UPDATE: THE Greens have hit out at the Coalition's plan to change free speech restrictions in racial discrimination law.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has revealed the plan to change the laws if he was made prime minister.
The plan would see sections of the Racial Discrimination Act that were used to prosecuteHerald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt last year, after he wrote about light-skinned Aborigines, repealed by the Coalition.
Greens legal affairs spokeswoman Penny Wright said the Opposition’s proposal to allow people to express views that could be offensive would lead to ''distortions of the truth''.
''If the Coalition have their way we will see a situation where an influential commentator may use errors of fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language to offend or insult people of a certain race, colour or ethnic origin, with impunity,'' Senator Wright said.
''Yes, there is an important balance to be struck between the right to freedom of expression and the right to be protected against discrimination. But we think that the Act in its current form gets that balance right.''
The Australian newspaper reports shadow Attorney-General George Brandis saying that the changes would mean the removal of provisions that prevent the use of words that could offend or insult.
"We consider that to be an inappropriate limitation on freedom of speech and freedom of public discussion – as was evident in the Andrew Bolt case," he said.
"Offensive and insulting words are part of the robust democratic process, which is essential to a free country."
The changes would bring the Act's restrictions on free speech closer to limits found in defamation laws, The Australian reports.
Liability for racial vilification would be limited to comments that humiliate or intimidate.
Nice to see a politician in this country propose a changes to a law that actually makes sense and gives people rights for once instead of taking them away.