In a disappointing move the Senate have blocked proposed changes to section 18C, after Labor hijacked last night’s debate, showing a gross discourtesy to Senate procedure and just how intolerant they are of any other ideas.
As reported by the West Australian, “the attempt to reword 18C was killed off by a Labor amendment to the Bill, 31 votes to 28. Labor Senate leader Penny Wong moved Labor's amendment, catching other Senators off guard.”
"Conservative crossbencher Cory Bernardi was outraged that she had hijacked the debate before his amendments could be considered."
The amendments proposed by the Australian Conservatives senator would have inserted truth as a defence and explained that the word 'harass' meant it had to constitute more than one instance.
However, along with the Nick Xenophon Team, Senator Lambie and the Greens, Labor have voted down any free speech reform to 18C.
Fortunately, Senator Cory Bernardi's bill (backed by over a dozen other senators) to remove 'offend' and 'insult' is still alive and due for a Senate committee report on Budget Day.