The Liberal Government wishes to change the law to prevent a repeat of such incidents. The new standard will be not insulting or offending, but inciting hatred or causing fear of physical harm.
Waleed Aly has written a column for The Age denouncing the changes as racist. Aly has not exactly been hard done by in Australia. He married an attractive Anglo woman; was made a lecturer in politics; and has a radio show and a newspaper column. He belongs to the privileged 1%.
But there isn't much gratitude on display in his newspaper column; nor any recognition of his privileged status. In fact, Aly runs the line that he is part of an oppressed minority, and that white Australians are a bunch of nasty racists - and that therefore the law should grant a higher moral status to people like himself.
It seems that it's OK now in the mainstream Australian media to vilify white Australians when discussing anti-vilification laws.
It's important to remember how we got to such a political situation. The problem is that we have not escaped a political framework that first emerged about a century ago.
So on one side of the debate we have the right-liberal assimilationists. These people believe in mass immigration, albeit legal migration, and that migrants should then assimilate to right-liberal political values (race blindness / free market / individualism etc.).
Waleed Aly doesn't like the right-liberal position:
...this lawyer, qualified engineer and academic reveals some illogical statements and mistaken beliefs from people like John Howard, Tony Abbott, Kevin Andrews or Nick Minchin. “The conservative would certainly not run immigration at record levels (as the Howard government did) and then lecture its migrant population on what their values should be...”
Aly is right: it makes little sense for someone like John Howard to ramp up immigration to record levels and then expect a group of white, right-liberals to insist that everyone assimilate to their values. If you open the borders, you are giving up on the right to do this.
Aly is pushing instead for the left-liberal position, the one that emerged fully with Randolph Bourne in 1916. In the left-liberal view, the majority is guilty of trying to dominate and should instead encourage immigrants to maintain their own "vibrant' cultures whilst at the same time giving up on their own culture as being parochial and limiting.
It's a twisted view of things, as it requires a form of double-think: the white majority has no culture and should disband itself, but should at the same time celebrate and enjoy everybody else's cultures which are enriching.
Neither of these positions is a worthy one, but people do still tend to fall into them. When liberals controlled the media absolutely the limits of the debate could be enforced; that's a little less possible today when people can participate in various kinds of social media. Even so, things won't change unless there are intelligent voices in this media criticising the older views. The pattern of "idea formation" needs to be disrupted by a questioning of the older ideas and a suggesting of new ones. This just isn't happening to a sufficient degree yet, but it needs to develop over the coming decade.