“People Do Have The Right To Be Bigots,” Says Australia’s Attorney-General

We wouldn’t want a little racial humiliation to get in the way of free speech.

1. Attorney-General George Brandis has caused controversy by proposing changes to Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act.

2. The Bill would see section 18C repealed, making it no longer unlawful to “offend, insult or humiliate” someone on racial grounds in public.

3. During question time yesterday, Senator Nova Peris questioned Australia’s chief law officer Brandis on the proposed changes.

Fairfax / Via smh.com.au

4. Brandis responded by defending freedom of speech.

5. Not surprisingly, a lot of people were outraged.

So George Brandis is keen on Freedom Of Speech opening the door for racists/bigots/etc.... What a c***. He's a slap headed balding fucker.

— Henry Beans (@HenryBeans)

Your child is bullied at school, do you: a/ tell the teacher b/ tell your child to rejoice because "people have a right to be bigots"?

— George Megalogenis (@GMegalogenis)

So laws should protect wealthy bigots over the vulnerable and marginalised? The world according to Brandis. #auspol #18C

— Josh Aitken (@joshaitken)

We want to give license to this.... #18c

— Sandra (@abissicus)

10. Politicians from Labor and the Greens spoke out.

The Abbott Govt said people had a right to be bigots, SHARE this if you think Australians should be free from racism

— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp)

PM & AG give green light to bigots. Labor stands strongly against racial hate speech. RT if you stand with us http://t.co/dzEicAigHu #auspol

— Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek)

Brandis steadfast in support of bigots honestly you couldn't make this attorney general up

— Scott Ludlam (@SenatorLudlam)

Our white male middle-class Attorney-General just said "people do have a right to be bigots". Under this Gov, they are encouraged. #SenateQT

— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters)

14. And some people responded with humour. It’s better than crying, at least.

Attorney General - “People have the right to be bigots.” Wow ... I guess it explains how Abbott chose his cabinet. #MICF

— Tom Gleeson (@nonstoptom)

Won't somebody please think of the bigots?

— Jeff Sparrow (@Jeff_Sparrow)

I'm so glad George Brandis has upheld the rights of bigots. Those ethnic & sexual minorities have been getting away with far too much lately

— Nick Seymour (@nickseemore)

Bigots Relieved To Have Clarity On Rights http://t.co/o9jq8L02qT #auspol

— The Shovel (@The_Shovel_)

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Jenna Guillaume is Editor-at-Large for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney.
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