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Liberal senator admits 18C changes are designed to win back PHON voters

In case you did not suspect that Malcolm Turnbull’s explosion of piss and wind on Section 18C yesterday was entirely self-serving, this morning on Radio National Breakfast news, Liberal Senator James Paterson confirmed that the exercise was part of a suite of measures designed to win back votes from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

Oh look! A Liberal can speak the truth!

It was as well another of Turnbull’s abject efforts to hold onto his rickety leadership by placating his simmeringly mutinous right-wing. I hesitate to call them colleagues: that implies a co-operative relationship and this lot are snapping at their leader’s heels like a pack of rabid ferrets. Assuaging these furies is the motivation behind some 99.99% of Turnbull’s worryingly unhinged thought bubbles.

What yesterday’s exercise most certainly was not, is an expression of concern for the groups 18C is designed to protect, though Turnbull did his barrister best to spin it as such, declaring with silk-like arrogance that of course these changes would be of benefit, why else would his government so strongly support them?

The proposed change to the wording of 18C from insult, offend and humiliate to harass, is highly unlikely to pass the Senate, so Turnbull is on a hiding to nothing in that respect, however, he has silenced his critics’ savagery for a nano second (his nemesis, former PM Tony Abbott went so far as to congratulate him) and he has demonstrated to the pig ignorant that he won’t be enslaved by “political correctness.”

Aside: I have yet to fathom what political correctness actually is. Can anybody help me? Please be civil.

And so we have (on Harmony Day, nice touch lads) the spectacle of comfortably privileged white men demanding the right to insult, offend and humiliate others solely on the basis of difference. Comfortably privileged white men are inherently entitled to engage in these behaviours (we women know this all too well) and anyone attempting to interfere with their entitlement is guilty of “political correctness.” Political Correctness is, apparently, a far greater crime than insulting, offending and humiliating others solely because they are different in some way from you.

The world is collapsing under the unsustainable weight of the entitlements of comfortably privileged white men and their female consorts. Like miserably greedy children who fear their parents don’t love them they must have control of everything, otherwise it’s not fair.

Section 18C is intended to curb speech that will cause harm on the very specific grounds of race, ethnicity, nationality, colour and religion. I want Turnbull to explain why comfortably privileged white men and women need so desperately to be assured that they can legally insult, offend and humiliate others on the grounds of their race, ethnicity, nationality, colour and/or religion?

There is no upside to such commentary. It can only ever be derogatory, damaging and ill-intentioned. So why do the privileged need it? Why single out this particular aspect of free speech from the many others, including defamation law, that could more usefully be addressed?

Of course defamation law is what comfortably privileged white men use to destroy the freedom of others to speak about them in ways they find insulting, offensive and humiliating. Funny, that.

Changing the wording to harass almost certainly would have protected both Andrew Bolt and Bill Leak from complaints made against them to the Human Rights Commission. Harassment implies a sustained and personal attack, not a handful of cartoons or articles in a newspaper. A substantial body of work would need to be accrued before harassment could be alleged.

The bar would be set high so as to discourage complainants. The added recommendation that costs be awarded against complainants who lose their case is a powerful deterrent to making complaints in the first place.

The Murdoch press, on the other hand, has deep pockets and neither Bolt nor Leak would have faced personal financial distress, as would the majority of complainants. This does not, as Turnbull so deceitfully claimed, “strengthen the law” unless you are a perpetrator.

The proposed law is entirely political, and favours comfortably privileged white men over those they would insult, offend and humiliate, just because they can and by god, free speech!

One could almost claim that the LNP has struck (another) blow for Rupert.

What a happy Harmony Day we had in Australia. The day our government soothed the furrowed brows of ignorant bigots and promised to let them have all the freedoms they want, whenever they want. Now all that remains is for Turnbull to name the proposed change “The Leak Amendment.”

