Chinese tycoon risks new political row defending 18C

A Chinese powerbroker at the centre of a political donations scandal, Huang Xiangmo, has moved to rally ethnic community support for controversial hate speech laws, sparking a political brawl and claims he could be ­trying to minimise scrutiny of China in Australia.
In an opinion article titled “18C is a bedrock of society” published in Chinese-language newspaper Sydney Today, the Chinese billionaire argued against winding back section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which ­restricts speech that insults and offends.
“If the hard-line advocates of free speech succeed in having section 18C of the act repealed major cracks could open in society,” Mr Huang said. “This is the last thing we need at a time when there is heated debate in many places around the world about such things as immigration, foreign workers and radical Islam.”
Mr Huang, who heads property developer is Yuhu Group and is an associate of former ministers Bob Carr and Andrew Robb, was at the centre of national debate earlier this year after it emerged he paid a $5000 personal legal bill for Labor senator Sam Dastyari.
Beforehand, he wrote an opinion piece in Chinese state-owned newspaper complaining about the lack of leverage Chinese interests in Australia received from their political donations. “We need to learn … how to have a more efficient combination ­between political requests and political donations, and how to use the media to push our political requests,” he wrote in August.
The businessman has donated more than $1 million to both sides of politics since 2012.
Defending section 18C, Mr Huang argued any changes could have a disproportionate impact on the Chinese community: “As Chinese we are also witness to hysterical debate about the roles and motives of China with snide and ill-informed reporting by some sections of the media.
“On any sensible reading, these laws provide both safeguards against racism and reasonable protections of free speech.”
Conservative federal politicians, including Canning MP Andrew Hastie, Dawson MP George Christensen and senator David Leyonhjelm, argued Mr Huang’s article demonstrated why the law needed to be repealed.
“This is more evidence that 18C is an invalid law … we should be free to discuss Chinese statecraft and investment in the region without worrying about someone lodging a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission,” Mr Hastie said.
Senator Leyonhjelm expressed concern that Chinese interests could use 18C to suppress opinions in Australia that were critical of China.
Mr Christensen agreed: “It’s alarming. It’s as if he believes 18C will stop people in the country from criticising China, but there’s a lot to say about a communist dictatorship.”

2 Comments Add yours

  1. freellght says:

    Stopping an illegal invasion of rich Chinese has little to do with hate speech


  2. K. Bignell says:

    Its about time that our Australian Government Representatives start to listen to the people who voted them all in, the people who pay their wages , the people who pay taxes so the government administer those funds to benefit the Australian voters. That means Australians first, the best hospitals, health services, education, roads, public services, elderly benefits for those people who paid a lifetime of taxes to be provided the right to a decent pension. If we have funds”left over” it is still up to what the Australian public want done with that money. We are the ones that the Government need to answer to. NOT foreign donors to political parties, or lobbyists who bribe our representatives to “legislate “in favour of corporations, or foreign entities wish lists that they only benefit from at the expense of the Australian people. Plotting to use financial leverage and using the media to manipulate our government is bribery.


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