Dominello disappoints with weak stance on changes to Racial Decimation Act at Premier’s Harmony Dinner : Zangari

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NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello has disappointed a packed room of 1000 multicultural representatives at last night’s Premier’s Harmony Dinner – by failing to speak out against the Abbott Liberal Government’s contentious plans to wind back the Racial Discrimination Act.

 

Addressing the dinner – at which the Premier was absent –Dominello said the O’Farrell Government would announce its position on Section 18C of the Act “in due course.”

Dominello weak stance contrasted with Vic Alhadeff, Chair of the Community Relations Commission, who spoke with eloquence and dignity against the changes.

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Communities Guy Zangari said  that Labor was strongly opposed to any watering down of race hate laws and Premier Barry O’Farrell, Dominello and the Liberals were out of step with multicultural communities.

“What a letdown to see Victor Dominello fail to use last night’s Harmony Dinner to take a principled stand against bigotry and hate speech,” Zangari said.

“As our State’s multicultural voice in Cabinet, Dominello should have stated clearly that what the Abbott Liberal Government is doing is wrong.

“Everyone I spoke to is incredulous that the Liberal Party plans to abolish laws that protect our nation’s multicultural fabric – and instead make it easier to racially abuse people.

“There was barely a single person in a packed room of 1000 who supported what the Liberal Party is doing”.

“It was concerning to see the Minister so poles apart from the very dignified and considered position expressed by the Chair of the Community Relations Commission”.

“Federal Liberal Attorney General Brandis’ comment that people in Australia have the right to be bigots remains extremely alarming for many at the dinner last night – and it was an opportunity for the NSW Liberals to stand up against these remarks.”

Zangari said last night’s Premier’s Harmony Dinner was a wonderful opportunity to honour leading members of the community who have helped NSW become one of the world’s most successful multicultural societies.

The Premier – who is overseas – appeared in a pre-recorded one-minute video clip shortly before a clip featuring Tony Abbott.

“It was extremely insensitive of the Premier to be beamed in from overseas at his own dinner when the Liberal Party’s proposals were causing such hurt and distress among his guests,” Zangari said.

“Barry O’Farrell should be condemning Abbott and  Brandis – and disassociating the NSW Liberal Party from the insulting position coming out of Canberra from his Liberal colleagues”.

“We cannot allow the Liberal Party to give the green light to hate speech.”

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