04 Nov QUT ruling shows why 18c must change
The court decision today to clear Alex Wood, Jackson Powell and Calum Thwaites – the three Queensland University of Technology (QUT) students subject to a complaint under section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act – shows why the law must be changed.
While I am relieved the judge has finally declared the students have no case to answer, they should never have been subject to such an appalling legal process.
Defenders of the law will no doubt argue that the dismissal of the case proves there is no need to change 18c. This shows callous disregard for the welfare of three innocent students whose lives have been damaged by a tortuous three and a half year case.
This judgement doesn’t give them back that time, or their reputations, or the stress of having to endure these false allegations and defend themselves.
It will also be cold-comfort for the students who had already elected to reach a confidential financial settlement with the complainant in exchange for being excused from these proceedings.
The QUT case, like the Andrew Bolt case before it and the unresolved Bill Leak and David Leyonhjelm cases, clearly shows that the status quo is no longer an option. 18c must change.
A parliamentary inquiry, as proposed by Senator Dean Smith, is the best path forward. It must propose a reform to 18c which can pass the parliament and which ensures none of these four cases could ever be replicated in the future.
Media Contact: Sean Rogasch 0400 069 951 | [email protected]