NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today refused to join her predecessors Mike Baird and Barry O’Farrell in their support for strong laws against racist hate speech

It followed a concentrated attempt by the NSW Opposition to get a simple answer from her – on Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act – which the Federal Government is trying to weaken.

It prevents Australians suffering insults, offence or humiliation because of their race.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley asked Ms. Berejiklian if she – as the Premier of Australia’s most multicultural state- opposed the Federal Government’s attempt to weaken racist hate speech.

Ms. Berejiklian  was asked repeatedly why she wanted to change something  opposed by former Premiers O’Farrell  and Baird – with O’Farrell declaring racism was ‘ always wrong.’

Ms. Berejiklian wouldn’t answer.

Mr. Foley also asked if given the numerous offensive and bigoted statements by Pauline Hanson in recent weeks she would rule out a preference deal with One Nation at the 2019 NSW State election.

She wouldn’t give that assurance either.

Mr. Foley said the Liberals were clearly embracing racism – 18 C and their offensive deal with Hanson’s One Nation proved it.

The Senate in Canberra is expected to vote on 18C on Thursday.

Labor will head a Walk for Respect in Sydney on Friday.

Quotes Attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“We wanted to know something very simple today. If the Premier – as the leader of the nation’s biggest multicultural state – believed in racism.  We didn’t get an answer.  And that, by itself, is an answer.”

“Given the nature of Pauline Hanson’s offensive statements in recent weeks you’d think Ms. Berejiklian would rule out a preference deal with her at the next NSW State election.  She clearly doesn’t know what to say – or faction leaders are stopping her from saying it.”

“We need to know if Ms. Berejiklian is powerless to stop her party’s descent into racism – or why she won’t support race hate laws. She could clear it up – by just telling us.”