NSW Government drop plans to reform racial vilification laws

December 12, 2017 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has told media the Berejiklian Government has no plans to reform racial vilification laws.

Walt Secord

NSW Labor frontbencher Walt Secord said he shared the Jewish community’s disappointment and accused the Berejiklian Government of “absolute betrayal” – in relation to its decision to secretly drop plans to reform the State’s racial vilification laws.

Mr Secord is the deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and Deputy Opposition leader in the NSW Legislative Council.

In a statement Walt  Secord said: “The State Berejiklian Government had previously pledged to fix the laws, which are widely seen as deficient. The laws, set out in Section 20D of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, have not led to a single successful prosecution.

Let’s face facts: there has not been a single prosecution in 30 years and the spirit of the laws have not been followed. Reform and change are desperately needed.

There have been some of the most disgusting attacks and examples of incitement to racial hatred and violence – especially against the Jewish community – and nothing has happened to the culprits.

Previous Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton admitted the laws were not working and promised the Jewish community and other community groups that her government would strengthen and streamline Section 20D.

Ms Upton did nothing – despite a cross-party parliamentary committee led by her own Government recommending changes in 2013.

On Monday, the current Attorney-General Mark Speakman confirmed to The Guardian that the Berejiklian Government had no plans to reform the failed laws..

Vic Alhadeff
Chief Executive Officer
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

Shadow Attorney-General Paul Lynch said the change had been blocked by “right-wing ideologues in the Liberal Party”.

Walt Secord added: “The Berejiklian Government has been absolutely sneaky and dishonest. Without telling anyone, they shelved the plans and pretended otherwise.

NSW is a successful multicultural society. That has happened and will continue only if we get our institutions and laws correct. Reforming section 20D is part of that.”

CEO of  The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies Vic Alhadeff told The Guardian he  “cannot work out what the government is afraid of”, given the near universal support for change.

“The only people in NSW who don’t want to make the promotion and advocacy of violence on the basis of race illegal appear to be in government,” Alhadeff said.

He added: “The government can talk about social cohesion but when the time came for real and meaningful action, it has fallen short, and all the citizens of NSW will be the worse off for it.”

Attorney General Mark Speakman said: “I thank Dr Kerkyasharian and the many stakeholders who have provided feedback.

There are no present plans to amend section 20D of the Anti-Discrimination Act. Apart from section 20D, existing general criminal law provisions, including in the Crimes Act, are potentially capable of covering conduct of the kind in question.”

Dr Stepan Kerkyasharian is the former president of Ant-Discrimantion Board who was appointed as a consultant by the NSW government. He spent around six months preparing a report which was presented to the Government.



2 Responses to “NSW Government drop plans to reform racial vilification laws”
  1. Cassie of Sydney says:

    What does Walt Secord say about the absolute betrayal by NSW Labor towards Israel in order to buy votes in Western Sydney from people who sprout vicious hate speech about Jews regularly. What does Mr Secord say to rebut the vicious anti-Israel rhetoric as sprouted by his ALP comrades such as Bob Carr, Tony Burke and other “left-wing ideologues” in his own party? I haven’t heard him say anything. I think Mr Secord’s outrage is rather selective. The best speech for the Jewish community is FREE SPEECH.

  2. Adrian Jackson says:

    Free speech should be the norm in a democracy and a good counter argument will win the day.

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