As this piece by Jennifer Hewitt in the AFR proclaims, the spirit of Leak lives on in the 18C amendment. Oh yes, indeed it does, but not for the reasons Hewitt suggests. It lives on in the cynical exploitation of difference for personal and political gain, normalised and legitimised by a very little, very frightened and very cowardly man, desperately clinging to his job and willing to exploit any circumstance that might help him stay in it for one more day.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.



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  1. kerri

    Excellent as usual Jennifer!

  2. crypt0

    Indeed, excellent piece Jennifer !
    A Liebral speaking the truth … savour the moment ços it’s unlikely to ever happen again.
    How sad for Australia that we are effectively “governed” by a pack of rabid ferrets …
    and a mouth for hire masquerading as PM …
    Gough Whitlam must be wondering what ever happened to us.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    “Gough Whitlam must be wondering what ever happened to us.”

    Whitlam! Menzies must be wondering what ever happened to us.

    As much as Howard lauded Menzies and averred he was a Menzite and followed his tenets, Menzies would have disavowed Howard and the Liberals since Howard in an instance, even allowing for Menzies considerable failings as PM and as a person.

    That illustrates how scrofulous the Liberals have become.

  4. helvityni

    Be better than Hanson, that’s my advise to Mal & co.

  5. Halfbreeder

    18 C and the same sex marriage referendum are just wedge politics by the neo con liberals & nationals. There is no need for a $250 mill referendum to change the Marriage Act to allow same sex marriage. Politicians can change the act in parliament which is what they are elected to do…that is, make, amend and repeal laws. As i said both of these issues are wedge politics designed to galvanise the conservative vote.

  6. Halfbreeder

    Whitlam reduced tarriffs and protections on imports by 25% across the board and let in conservative migrants by the boat load. Cant see how he would be justified in being shocked or appalled at what aust has become given he contributed to it.

  7. Johno

    Well said Jennifer !!

  8. MichaelW

    So much for freedom of speech on Bolt’s blog, tried to post this:
    Ditch the witch, Bob Browns bitch, father died of shame, should be put in a chaff bag and dropped in the sea.
    You want to be even more insulting than this Andrew?
    Didn’t even reach the pending stage, deleted instantly.

    Yet years ago a comment on Akermans blog calling Julia Gillard a slut was allowed, until I contacted the editor, the comment mysteriously disappeared.

  9. babyjewels10

    Thanks for trying, MichaelW.

  10. paulwalter

    An odious creature.

  11. Jaquix

    Malcolm catering to the lowest common denominator. No wonder he looks old and haggard. Notice in the presser that he could barely string the words together, though with repetition his delivery became more silk-like, as Jennifer describes it. Not much has been made of their “foxy cunning” in pretending this is Brandis bill and therefore will go straight to the senate. Thus saving nervous Libs sitting on tiny majority in multi migrant seats, the embarrassment of having to vote for it.

  12. Lance

    Didn’t take long for Bolt –
    Last night’s show -in large font -Heading —:

    “It’s Hip To Be Black”

    Seems the rock has been lifted -to expose the slithery ,slimy ,critters that dwell underneath.

  13. Alan

    Why even debate the effect of the proposed amendments? They are not designed to have an effect. They are not going to pass the Senate anyway. They mightn’t even have passed the House if Turnbull had been game to put them up for a vote there first instead of ducking it and sending them to the Senate for their last rites.

    The exercise has nothing to do with free speech. The only desired effect is to continue the Lib tune that political correctness is worse than racism. That is a tune that the Libs are locked into. If they stop singing it, they’ll lose their majority hold on the racist vote that they worked so hard to acquire, under Howard’s leadership, and that they have worked so hard to preserve ever since.

  14. Jennifer Wilson

    Good point Jaquix, they’ve very cleverly manoeuvred this amendment straight to the Senate, and for precisely the reason you describe. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Thanks for the appreciation, commenters.
    Cheers, Jennifer.

  15. kristapet

    An excellent article with sharp, incisive observations and ethical good sight, words badly needing to be said with, just, this kind of clarity
    This article really resonates with me.Thank You, Jennifer.
    And so do these words:
    No truer words than these were spoken than these – quote taken from John Lord’s “Day to Day Politics: A tale of two polls.”

