O'FARRELL'S INQUIRY INTO RACIAL VILIFICATION HYPOCRITICAL – AS ANTI
DISCRIMINATION BOARD LEFT WITHOUT STAFF AND FUNDING
Inquiry into and report on racial vilification law in NSW. This is your chance to make a difference
Is Racial Vilification Law working effectively? My answer to this question is No.It is because of this that thousands of NSW Citizens have signed my petition asking the Government to amend the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 and provide proper protection to all religions and religious minorities in NSW.
This Act was introduced in 1977, and apart from some minor amendments it has remained generally untouched for over 36 years. In the mean time,NSW has witnessed an unprecedented transformation into a real Multicultural, Multi-faith society. It is time we amend this Act to reflect this change and include 'religion' or 'religious belief' as a ground against discrimination.
I welcome the NSW Government's announcement of an Inquiry into racial vilification law in NSW.This Inquiry however is extremely limited to Section 20D of the Act. It does not aim to investigate the inclusion of religion into the Act and falls short of a full and proper inquiry. One should note that the O'Farrell Government is in fact underfunding the Anti-Discrimination Board which is the investigative agency for breaches of s 20D.This Inquiry also fails to dwell into the need for full religious protection for all Australians of all faiths. To achieve this change we must amend the Act and introduce the word "religion" or "religious belief" or "no religious belief" into the Act to protect all people in NSW, irrespective of faith.
In this regard our Anti-Discrimination Act falls far short of the protections against racial and religious discrimination or vilification, as is available under laws in sister States such as Victoria. The NSW Anti-Discrimination Act does not protect against religious discrimination. Under Victorian law on the other hand, it is unlawful to vilify a person or group of people on the basis of their race or religion.
inquiry, the Standing Committee on Law and Justice will inquire into and report
on racial vilification law in NSW, in particular but not limited to;
(1) The effectiveness of Section 20D of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 which creates the offence of serious racial vilification; (2) Whether Section 20D establishes a realistic test for the offence of racial vilification in line with community expectations; and (3) Any improvements that could be made to section 20D, having regard to the continued importance of freedom of speech.
I encourage your participation and contribution to the debate. Please consider making a submission to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice. Your submission must be received by no later than Friday 8 March 2013. Prior to lodging your submission I recommend reading How to Make a submission (PDF), and for background reading, Standing Committees of the Legislative Council (PDF).
Details about the Inquiry,including the terms of reference and information on how to make a submission, can be found at: www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lawandjustice
This is your chance to make a difference.I hope that in the interest of justice to all that you will make your voice heard and your views count.
Shaoquett Moselmane MLC.
Level 11, Room 1116.
Parliament of New South Wales
Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
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