Monday, 9 December 2013

Not so fast... Wertheim et al 6/12

Not so fast on repeal of Racial Discrimination Act

JAMES Allan's spirited defence of US-style free speech for Australia overlooks that Australia is not the US ("Bolt law vow must be kept", 5/12). The US has a bill of rights and a political culture that are more inclusive of its minorities than what we have in Australia, notwithstanding our three-plus decades of multiculturalism.
The US first amendment's non-establishment clause, for example, grants an equal standing to religious minorities unlike anything known here. That Jews in the US do rather well is due to a host of historical, political and institutional factors; citing simply the absence of race hate laws there is bad social science.
Anyone is at liberty to challenge affirmative action-type benefits to various groups under our racial hatred legislation. What the law does not allow is making such arguments in such a way that discriminate against and marginalise particular groups in our society. We are the better for it.
Geoffrey Brahm Levey,
University of NSW
JAMES Allan makes the risible claim that Australian Jews would be better off if we and other minority groups were stripped of the means to defend ourselves legally against public racial vilification. He might have a different view if he spent some time living in a country where people of his ethnic background are in a minority and are continually vilified.
He makes much of the Coalition's pre-election announcements about section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Coalition figures spoke at various times about repealing or amending the section, without being specific.
The Coalition also promised to consult. Any consultation must be genuine. This means that the government must consult widely without having pre-judged the issues.
Peter Wertheim,
Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Sydney, NSW

No comments:

Post a Comment