In an article in The Australian by Jared Owens & Andrew Burrell
libertarian senator David Leyonhjelm is reported to have lodged a formal complaint before the Human Rights Commission under race hate laws for being publicly abused as an “angry white male”, contained in a column by Fairfax Media’s Mark Kenny.
Senator Leyonhjelm is determined to demonstrate the absurdity of the Racial Discrimination Act which prohibits speech that is “reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” on the basis of “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”.
The case is understood to be the first complaint of its kind for the HRC under section 18C of the Act, which makes it unlawful to commit an act that would reasonably offend or insult someone because of their race, colour, or national or ethnic origin.
The article by Mark Kenny in The Australian attacked the Liberal Democrat parliamentarian, who favours abolishing the law, as a “boorish, supercilious know-all with the empathy of a besser block”, “infantile reasoning” and “angry-white-male certitude”.
In a statement today, Senator Leyonhjelm said: “I was not personally offended by the comments – that’s my choice, however, under 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, this does not matter. Under the Act, Mr Kenny’s article is unlawful because his article was reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people on the basis of their colour"....
The revelation of the senator’s move comes as the Liberal Party in West Australian has voted in favour of a motion to remove the words "insult" and "offend" from the Racial Discrimination Act, which has broad appeal across the community.