SAY NO TO RACISM
Dear Prime Minister Abbott,
Senator George Brandis is trying to change the Racial Discrimination Act Section 18C and we urge you to immediately stop him from doing so. Otherwise it will make us a global laughing stock.
Unity Party WA
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Changes to race hate laws would ‘license public humiliation of people because of their race’
March 18, 2014 – 10:59AM
The Abbott government would be ”licensing the public humiliation of people because of their race” if it changed certain sections in the Racial Discrimination Act.
In a strongly worded letter, a group of representatives from various minority communities responded to a report in The Australian newspaper, which speculated that the federal government proposed to remove the words “offend, insult, humiliate” from section 18C of the race hate laws.
The report also said that the government could also remove the requirement that a defendant must have acted “reasonably and in good faith” in order to be covered by the free speech defences available under section 18D.
The representatives from the Aboriginal, Greek, Jewish, Chinese, Arab, Armenian and Korean communities said in the letter that they ”vehemently opposed” the changes.
”These changes would mean that the federal government has decided to license the public humiliation of people because of their race,” said Peter Wertheim, the executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
”It would send a signal that people may spout racist abuse in public, no matter how unreasonably and dishonestly.
”It would be astonishing if an Australian government in the 21st century was prepared to embrace such a morally repugnant position.
”It would be utterly indefensible.”
Reacting to the story, a source told Fairfax Media that Senator Brandis was floating a ”trial balloon” to test the extent of public backlash against his proposed changes to the race hate laws.
Senator Brandis has a close relationship with conservative columnist Andrew Bolt, and believes Bolt was mistreated by the courts when he was found to have breached section 18C for an article he wrote about light-skinned Aborigines.
Senator Brandis’ office declined to comment.