Leyonhjelm's 'angry white male' 18C complaint rejected

Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm. Source: AAP

Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm's 18C complaint about a newspaper column that called him an 'angry white male' has been rejected.

The Human Rights Commission has rejected a complaint made by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm about a newspaper column that called him an "angry white male".

Mr Leyonhjelm made the complaint under the much-debated section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, alleging the column by Fairfax journalist Mark Kenny was in breach of the law.

Under section 18C it is an offence to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate a group of people based on their race, a section Mr Leyonhjelm is seeking to have removed.

"The law does not require me to be offended," he said when he made the complaint.

"All it says, and remembering that I am seeking to repeal this law, all the law says is that it's reasonably likely to offend or insult somebody of that person or that group."

But the Commission rejected the complaint at its first hearing saying Mr Leyonhjelm's public comments made it clear he was not truly offended or upset by the column, Fairfax Media has reported.

The Commission also said the terms "white" and "male" were not considered to be derogatory.

Mr Leyonhjelm told Fairfax Media he was considering appealing the decision because he did not think the Commission "quite understand their own laws".

"They said to me my complaint was about racial vilification," he said. 

"It wasn't – it was that what Mark said was unlawful. The law does not mention the words racial vilification at any point. I'm not sure that they actually appreciate the nature of my complaint."

Fairfax Media reported the Human Rights Commission investigator Hyun Joo Lee's report said the phrase "angry white male" could apply to a large group of people and"did not meet the threshold of seriousness".

Mr Leyonhjelm said he would likely continue to pursue the matter through court.

Source SBS News

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch