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'Racial hatred' cartoon complaint dropped

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016

The Human Rights Commission will not investigate a controversial cartoon by Bill Leak after allegations of racial hatred were dropped, The Australian newspaper has reported.

In a cartoon about indigenous parental neglect, Mr Leak depicts a police officer telling an Aboriginal man holding a beer can to talk to his son about personal responsibility, to which he replies "Yeah righto. What's his name then?"

It was the subject of widespread criticism after it was published in The Australian on August 4.

The newspaper in October was notified that allegations of racial hatred under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act would be investigated following a complaint.

Section 18C of the act makes it unlawful for a person to do an act that is reasonably likely to "offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people" because of their "race, colour or national or ethnic origin".

On Saturday The Australian said Jodie Ball, the Commission president's delegate, had advised that the woman who made the allegation did not want to continue and therefore the "complaint has been finalised ... and the file is now closed."

Liberal senator Eric Abetz said the complaint "should never have been entertained by the Human Rights Commission" and was a huge expense.

"This is just another clear example of a total abuse of process that has been facilitated by the Human Rights Commission which must stop," Mr Abetz said in a statement on Saturday.

Mr Abetz has urged the Human Rights Commission to back changes to section 18C that would replace the words 'offend' and 'insult' with 'vilify'.

He has previously called for an inquiry into the Commission after a failed racial discrimination case against three university students in Queensland.

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