Australian lawmakers flag changes to racial laws

AP News
Posted: Sep 29, 2011 1:13 AM
Australian lawmakers flag changes to racial laws

Australia's conservative opposition plans to repeal or amend racial discrimination laws that a right-wing commentator has breached by implying that fair-skinned Aborigines chose to identify as indigenous for profit.

Sen. George Brandis said Thursday that changes would be considered if columnist Andrew Bolt does not successfully appeal against a court ruling that his articles had illegally offended Aborigines.

A minister in a center-left government that introduced racial hatred laws in 1995, Gary Johns, says repeal would be sensible because the case shows the laws limit free speech.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she won't comment on the case while there might be an appeal. Aborigines argue the laws protect them from being persecuted by the media.