Attorney-General meets community leaders on Racial Discrimination Act revision

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

Senator George Brandis

Senator George Brandis

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


The delegation. Peter Wertheim representing the ECAJ is third from the left

The delegation. Peter Wertheim representing the ECAJ is third from the left

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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