Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Attorney-General meets community leaders on Racial Discrimination Act revision

December 10, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
Read on for article
Attorney-General Senator George Brandis has held two meetings with representatives from various ethnic communities regarding the reviews of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Together with his Chief of Staff James Lambie, and his Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Faulks, Senator Brandis hosted at Parliament House in Canberra:
  • Mr George Vellis, Co-ordinator, Australian Hellenic Council
  • Mr Peter Wertheim, Executive Director, Executive Council of Australian Jewry
  • Mr George Vardas, Secretary & Legal Counsel, Australian Hellenic Council
  • Ms Randa Kattan, CEO, Arab Council Australia
  • Mr Tony Pang, Secretary, Chinese Australian Services Society
  • Mr Patrick Voon, President, Chinese Australian Forum
  • Ms Kirstie Parker, Co-chair, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
  • Mr Les Malezer, Co-chair, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
These community representatives issued the following comments:
 “The Government appears to be approaching the review of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act with caution, and that is something we welcome.
 “A simplistic, absolutist view of freedom of expression will not solve the problem. The law needs to provide also for countervailing freedoms, including freedom from racial vilification.
 “Balancing these competing freedoms is not straight forward. The balance struck by the existing law in Sections 18C and 18D of the Act was carefully reached after years of national inquiries and debates in Parliament and the general community.
 “Any attempt to restrike that balance is not to be undertaken lightly.
 “We encourage the Government to continue its consultations with us and the wider community.”
 The delegation also met with other senior Coalition figures.


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