The NSW and Victorian Governments announced they had lodged formal submissions opposing changes to the protections against racial vilification contained in the Federal Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello and Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Matthew Guy said ,“We consider it vital that the Commonwealth does not weaken protections in place against racial vilification.
“The proposed changes threaten the social cohesion and well-being of not just our states’ culturally and religiously diverse communities, but also the wider Australian community.
“We support the protections currently in place under the Federal Racial Discrimination Act and emphasise the practical and symbolic importance of these protections – particularly for our Aboriginal, multicultural and multi-faith communities.
“Successive NSW and Victorian Governments have worked hard to foster socially inclusive and cohesive communities.
“This is the basis for the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 2010 and Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 and the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.
“Unlike the Commonwealth laws, the NSW and Victorian statutes also include criminal prohibitions for serious racial vilification.
“Vilification on the grounds of race or religion is always wrong and we should never allow it to be sanctioned, whether intentionally or otherwise.”
The Federal Government’s Exposure Draft on the Freedom of Speech (Repeal of s.18C) Bill 2014 was released on 25 March.
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