When Malcolm Turnbull defended controversial changes to the Racial Discrimination Act on Tuesday, he said it was about “standing up for the freedom of speech that underpins our society.”
Well, now thousands of Australians are using that privilege to slam the government’s move.
Collected under the hashtag #freedomofspeech are heartbreaking experiences of the racism Twitter users have experienced throughout their lives – from offhand comments to brutal physical assault.
Among them, are those shared by several high-profile Australians…
Cook, columnist and 2010 MasterChef Australia winner Adam Liaw was among those to contribute.
“I’ve had my accent (do I have one?) mocked THOUSANDS of times. I’ve been told to go back to where I came from THOUSANDS of times. I’ve been called a ‘gook’, ‘nip’, ‘ching-chong’ or any number of racist names THOUSANDS of times,” he wrote.
And sadly, he conceded, it will likely happen to his “beautiful, adorable children”:
Launched by author Benjamin Law this morning, the trending social media movement is in direct response to the bill passed today by the House of Representatives to remove the words “offend, insult and humiliate” from 18c and replace them with “harass” and “intimidate”.
The Government argues the bill, which is yet to be passed by the Senate, strikes a “careful balance” that protects Australians from discrimination while also shielding others from “spurious claims of racism”.
Listen: Randa Abdel-Fattah on her experience of racism and Islamophobia. (Post continues after embed.)
Facing vocal criticism from Labour, The Greens and crossbenchers today, Prime Minister Turnbull told parliament, “I believe all Australians are absolutely opposed to racism in any form.
“The suggestion that those people who support a change to the wording of Section 18C are somehow or other racist is a deeply offensive one.”
Speaking of deeply offensive…