    “An enlightened society is one in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.”
    Shame on the LNP /Malcolm Turnbull and the rest of the Liberal wankers and cronies
    No truer words than these were spoken by Jennifer Wilson, and, John Lord, as well

    Shame on the LNP /Malcolm Turnbull and the rest of the Liberal wankers and cronies for their nasty “I wants”, and hang the rest; and let me be a bigot and a bully and say whatever vicious words I want, to whomever I want. They have NO shame!
    I hope this “burns” them this awful, law changing, atrocity

    This weakening of 18C is incomprehensible to any egalitarian intellect
    We need to be better than this, we need a better world

    A friend suggests that it would be better to start afresh, with Australia becoming a Republic
    Create a new beginning and a new world order, that is fair, just, ethical in it’s “bones”
    A chance to create a flourishing, enlightened society, a fair and just one, respecting equality and allowing difference
    I agree with my friend, we are older folks. and I think we need with riders ( And, I am not asking for much), and as idealistic as it sounds, this wish list, such as:
    An Ethical Constitution with, plus the Magna Carta embedded in it , combined with, and with strong Racial Discrimination Laws,
    Along side, a special Treaty with First Nations People, showing respect, by, granting some rivers, wilderness areas, and some iconic environments the same rights as a citizen
    An Inclusive Constitution which has special Elder Council ( chosen for wisdom, proven worthiness and exemplary, high moral character)
    its member representatives covering different sectors of the community and their interests (No Board stacking, here either)
    No lobbying by Corporations, no donations from Corporations or big business magnates, to influence (strong-arm) the government ,
    one with creating a fairer voting system, maybe ( MMP (mixed member proportional), or STV (single transferable vote) whatever, but, one without preferential voting, because it is open to gerrymandering and corruption
    A system with an Independent Federal ICAC, (no Board stacking), instead, of the cowboy shambles we have now
    A system which has structures embedded within it with provisions that takes care of the old, vulnerable, the poor, the young, a system which does not discriminate against different sexual genders, or, ethnicity, or, race or religion, and which safeguards, science, art and culture ( a nation with strong Arts and Culture and Science is an advanced culture of thinkers and innovators)

    A system which includes a structures providing legal justice, education and healthcare coverage and protections as a constitutional right
    Certainly not a system that can change laws on a whim, bigotry, prejudice and monetary interests e.g.,Native Title and 18C

  16. jimhaz

    Articles like this make me want to support the Right on 18C.

    It is entirely natural for people to want to protect what the group they identify with have achieved – every group does it. SJW’s like the writer would not be rabbiting on if it were not for what whites had achieved. JW sure can be an offensive anti-white racist bitch.

    Rights and wrongs should be able to be determined by the use of facts and logic, which even when they are objective can cause offense.
    If I could draw a line to facts not being presented within the MSM due to 18C, then yep, I’d be in full support. I couldn’t be bothered supporting it at present as I think the media hold off, not because of 18C, but because of the potential downsides of being seen to support attitudes that might increase racism or harm subgroups.

    Offend is way too loose a term. It may have been OK at the time the act was created as a form of affirmative action, but now that Australia has such a broad range of people from around the world as a majority, it shouldn’t be needed any longer.

    There are other laws that can be used for verbal assaults.

  17. Freethinker

    IMO, we know this mob very well, now we have to see how the honorable members in the senate vote.

  18. olddavey

    If you’re not on The Fizz’s mailing list you should be.

    I received a self- congratulary missive today with a video of the great man extolling what the changes to 18c mean to me.

    I replied thus:

    Why don’t you take your hand off Andrew Bolt’s dick and actually do something important, like govern the country?
    The only people who give a stuff about 18c are the right wing extremists inside and outside your party who want nothing more than to foment trouble with ethnic groups, chiefly Muslims, in the hope of causing a terrorist incident.
    If you can’t see that you are not fit to be Prime Minister.


