Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975

Author/s (editor/s):

Altman, Jon
Bielefeld, Shelley

Publication year:


Publication type:

Government and community sector reports

Jon Altman and Shelley Bielefeld’s submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights regarding Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

We make this submission as collaborating academics with disciplinary backgrounds in economics, anthropology and law whose research and teaching focuses on issues of public policy, social justice, human rights and Indigenous Australians. We are strongly opposed to the government’s proposal to amend the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (RDA) by repealing ss 18C, 18D, 18B and 18E and replacing them with a grossly inferior protective mechanism for people of any race, culture or ethnicity that are minorities within Australia. Section 18C is a perfectly reasonable legislative provision for a modern democratic society which should be sensitive to the vulnerability of minorities. The exemptions contained in s 18D are adequate in terms of balancing any tension between free speech and racial vilification. Indeed, sections 18C and 18D contain some crucial standards by which civilised conduct ought to be judged. It is also appropriate that employers be vicariously liable under s 18E where supervision of their employees has been so gravely inadequate that they allow racial vilification to go unchecked.

Read the full submission via the link below.

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