Thursday, 19 December 2013

Race discrimination talks: letter THE OZ 19/12 ex THE SIX!!!!!

Race discrimination talks

WE refer to your online story "Attorney-General George Brandis wins approval for changes to Racial Discrimination Act" (9/12). We did not give any approval to changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.
On the contrary, we continually stressed our view that the case has not been made for the act to be amended.
The courts have consistently interpreted part IIA of the act in a way that prohibits racially vilifying conduct only if it is profound or serious in nature. We remain of the view that sections 18C and 18D appropriately balance the need to provide protections against vilification with the need to protect freedom of expression.
The Attorney-General put to us several general ideas but no specific legislative proposals for amending section 18C of the act and section 80.2A of the Criminal Code. He asked us to think about these ideas. We agreed to consult with our communities and meet him again early next year.
We commend the government for engaging in a serious consultation with us, which we have been seeking for some time. All of us, including the Attorney-General, acknowledged that it might not be possible for us to reach an agreement, but any draft legislation that the government might put to the parliament next year can only benefit from the consultations.
Kirstie Parker, Les Malezer, National Congress of Australia's First Peoples
George Vellis, George Vardas Australian Hellenic Council
Randa Kattan, Arab Council Australia
Tony Pang, Chinese Australian Services Society,
Patrick Voon, Chinese Australian Forum
Peter Wertheim, Executive Council of Australian Jewry

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