Petitioning Malcolm Turnbull

Repeal Section 18C - In Honour of Bill Leak

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Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is a cancer on free speech in Australia.

The law has been, and will continue to be, mired in controversy for as long as it remains.

Recently Section 18C has been used as a weapon to silence cartoonists for commenting on unpalatable truths, and to shakedown university students for innocuous online comments.

In the students' case, after considerable financial and personal cost and reputational damage, a judge confirmed the students had caused no intended offence. But 18C had already wreaked unfathomable, unnecessary harm on the innocent.

Prime Minister, we have just lost a great warrior for free speech, the iconic Australian cartoonist, Bill Leak.

Bill was a victim of Section 18C, forced to explain his work to a State sanctioned body in Orwellian like circumstances. Bill's supposed crime was to highlight the plight of children in dysfunctional remote communities. For that he was vilified using a blunt, unjust, dangerous piece of government legislation.

Bill fought for his right to freely tell the truth. He should not have needed to.

Prime Minister, on the day of Bill's passing you wrote a moving tribute. However they are mere words. Mere empty platitudes, unless followed by action. Words are cheap. Actions speak louder than words.

If you truly wish to pay tribute to the late, great Bill Leak, we call upon you to announce that you will commence the process to repeal the entire Section of the Act - Section 18C.

A real leader makes a stand, does what's right.

A real leader takes political risks based on principles.

A real leader does not need a committee or focus group to test the wind.

A real leader has instincts that are founded in fundamental truths.

We, below, call upon your leadership to finally repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, in the interest of freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

In tribute to Bill Leak, who embodied the great Australian larrikan character, called a spade a spade, told it like it was, without fear or favour, we propose the amended Act be known as 'Leak's law'. 


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  • Malcolm Turnbull

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