Multicultural leaders meet with parliamentarians to discuss Section 18C

May 29, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Representatives of the Indigenous, Greek, Jewish, Chinese, Arab and Korean communities met on Monday and Tuesday with more than 80 members of the federal parliament from the Coalition, Labor, the Greens and Independents to express their strong opposition to the government’s plans to weaken the existing Federal law against racial vilification.

Pic includes: ony Pang (Chinese Australian Services), Dr Ramzi Barnouti (Arab Council of Australia), Peter Wertheim (Executive Council of Australian Jewry), the Hon Philip Ruddock MP, George Vellis (Australian Hellenic Council), Patrick Voon (Chinese Australian Forum), Kirstie Parker (Co-Chair, National Congress of First Peoples of Australia), Luke Song (Korean Society of Sydney)

Pic includes: ony Pang (Chinese Australian Services), Dr Ramzi Barnouti (Arab Council of Australia), Peter Wertheim (Executive Council of Australian Jewry), the Hon Philip Ruddock MP, George Vellis (Australian Hellenic Council), Patrick Voon (Chinese Australian Forum), Kirstie Parker (Co-Chair, National Congress of First Peoples of Australia), Luke Song (Korean Society of Sydney)

 

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Tony Pang (Chinese Australian Services), Dr Ramzi Barnouti (Arab Council of Australia), Peter Wertheim (Executive Council of Australian Jewry), the Hon Philip Ruddock MP, George Vellis (Australian Hellenic Council), Patrick Voon (Chinese Australian Forum), Kirstie Parker (Co-Chair, National Congress of First Peoples of Australia), Luke Song (Korean Society of Sydney)


 “We were pleasantly surprised by the statements of support we received across the party political divide in favour of leaving the existing law as it is”, said the Executive Director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Peter Wertheim.

“If anything, the opposition that was expressed to the government’s proposals was even stronger than we had heard previously.  Most of the Coalition MP’s we met with expressed disapproval of the government’s exposure draft to change the legislation, and voiced deep misgivings about the government’s entire approach to the issue.”

It is understood that the government received more than 5,300 submissions from the public in response to its exposure draft, almost all of which were strongly critical of it.

“With the exception of any submissions that were made in confidence, all of these submissions should be made available to the public on the Attorney General’s website in the interests of having an informed and open debate,” Wertheim concluded.

The meetings between community representatives and MP’s coincided with public statements on Tuesday by eminent Australians, Pat Dodson and Adam Goodes, which also urged the Federal government to reconsider its plans to amend the existing anti-vilification law.

 

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