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Insult, Offend, Humiliate

If you call me fat, stupid or a megalomaniac, I’d shrug my shoulders and say that’s your opinion. If you call me a wog or dago, that’s a different matter. Why? Simple. Terms like fat, stupid, megalomaniac are individual terms of abuse. They’re directly related to me. Terms like dago and wog (although we like to kid ourselves they’re part of the national vernacular) are terms of abuse that are directed at a whole group of people. The fact I’m Italian descent is nothing I can change. To be abused because of my nationality or race is different to being abused for who I am.

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is designed to ensure people of different racial origins have the ability to do something about public abuse.

The proposed removal of the words insult, offend and humiliate from the Act by the Turnbull led federal government opens the floodgates to entrenching divisions in Australian society.

Under this proposal words like Abo, half breed, half cast, towelhead, nigger, wog, dago and slant would once again become part of the public vernacular. It is ludicrous to say the proposed removal of 18C from the Racial Discrimination Act was all about free speech. Unfortunately Australians do not enjoy a constitutional right to free speech. The raft of so called anti-terrorist laws that have been introduced since 9/11 have legislated away what Australians thought was their right to freely speak their minds.

The Australian constitution has nothing in it about free speech. The High Court of Australia had to find an implied right to free speech in the Australian constitution – which came into play when an election was called and ended when the new government was sworn in to ensure elections could be held. To say the removal of 18C is a struggle about free speech is totally misleading. Barnaby Joyce, The Nationals Member for New England, Leader of the Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister, stated on radio the removal of 18C free speech was what they ANZACs fought for at Gallipoli. I don’t want to disillusion the Deputy Prime Minister, but World War One was fought by workers at either end of a bayonet for the glory of God, King and Country. It had absolutely nothing to do with democracy, free speech or human rights.

Tightening up procedures to weed out vexatious complaints is one thing, removing 18C from the Racial Discrimination Act is absolutely something else. When you have Zionist organisations and Muslim Fundamentalist organisations in Australia sing from the same song sheet on the matter of removing Section 18C, you know that what the government is proposing is not very smart, let alone a good idea. Before you get on your high horse and tell me religion is not a race, the issue isn’t religion, it’s the fact that a particular race of people tend to practise specific religious faiths. Removing 18C from the Act has nothing to do with free speech, it’s all about pandering to sections of the Australian community who refuse to accept not all people from a particular racial group act in the same way.

Dr. Joseph Toscano