    He needs to receive as many emails as possible telling him what a fool he is, it may make him into better person!!

  19. bobrafto

    There was an article on the ABC website this morning that showed the number of complaints that were dismissed and upheld, very few as a matter of fact the highest number of complainants were Jews. The article seems to have been pulled.

  20. wam

    offend has an explanation as to why a statement is offensive – harass allows offence but limits repetition to 1, 2, 3, 4, more???

  21. brickbob

    Great article Jennifer and for what it’s worth i think President Trumble is transparent,vacuous,a liar a blatant opportunist and a first rate bastard.

  22. jane

    Great article, Jennifer. You have described perfectly those who are arrogant enough to think they have a God given right to belittle, offend, humiliate and insult other people because they are different.
    As to political correctness, I take it to mean practicing common courtesy, decency and good manners when dealing with other people, no matter who they are.

  23. jane

    As an afterthought, I am surprised that James Paterson was honest enough to confirm the deplorable reason for this government’s indecent haste to amend 18C.
    No need to worry that we might be overly harsh by arriving at that conclusion; James Paterson has given it legs.

  24. Matters Not

    surprised that James Paterson was honest enough to confirm

    Jane, Patterson made a ‘political mistake’. Nothing to do with ‘honesty’. He is a recent graduate from the IPA preparatory school for political hopefuls, (word has it, his voice hasn’t broken yet), so he will receive a perfunctory box around the ears, reminded that Georgina Downer has ambitions also so he’d better be more careful in the future.

    Patterson was last seen trying to remember all the lines as espoused by Rupert and John Ros …

  25. Tim

    I’ll help you. Political correctness is a destructive and pathological obsession with race, gender and sexuality coupled with a McCarthyite approach to any dissenting views.

  26. Tim

    The notion that opponents of 18C do so because they are racists champing at the bit to abuse minorities is an outrageous and dishonest slur. Even if you don’t accept them, the free speech arguments against 18C are principled and honourable.

    Also, you make an assertion about an admission by Patterson but provide no details, leaving the suspicion that you are presenting a highly skewed interpretation of his comments.

  27. Johno

    There is nothing honourable or principled with watering down/changing 18C.

  28. terry

    yes jen , ask people how muslims are changing their Australian life ? they got no answer not even hanson can tell you . only one mob
    changing this country and using muslims as a front for this multinational corrupted government . divide and rule , just a bunch of dumb sheep cant see it

  29. Kyran

    “What a happy Harmony Day we had in Australia. The day our government soothed the furrowed brows of ignorant bigots and promised to let them have all the freedoms they want, whenever they want. Now all that remains is for Turnbull to name the proposed change “The Leak Amendment.””

    Haven’t we spent the last six months (at least) in a ‘Leaky Boat’?

    It’s OK though. The government is holding an enquiry to ensure that ‘18C’ is done properly. As with all enquiries this alleged government convenes, the construct and content must be seen to be believed. First you get the right person to Chair the enquiry, Old McDonald, then you exclude those who may be effected by your deliberations from participating, our First People.

    “Senator Macdonald said he would not allow it because “once you start having one group of any type, in this case an Indigenous group, who have a particular view, do you call other members of that same group that might have a different view?”
    “I think it was for that reason we decided to restrict it to the ones we have (on the witness list),” Senator Macdonald said.”

    “Senator Macdonald began the hearing paying tribute to the late cartoonist Bill Leak.”

    Australians all let us rejoice.
    Thank you Ms Wilson and commenters. Take care

  30. David Baker

    Great piece Jennifer. But you should be careful of the scared little coward, as he may harass you! In my 64 years I’ve never seen such a cringing, lying, self serving pack of rabid animals like those lurching around the corridors of Parliament as we have now.

  31. kristapet

    When asked a direct question – in relation to 18C, was a long the lines of: “what is it you want to say”? the PM could not, rather chose not to, instead started attacking Labor – what he said was cut off in the clip – the reactions in parliament indicated that tripe was coming out of his mouth

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