostream

Neal Jennings Flickr

By Emma Larking*

Centre for International Governance and Justice, ANU

The federal Government claims that it has a ‘freedom agenda’. Part of this agenda involves repealing section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. This ‘offensive behaviour’ section makes it unlawful to publically offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate people on the basis of their race. The section has been in operation since 1995 and has been restrictively interpreted by the courts: in order to be unlawful the behaviour must have a ‘profound and serious’ impact.

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