Thursday, 13 March 2014

Are the Institute of Public Affairs' resident wingnuts losing control of one of their puppets?

Really happening or wishful thinking?

A political fight is brewing between Attorney-General George Brandis and the Institute of Public Affairs.
Senator Brandis has angered the IPA and other powerful Liberal Party allies, who believe the Attorney-General is using tricky language to dilute his promise to repeal a controversial section of the race discrimination laws.
The Attorney-General has also been lobbied internally by marginal seat MPs representing multicultural electorates worried about losing protections against hate speech.
Free speech advocates say they have detected a change in Senator Brandis' tone recently, and they believe he has been persuaded by religious, ethnic and indigenous leaders, who have been lobbying against changing the race discrimination laws.
The dispute is likely to get worse, especially if Senator Brandis introduces, as some expect, a new criminal offence of racial vilification. IPA executive director John Roskam said he would rather there were no changes to the law than a new criminal ban on hate speech. He also said it had ''got back to me'' that Senator Brandis had been criticising the IPA in private conversations.
On ABC1's Q&A program on Monday, Senator Brandis said the Abbott government was determined to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act ''in its current form''. It is that phrase which angers the IPA.
''That was not the tone and intention of what Senator Brandis expressed before the election,'' Mr Roskam said. He said Senator Brandis had led him to believe he would repeal section 18C entirely. Senator Brandis condemned the law - which makes it unlawful to ''offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate'' someone because of their race or ethnicity - when columnist Andrew Bolt breached it for an article he wrote about ''white'' Aborigines.

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