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August 5, 2014

Not everyone wants to be on #TeamAustralia

Prime Minister Tony Abbott's remarks on counter-terrorism and the Racial Discrimination Act trigger mockery on social media.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks during the 2014 Economic and Social Outlook Conference on July 3, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (SCOTT BARBOUR/GETTY IMAGES)

To maintain Australians' unity in counter-terrorism efforts, Prime Minister Tony Abbott dropped proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. The changes would have introduced "broad exemptions" to section 18C, which makes it unlawful to insult or intimidate people on the basis of race or ethnicity.

"When it comes to counter-terrorism, everyone needs to be part of Team Australia", said Abbott. He continued, "the government's proposals to change 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act have become a complication... I don't want to do anything that puts our national unity at risk... so those proposals are now off the table." 

The reference to "Team Australia" in Abbott's remarks led to a flurry of online humor, with #TeamAustralia being used more than 3,000 times in one day.