Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott Vicki Wood

Abbott under fire over Racial Discrimination Act changes

LABOR has launched a scathing attack on the Abbott government's plans to repeal part of the Racial Discrimination Act, as the Coalition faces an internal backlash on the proposals.

The government plans to repeal part of the act that prevents racial discrimination through that is likely to "offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate" others on the basis of race.

An election commitment, those changes were sparked by a 2011 court case where columnist Andrew Bolt was found to have breached that part of the act in a column.

But internal divisions have arisen in the Coalition, with indigenous MP Ken Wyatt hinting during a party room meeting on Tuesday he may cross the floor on a vote for the changes.

Other government MPs argued the case for the changes to be made to enforce freedom of speech, while others still raised concerns about the public handling of the issue.

The division has again sparked a call from Labor for the government not to go ahead with the repeal, with front-bencher Mark Dreyfus calling on the Prime Minister to stand up to "ideological extremists" in the party.

However, Tony Abbott told the party despite some differences of opinion, everyone in the Coalition stood for the same things, including freedom of speech and holding a position against racism.