I've sent the following letter to The Australian re: the RDA, 18C & religion

Michael Sexton (“Those who say they are Charlie …”, 12 January) argues that section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act restricts debate on political and social questions, including the criticism of Islam. It is wrong to imply that the terms of the Act extend to debates about religion, religious identity and religious belief. Section 18C applies only to race, colour, ethnic origin and national origin. Religion is not covered. In any case, section 18D protects artistic work and fair comment on matters of public importance. Such speech, even if racially offensive, is exempt from section 18C, provided it is done reasonably and in good faith.

Dr Tim Soutphommasane
Race Discrimination Commissioner

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