Culture

Nakkiah Lui And Benjamin Law Tore Into The 18C “Circle Jerk” In The Fiery 2016 Finale Of ‘Q&A’

More of this next year, please.

Can Nakkiah Lui be on every episode of Q&A, please? The writer and Black Comedy star was a guest on the 2016 finale of the ABC panel show last night, and she absolutely crushed it.

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Subjects up for discussion included Donald Trump, domestic abuse, and the ongoing efforts of conservatives to repeal section 18C of the racial discrimination act. Never a dull moment on the ABC.

Flying the flag for old white men everywhere were Liberal Senator Eric Abetz and columnist for The Australian Greg Sheridan, both of whom believe that ditching 18C is critical to the freedom of said old white men being able to say and write and draw whatever they want without PC wusses having a whinge. “What we want to do is ensure we have freedom of speech,” said Abetz. “If you want to have a debate in this country, sadly, you get labeled as a bigot, as a homophobe, as a racist.”

Sheridan, meanwhile, jumped to the defence of his colleague Bill Leak, whose appalling cartoon depicting an Indigenous man unable to remember his son’s name became a flashpoint for this very issue. “Bill Leak is a magnificent guy,” said Sheridan. “There’s not a racist bone in his body. That was not a racist cartoon.”

Fortunately, Lui was not having any of it. “As an Aboriginal person, I’m interrupting you Greg, I do think it was racist,” she told Sheridan. “Please do not make the general statement that it wasn’t. As a white man, you think it wasn’t. So good for you.”

Lui also took Abetz to task for his obsession with 18C. “What we have is a bunch of elite politicians abusing their power and wasting funds on their personal pursuits and their own agendas that are not a public matter nor are they in the public interest,” she said. “We’re paying a senator $195,000 a year on an issue that effects 0.001% of Australians.”

Backing Lui up was author and journalist Benjamin Law. “The whole discussion and debate around 18C has never been about ordinary Australians’ access to freedom of speech,” he argued. “It’s about powerful individuals and powerful organisations having an angry circle jerk about how horrible it is to be called out for being racist in a public forum.”

Lui was also responsible for what was undoubtedly the most sobering moment of the evening, when she recounted her personal experiences with domestic violence. “This topic is very, very dear to me,” she said. “And the reason I say we should not talk in big brush strokes is whether we start demonising Aboriginal men, what we’re also doing is demonising Aboriginal women. When we’re saying that domestic violence and perpetrating that is inherent to Aboriginal men, then we’re saying that being victims is inherent to Aboriginal women. And I didn’t realise this stigma until I was a victim of domestic violence myself.”