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Australia to strike down law banning racial slights

SYDNEY -- Australia moved Tuesday to water down its race discrimination laws, saying hurt feelings were inevitable during robust debate and the government would not legislate to protect them.

Attorney-General George Brandis said the government planned to repeal a section of the Racial Discrimination Act that makes it illegal to “offend, insult or humiliate another” because of their race.

“Laws which are designed to prohibit racial vilification should not be used as a vehicle to attack legitimate freedoms of speech,” he said.

Brandis said a new clause would be inserted into the law to ban racial vilification, defined as inciting hatred against racial groups, rather than simply offending them.

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