Same-sex 'safeguards' just 'gesture politics'

September 14, 2017

Australian Council of Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman has attacked emergency 'safeguards' around the same-sex marriage postal survey as an exercise in “gesture politics” and sounded the alarm on any attempts to make them permanent.

Mr O’Gorman yesterday backed a warning from Australian Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi, who said the passage of temporary protections for the duration of the survey amounted to a version of “18C on steroids”.

“The fact is, a temporary measure today will be a justification for a permanent measure tomorrow,” Mr O’Gorman said yesterday.

“It’s intellectually dishonest to justify it on the basis of it being a temporary measure. The fact is that this is an emotive and divisive topic, but there should not be restrictions ... with the exception of threats to cause violence.”

Yesterday, Senator Bernardi said the safeguards would crimp free speech and amounted to “18C on steroids”, referring to protections in the Racial Discrimination Act against conduct that could offend or insult on the basis of race, colour, national or ethnic origin.

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