Speaking As One To Fight Racial Discrimination

07 December 2016

The Andrews Labor Government has welcomed a joint submission by more than 60 local community groups that calls for existing federal racial discrimination laws to be protected.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott today met with Victorian representatives from a number of multicultural, faith and Aboriginal community organisations to voice the Labor Government’s support for the Racial Discrimination Act.

Together with Government MPs, they demonstrated their unity with a symbolic linking of arms on the steps of Parliament House.

A federal inquiry is currently being held into the efficacy of the Act and Section 18C, which deems it unlawful to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” based on a person’s race or ethnicity.

The Labor Government will make a submission emphasising:

  • the on-going contribution of multicultural and indigenous communities to Victoria
  • the need to protect individuals and communities from racial vilification

All Victorians – regardless of where they come from, the language they speak or the faith they follow – deserve strong legislative protections.

In May 2014, then Multicultural Affairs Minister Matthew Guy said: “There should be no changes to the Federal Racial Discrimination Act and we’ll be very, very clear in our submission to say so.”

Like the previous state Liberal Government, we fully support the Act as it stands – and will continue to do so.

The Labor Government’s submission will be made available after December 9.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott

“Discrimination based on race, gender or religion is never OK. People have the right to be accepted for who they are.”

“Any attempt to water down Australia’s hate-speech laws and undermine our history of multiculturalism will not be accepted by the Andrews Labor Government.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins

“It is a sad fact that discrimination is part of everyday life for Aboriginal Victorians.”

“At a time when we are working towards reconciliation with our first peoples, it seems ridiculous to reduce protections against discrimination.”

Community groups involved:

  1. Africa Day Australia Inc (ADA)
  2. African Music and Cultural Festival Inc
  3. African Think Tank (ATT)
  4. African Australian Communities Leadership Forum (AACLF)
  5. African Australian Multicultural Employment and Youth Services (AAMEYS)
  6. African Australian Small Business Association (AASBA)
  7. Afro-Australian Student Organisation
  8. Asian Australia Democracy Caucus (AADC)
  9. Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC)
  10. Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council Inc
  11. Australian Intercultural Society
  12. Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee
  13. Australasian Union of Jewish Students
  14. B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission
  15. B'nai B’rith Australia/New Zealand
  16. B’nai B’rith Victoria
  17. Board of Imams Victoria
  18. Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project
  19. Brigidine Sisters Kildara Centre
  20. Buddhist Council of Victoria
  21. Chinese Association of Victoria Inc
  22. Church of All Nations, Carlton
  23. AS.IT Italian Assistance Association (Victoria)
  24. Council of Christians and Jews Inc Victoria (CCJ)
  25. Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria (COSV)
  26. Ethnic Communities Council of the South East (ECCOSE) Inc
  27. Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV)
  28. Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV)
  29. Hindu Council of Australia
  30. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh
  31. Incubate Foundation
  32. The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
  33. ISKCON
  34. Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV)
  35. Islamic Shia Council of Victoria
  36. Jewish Christian Muslim Association (JCMA)
  37. Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV)
  38. Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence Inc (JTAFV)
  39. Kerala Hindu Society Melbourne
  40. Keshet Australia
  41. KSIJ Melbourne
  42. Monash Interfaith Gathering
  43. National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Victoria) Inc
  44. National Italian Australian foundation (NIAF)
  45. National Liaison Council of Chinese Australians Inc
  46. The Nigerian Society of Victoria Inc
  47. Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI)
  48. Pax Christi Australia
  49. Progressive Judaism Victoria (PJV)
  50. Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand (RCANZ)
  51. Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV)
  52. Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Victoria Regional Meeting Inc
  53. Seva International
  54. Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria
  55. South Sudanese Community Association in Victoria Inc
  56. The UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations - Asia Pacific
  57. The Union of Greater Upper Nile States
  58. United Sri Lankan Muslim Association
  59. Uniting Church in Australia Synod of Vic/Tas
  60. Victorian Council of Churches (VCC)
  61. Wesley Mission Victoria

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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