There is momentum building among coalition back-benchers to amend section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
Since Senator Day proposed the bill in September, it languished in the Senate, with only the express support of co-sponsors Senators Dean Smith, Cory Bernardi of the Liberal Party, and Senator David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party. However, since the new year, and in response to the terror attacks in Paris, France, support of freedom of speech generally, and amending section 18C in particular, have become more pronounced.
In The Australian, Christian Kerr summarises this sentiment presently among Coalition backbenchers, quoting Senator Bernardi who believes that it would be “hard to find more than half a dozen people in our partyroom who don’t believe it is a reasonable measure.”
In particular, Senator Sean Edwards, a Liberal from South Australia, commented that “anything that enhances freedom of speech – which has clearly got some traction around the world now in democracies – should be supported. He similarly gave this forthright defence of freedom of speech in The Advertiser.