"Angry white male" insult not abusive, rules Commission
THERE is nothing abusive about calling someone an "angry white male" who has the "empathy of a Besser block", according to a new ruling by the Human Rights Commission.
Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm complained to the Commission after a Fairfax Media writer took aim at the politician - also labelling him boorish and supercilious.
Senator Leyonhjelm said he was not offended by the comments, but raised his concern formally with the Commission as he criticised a section of the Racial Discrimination Act which covers offensive behaviour - section 18C.
He told the Commission he felt the comments were reasonably likely to offend other white males.
Mr Leyonhjelm, along with a variety of conservative figures in politics and the media have campaigned to dismantle or alter 18C, saying it impedes free speech, by making offensive comments unlawful.
Earlier this month Senator Leyonhjelm said "18C seeks to discourage racist speech in the hope that it will somehow change racist thoughts. It won't".
"In fact it makes it more likely.
"If you don't understand free speech, you don't understand freedom."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced an inquiry into the Racial Discrimination Act in November.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has said the government should have better things to do, than to focus on a clause in the Racial Discrimination Act.
Section 18D of the act rules any such comment lawful if it is in the public interest or is "a genuine belief" of the person making the comment.
The Australian reports that Commission investigator Hyun Joo Lee has told the Senator he was not personally aggrieved but was seeking an opinion on whether the Fairfax piece met the criteria of 18C.
It reports that Ms Lee agreed that "angry white male certitude" could be offensive to a broader group of people.
She then pointed to an earlier judgment that found "white" and "male" were not abusive terms.
Senator Leyonhjelm has asked the Commission to continue investigation, and to consider whether "angry black female certitude" would be offensive.
He said his intention with the complaint was to show the law should not exist.