Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Submission: Amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975

Human Rights Policy Branch
Attorney-General's Department
3–5 National Circuit
via email

Dear Sir/Madam,

I strongly opposed the proposed amendments to section 18C the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

The safeguards provided by the Racial Discrimination Act have been in place for almost 20 years, including during the 11 years of the Howard government, giving targets of hate speech a peaceful and legal avenue of redress.

These laws have helped resolve hundreds of cases that would otherwise have been left to fester and to degrade social cohesion.

These laws protect all Australians against racial vilification, not only minority groups, and are one of the few inhibitors we possess against the racism which underpins many overseas conflicts.

I believe that the proposed changes, if passed, will send a dangerous signal that hate speech is sanctioned as a form of freedom of speech, that bigotry has a place in our society.

I do not believe that it is OK in our society to behave or speak like a bigot.

The proposed amendments will encourage those so inclined to take bigotry into the public domain. Even in situations of unambiguous abuse, the victim will be required to prove that the abuse may incite a third party to racial hatred – an extremely difficult test to satisfy.

Those who bring diversity to our country will be more susceptible to racist taunts aimed at their culture, their tradition, their faith, their skin colour. They will be rendered vulnerable to hate speech.  Their protection against this will be compromised.

Our government has a duty to make racism socially unacceptable and to provide the targets of racism with a legal course of action. The proposed changes will take our society in the opposite direction.

I along with over 200 ethnic communities across Australia, including indigenous Australians, oppose the proposed amendments.

I urge the Federal Government to withdraw its Exposure Draft of the Freedom of Speech (Repeal of Section 18C) Bill 2014.

Peter Campbell

Information on how to make a submission via mail or email is available here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you strongly oppose the repeal of the Racial Discrimination Act then why don't you migrate and live in China or some Middle Eastern countries?

Freedom of speech includes the freedom to hate and offend.

Listen. We are not some communist or taliban terrorist country where if you offend a certain segment of society or the government it could land you in jail (or even executed).

This is Australia. We treasure freedom of speech and expression.