Please leave the wording of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act alone.
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A push for major changes to Australia's race hate laws are pretty much permanently squashed, but that didn't stop the Australian Government (Liberal Party) from unveiling its plans to replace the words OFFEND, INSULT and HUMILIATE with with HARASS. Currently Section 18C states:
Offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin
It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and
(b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.
This is a very sneaky move by the Australian Government to essentially water down our race hate legislation by weakening the wording of Section 18C. In defending the wording changes, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said:
"The changes we are proposing to section 18C will provide the right balance between protecting Australians from racial vilification and defending and enabling their right of free speech, upon which our democracy, our way of life, depends,"
"We are defending the law by making it clearer. We are defending Australians from racial vilification by replacing language which has been discredited and has lost credibility."
In addition the process of how a Racial Discrimination complaint is lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commission are also changing. According to a SBS News piece on this:
The Commission will be expected to decide whether complaints have any substance sooner, complaints will need to be lodged within six months and resolved within a year, according to the Attorney-General George Brandis.
Again this will just remove better due diligence and time for an in depth and comprehensive investigations into race hate complaints, and it is an intentional move by the Government to begin dismantling legislation which is meant to protect everyone.
We at the Asian Australian Alliance, ask all of you to sign this petition in opposition to watering down the words. Many of those who are fighting to water these race hate laws down are of anglo background and do not have any understanding as to how it feels to be racially vilified in public spaces.
Once we reach at least 10,000 signatures, we will be printing out this petition with all the signatures and comments to present the hard copies to the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and the Ministers, Parliamentarians and Senators who are supporting these change of wording.
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