RDA Joint Media Statement
We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Government will not proceed with proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (”the Act”) and that and those proposals now “off the table”.
We believe that the Prime Minister has made the right leadership call.
The arguments which were put forward to support the repealing or weakening of sections 18B, 18C, 18D and 18E of the Act were based on a mischaracterisation of the way the courts have applied those sections in practice. It is gratifying for us to know that the truth has ultimately prevailed.
The extraordinarily large number of written submissions received by the Federal government opposing its proposed changes indicate that most Australians understand that racial vilification laws are a necessary last resort for the targets of race hate to defend themselves.
Although we were disturbed by the possibility of our legal protections being diminished, the extended public debate about the legislation has had a positive result. People are now better informed about the way the Act works to protect vulnerable groups without preventing people from expressing their views robustly about any issues.
This was never really a debate about freedom of speech. Section 18C provides protection against the excesses of racial hatred and bitterness in Australia and the retention of the legislation in its existing form is therefore not only a good thing for our communities but a good thing for Australia.
Welcome to the Australian Hellenic Council
The Australian Hellenic Council is the peak representative body of the Australian Hellenic Community. It is made up of the secretariats of the Hellenic Councils of each of Australia’s States and Territories.
Each State and Territory Hellenic Council is in turn made up of representatives from Hellenic community organizations including regional brotherhoods and educational, welfare and youth organizations. Read More
The Australian Hellenic Council, together with the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales, has come out in strong opposition to the Federal Government’s proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.
Left to RightKathy Kouvas, Tom Christopoulos, Patrick Voon (Australian Chinese Forum), Steve Georgiou, Luke Song (Korean Society of Sydney), Sophie Cotsis (NSW MLC), Dimitrios Kametopoulos, Katina Nicholas, Andrew Tsounis (Rockdale Councillor), Sotirios Tsouris (Cyprus Community), Peter Wertheim (Executive Council of Australian Jewry), Mersina Tonys-Soulos, George Vellis (Australian Hellenic Council), Nia Karteris, George Vardas, Harry Danalis (Greek Orthodox Community), Michael Tsilimnos.