Most of us are aware that Senator Cory Bernardi has an on-line petition, "Free Speech Petition" at http://www.corybernardi.com/18c_petition.
The petition seeks for parliament to remove the most troubling words from section 18 C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the words being "offend" and "insult". This would still leave the words "humiliate" and "intimidate" in the section, which would operate as before.
Is this a step forward, or this this managed dissent?
The answer is: both. It is a step forward, as eliminating these words would knock down almost all of the problematic cases from the Bolt case to the University student ones. It is thus worth supporting for that reason.
However, there is weighty opinion that has been made repeatedly in The Australian by legal commentators, that the entire section needs to go. A good book arguing for more comprehensive reforms, especially to defences, is No Offence Intended: Why Section 18 C is Wrong (2016).
I think the presently "offended" ethnics will only now claim that they are "humiliated." There is only a thin line between being offended and being humiliated, and today, all those offended will say that they are also humiliated, and naturally intimidated, because the bar is very low in the politically correct landscape.