Friday, March 31, 2017

18C: Proposed changes to Racial Discrimination Act defeated in Senate

A late-night debate in the Senate on proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act has been described as "filibustering" by the Opposition.

Labor, the Greens, some of the crossbench killed off amendments after seven hours of debate
The Government had extended the Senate's sitting hours so it could deal with two key pieces of legislation: changes to the act and the Government's cuts to company tax rates.

The Government had wanted to replace the words "insult", "offend" and "humiliate" in section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act with the term "harass".

On Thursday evening it became apparent the Government did not have the numbers to pass the changes, but the debate continued.

After seven straight hours of discussion, Labor, the Greens and some of the crossbench killed off the amendments.

It means the wording of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act will not change.

The Senate then continued debating process changes to the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill, the majority of which were uncontentious.

After another hour of discussion, Labor Senator Sam Dastyari accused the Government of trying to kill time.

"Let's just be clear what's going on here," he told the Senate.

"The Government is filibustering on its own bill about watering down race hate laws so that it can cut a deal on giving big business tax cuts."

No comments: