Liberal Senator Cory Bernadi is leading the charge to change the racial discrimination laws.
Liberal Senator Cory Bernadi is leading the charge to change the racial discrimination laws. MICK TSIKAS

LETTER: Is this really the most pressing issue?

ONE of the first orders of our new parliament has been to try and weaken our racial discrimination laws.

These laws have been in place since 1975. Proponents for these changes are arguing "free speech" as the reason for the change.

So far I have not heard a convincing example of the sort of things that people want to say and can't under the existing laws.

Then we have the 'sticks and stones' argument.

That words cannot hurt. The irresponsible words of leaders can guide hatred and violence to a target just as precisely as a laser can guide a smart bomb.

When we are dealing with economic changes that leave thousands on the scrapheap there is palpable anger and frustration in society.

It can be convenient for populist politicians to find someone to blame rather than fix the actual problems.

We would do well to remember that the Weimar Republic had hate speech laws up until 1933 and that a number of leading Nazis were prosecuted under them.

This is nothing new.

What makes the priority of some Liberals to weaken our hate speech laws astounding is the fact that we now live in a country where doctors and aid workers can be jailed if they speak about what is happening in our offshore immigration centres.

Why does a government that can keep child abuse secret seem so concerned about the nuances of free speech?

I am sure One Nation will support the Liberals on this and probably haven't thought through the consequences.

What will they do when a bearded jihadi is standing preaching hatred against "infidels" and we can't do anything about it?

Will that be ok or is free speech only for nice white Australian folk?

If this is the most important issue for Australia's 45th parliament, that is so burning that it needed to be addressed on the first day then it is pretty clear that they have no intention of trying to fix the deficit, which has tripled since the LNP took power three years ago.

Maybe being able to blame people for our problems is more important.

Robert Forsythe, Glenlee