Senator Cory Bernardi has expressed grave concerns for free speech in the Northern Territory, as the Labor government there contemplates anti-discrimination changes labelled 'worse than 18C'.
The Australian Conservatives founder tweeted his support for the NT News newspaper and its cartoonist Mr Wicking as 'heroes of free speech', as they, the senator and a former minister all expressed reservations about the proposed laws.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper described the laws as 'going further than Section 18C', allowing representative bodies such as indigenous groups or human rights bodies to lodge complaints, rather than just individuals who claim to have been offended.
Section 18C of the commonwealth's Racial Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to 'offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate' a person on racial grounds, and enables a person aggrieved in any of those ways to make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission about that behaviour. Several controversial cases involving QUT students and the late newspaper cartoonist Bill Leak built momentum behind removing 'offend' and 'insult' from the Act - a move led by Senator Bernardi with his private members' bill.