WESTERN AUSTRALIAN ETHNIC GROUPS REJECT RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACT CHANGES

MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURALISM
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY

HON ALANNAH MACTIERNAN MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
MEMBER FOR PERTH

MEDIA RELEASE
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WESTERN AUSTRALIAN ETHNIC GROUPS REJECT RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACT CHANGES

Key Western Australian ethnic groups have rejected the Abbott Government’s plans to weaken the Racial Discrimination Act, Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Michelle Rowland said today.

“It is clear that these diverse communities in Western Australia don’t want the Racial Discrimination Act changed and the Abbott Government must listen to these concerns,” Ms Rowland said.

“The Government’s proposed changes will significantly weaken protections against racist hate speech in Australia and give the green light to bigotry. Western Australians don’t want that.”

Ms Rowland was speaking after attending a community roundtable forum held at the Hellenic Community Centre in Northbridge last night, organised by the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Western Australia, Alannah MacTiernan.

“It is very evident that both Aboriginal and migrant groups feel very strongly about these proposals to water down the Racial Discrimination Act,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“The Act has been an important part of fostering a harmonious, multicultural society, and it would be very destructive of that harmony to repeal it.

“Dealing with racism is still a work in progress, as it is around the world. Weakening this legislation does not take us forward.”

Ms Rowland also encouraged people to send a submission to the Abbott Government on the proposed changes to s18cconsultation@ag.gov.au by 30 April.

THURSDAY, 3 APRIL 2014

 

JOINT COMMUNIQUE

LEADERS OF WESTERN AUSTRALIAN CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY DIVERSE COMMUNITIES

3 APRIL 2014

Last night, leaders of community organisations representing diverse cultures and faiths met to discuss proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. The leaders below agreed to the following statement:

The Racial Discrimination Act was introduced to protect Australians from the racist comments and to promote harmony in Australia’s multicultural community.

The introduction of the additional protections contained in section 18C has proved to be a vital tool in reducing the incidence of hate-speech.

Many Australians are deeply concerned by recent evidence of racist incidents across Australia, whether it is abuse directed at someone because they’re speaking a language other than English, or because of the colour of their skin, or the faith they follow.

We need our leaders to reinforce the message that racism is not acceptable, and we unreservedly condemn it.

The proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act send the wrong message.

Insulting, offending or humiliating a person because of their race leads to increased discord in our community, and serious personal consequences for victims of discrimination.

It is behaviour that should be condemned, not condoned.

We need laws that preserve freedom from fear, not ones that promote freedom to hate.

On behalf of the organisations listed below, we call on the Federal government to reconsider its proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act and ensure that the Act continues to protect Australian citizens from hate-speech and to promote harmony.

MEDIA CONTACT

Dennis Eggington: 0417 932 244 Suresh Rajan: 0413 436 001

Dr Zarrin Siddiqui: 0434 841 705 Cleophas Katumba: 0413 083 778

Abraham Ochan

 

President

Anuak Community WA

Rahim Ghauri

 

President

Australian Asian Association

Sheryl Nosan-Lantzke

 

Founding Rabbi

Jewish Spirituality   Australia

Deborah Costello

 

CEO

Injury Control Council of WA

Dr Rateb Jneid

 

President

Islamic Council of WA

Dr Yunos Vagh

 

Islamic Spiritual Group

Sheikh Hisham Obeid

 

Imam

Islamic Council of WA

Ramdas Sankaran

 

CEO

Multicultural Services   Centre of WA

Zelilia Iscel

 

Disability Chair

Ethnic Communities Council   of WA

Ted Wilkes

 

Wadjuk Nyungar

Alan Devadas

 

Saiva Maha Sabai

Darshan Sharma

 

Hindi Samaj of WA

Margaret Auma-Okumu
 
Sarouche   Razi

 

Sam Youssef

 

President

Australian Arab Association

Dennis Eggington

 

CEO

Aboriginal Legal Service of WA

Heather Deighen

 

Manager, Place Based Services

MercyCare

Cleophas Katumba

 

President

Congolese Community of WA

Aziz Khan

 

President

Perth City Musallah Association

Shabbir Ali

 

WA Muslim Lawyers Association

Suresh Rajan

 

President

National Ethnic Disability Alliance

Dr Pendo Mwaiteleke

 

Board Member

Multicultural Services Centre of WA

Nafeesa Mehzabeen

 

Treasurer

Fiji WA Association

Bishnu   Devkota

 

President

Nepalese Association

Nelson Muhirwa

 

Rwandan Community of WA

Malcolm Fiahlo
Barbara   McGillivray