Changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act unveiled this week look set for defeat in the Senate. But the issue will continue to breathe life. Michelle Grattan tells University of Canberra vice-chancellor Deep Saini it’s going to be a very difficult issue for Malcolm Turnbull and is a “triumph of ideology over pragmatism”.
“Whether or not the changed wording gets through, this will be an issue for the government right up to the election – and not a good one in marginal seats where there are large ethnic communities. There will be under-the-radar campaigns and I think that quite a few votes could be leached away,” Grattan says.
“What the government could have done was just reform the processes of the Human Rights Commission.”
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra