It's all in the timing




Opponents of 18C chant for the right to be bigots on Harmony Day. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas



Fiona Katauskas Fiona Katauskas' work has also appeared in ABC's The Drum, New Matilda, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian, The Financial Review and Scribe's Best Australian political cartoon anthologies.

Topic tags: Fiona Katauskas



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Existing comments

Doubt that the amendment to18 C is about giving the people the right to be bigots, but rather about the right not to be told by government how to speak, how to behave or to be compelled to abandon a long established, cultural self-effacing humour, applied to all-comers including self and own, in what many might see as an inclusive camaraderie.

john frawley | 21 March 2017  

Dear Fiona, I would recommend Frank Brennan's Eureka article from a few weeks back. An excellent summarized analysis of where 18c is not working and where it needs to change. To call people bigots that wish to change 18c is to miss the point entirely.

Luke | 22 March 2017  

That's all very eloquently stated, John, but maybe the people who feel the brunt of racial abuse have first dibs on opinion here. Maybe years of abuse have taken a bigger toll than most of us can imagine.

Anne Perkins | 22 March 2017  

Fiona, you have nailed it again. Is that George C. holding the megaphone? You have the essence perfectly. In this case I find I agree with good old Barnaby Joyce. First time for everything, I suppose.

Bill Venables | 22 March 2017  

Anne. I wonder why we never see anything from the abused people in the public commentary on sites like Eureka Street. There is always plenty from the public advocates for a cause but rarely, if ever, anything from the alleged victims. Perhaps it is not such a big problem in this country?

john frawley | 22 March 2017  

John, I don't think there is an absence of voices here. In recent days I've heard representatives of Indigenous, Jewish and Islamic groups speak out against changing Section !8C. Perhaps not on Eureka Street but they are clearly out there. In any case I would suggest that sometimes the absence of voices is a sign of the problem. I like to ask critics of Section 18C why they don't think Section 18D provides sufficient protection for their comments, given the size of the safety net in protecting their right to free speech.

Brett | 22 March 2017  

I think, Brett, the voices you refer to are what I have called "public advocates" - but I do take your point.

john frawley | 22 March 2017  

For those who don't think 18c is necessary in its current form, I encourage you to look at the tweets with the hashtag #freedomofspeech

Carolyn Hastie | 23 March 2017  


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