NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson said today that he was extremely disturbed by footage of a racist rant by a passenger on a train this morning that has been widely circulated in the media.
Robertson added that the episode highlighted the vital importance of maintaining protections against racist taunts and hate speech that are being watered down by the Abbott Liberal Government.
“Racist behaviour on a train – or anywhere else – is completely unacceptable and should be condemned,” Mr Robertson said.
“I was appalled to see the footage from that train – but equally heartened that other people in that carriage stood up for what was right.
“NSW is one of the most successful multicultural societies on earth but we can’t afford to be complacent. All of us have a responsibility to speak out against racism and hate speech when we hear it.”
Robertson wrote personally to Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier this year urging him to abandon his planned watering down of the Racial Discrimination Act.
“Today’s incident highlights the utter foolishness of the campaign by Tony Abbott and other senior Liberal Party figures to remove Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act,” Robertson said.
“Racism and hate speech should never be tolerated. The problem with the Abbott Liberal Government’s changes is that they would narrow the definition of racism and make it harder for victims of abuse to obtain legal redress.
“We should never pass laws that make it easier to racially abuse people.”
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