No plans to change Australian discrimination laws

THE Federal Government says it has no plans to change discrimination laws in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in France.

Coalition Senator Cory Bernardi has again this week called for changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, namely the section of the act that bans language that offends, insults or humiliates people.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott abandoned government plans last year to remove the words "offend, insult and humiliate" from the act in a bid to garner community support for tougher national security laws.

Senator Bernardi has long campaigned for the changes saying they would better protect Australian's right to freedom of speech.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane rejected Senator Bernardi's latest push saying it was ill-founded and ill-informed.

Mr Soutphommasane told ABC Radio on Tuesday that there was no cause for revisiting the debate.

"We had extensive, exhaustive debate about this issue last year and the overwhelming majority of the Australian public have made emphatically clear that the current law should be retained," Mr Soutphommasane said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he did not believe MPs should be seeking to use an overseas tragedy to score domestic political points in Australia.

"I think it is distasteful and it is pathetic," Mr Shorten said.

"Even before the dust has settled and families are still mourning their lost ones in Paris, we see an Abbott Government MP trying to turn the tragedy in Paris into a domestic political issue in Australia."


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