It is no surprise that the Human Rights clerics are resisting George Brandis’s modest but crucial amendments to the Human Rights Act.
The inclusion of an ordinary reasonable Australian test for racial vilification is an assault on their presumed monopoly of wisdom.
Section 3 of the Brandis proposals stipulates:
The clerisy would have less difficulty with a reasonable Australian test since they consider themselves reasonable people.
It is the inclusion of the word ordinary that troubles them since this opens the cathedral to obstructive, disobliging and tiresome Australians.
God forbid! The crowd at the front bar of the Royal Hotel in Koo Wee Rup might even get to have a say, and they don’t have a law degree among them according to the 2011 Census.
Not only that, but they are horribly white, and as Waleed Aly explained in The Age last week, white people aren’t ethnic:
This matters because – if I may speak freely – plenty of white people (even ordinary reasonable ones) are good at telling coloured people what they should and shouldn’t find racist, without even the slightest awareness that they might not be in prime position to make that call.
How could section 3 be recast to satisfy Aly’s concerns? Here’s one suggestion:
Is everyone ok with that?