Free speech loses a round Down Under, 18C unchanged for now

In a defeat for free expression in Australia, the country’s Senate has rejected the Turnbull government’s proposal to soften elements of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which bans so-called hate speech based on race [The Guardian, ABC] Opposition to the change was led by the opposition Labor Party, whose spokesman for multicultural affairs, Tony Burke, said “Any change that results in more permission being given for racial hate speech is bad for Australia.” In 2011, an Australian federal court found commentator Andrew Bolt guilty under the law over remarks in which he is said to have implied that some fair-skinned persons of part-aboriginal descent elect to classify themselves as aboriginal for career advancement.

By coincidence — although not really so, if you see what I mean — a planned lecture tour of Australia by AEI’s Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a vocal critic of female genital mutilation, sharia law, and jihadism, has been called off following calls to venues and insurers threatening “trouble.” Ali, who was born Muslim but came to disagree with the religious tenets of Islam, already travels with armed guards because of the credible threat of assassination [Kay Hymowitz, City Journal]

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