On 8 November 2016, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights was directed to enquire into whether the operation of Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (including sections 18C and 18D) imposes unreasonable restrictions on freedom of speech - here are the full terms of reference.
The inquiry is about whether 18C goes too far. The terms of reference are clear - does 18C already impose unreasonable restrictions on freedom of speech.
Predictably, Islamists and their boosters have ignored the terms of reference. The submissions from Muslim organisations call for an increase in the scope of 18C to include not just racial issues but religious insults.
They've already got beheading for insulting their prophet. What more do they want?
Grand Mufti seeks Racial Discrimination Act cover for Muslims
Australia’s Grand Mufti has called for Muslims to be given the same protections as ethnic groups under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, saying the law must be “strengthened”, not weakened, in the interest of minorities.
The push to broaden the act is already drawing criticism from conservative government MPs, with one Liberal senator warning it would be tantamount to creating a “national blasphemy law”.
Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, the Grand Mufti since 2011, has added his voice to a growing backlash from community, religious and ethnic groups against reforming section 18C, in a campaign that will test Malcolm Turnbull’s resolve to change the law.
Australia already suffers from a herd mentality in public discussion of issues.
With such little diversity of opinion we can ill afford further restrictions on what can and can't be discussed.
One issue the public should consider is the extent to which its interests are served by media outlets.
For years now Sydney has been diminished by the thuggish freeloading presence of Ray Hadley at 2GB. Hadley inherits Alan Jones's audience and proceeds to decimate it over the following hours.
His personal insecurity and associated over-reactions to perceived personal threats do us all no good and some women particular harm.
His presence is less than tolerable when his propensity to violence and intimidation is considered. It was for good reason that Hadley's boss described him as a "psychopathic bully" in email evidence discovered during Hadley's bullying court appearances.
But the greater risk to us all is his oafish absence of intellect and judgement.
Hadley had me removed from 2GB in June 2014.
In answer to direct and unanticipated questions I made truthful and important on-air statements about Islam. This ABC article accurately summarises what I said:
Radio presenter Michael Smith dumped after comments about the Prophet Mohammed
Sydney talkback radio host Michael Smith has been told he will no longer be filling in on 2GB after making controversial comments about the Prophet Mohammed.
The former 2UE presenter made the comments on Thursday during his regular guest spot with 2GB host Ben Fordham.
Smith said the founder of Islam was "a man who promoted the idea that it was OK to marry a six-year-old and consummate the marriage when the little girl was nine".
The broadcaster had been due to fill in for afternoons presenter, Chris Smith, from Monday for three weeks.
On Saturday he wrote on his website that 2GB program director David Kidd had called and cancelled the booking, telling him he could not "call a deity a paedophile".
Smith pointed out that he had made similar comments on 2UE in 2011, and had been acquitted of a complaint of inciting hatred and of factual inaccuracy by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Mr Smith said on his website he stood by his comments.
Here's Hadley's rant - not designed to promote the truth, expand the debate or uncover inaccuracies. It was sly, conniving Hadley at his usual sneaky routine of taking a cheap shot at an adversary.
Sydney - you deserve better than this paper thin very bad impersonator. How 2GB runs its rosters is a matter for it. Free speech has a broader ownership base.
Ray Hadley's presence as one of very few public voice diminishes us. Hadley's time has past.