Thursday, 13 September 2018
Racial Discrimination Act 1975
That the Senate—
(a) notes that 15 September marks the anniversary of the Racial Hatred Act 1995, through which section 18C was inserted making it an offence to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person on racial grounds;
(b) further notes that the position of Race Discrimination Commissioner fell vacant in August 2018;
(c) also notes that the Institute of Public Affairs stated in a research brief, distributed to members and senators in May, that the Commissioner's role fulfils no substantive function, is merely one of political advocacy and promotes division in the community; and
(d) calls upon the Federal Government to refrain from appointing a new Commissioner or, if it does so, ensure that it appoints someone who will:
(i) unite Australians around Australian values, and
(ii) refrain from publicly campaigning or advocating that Australians make complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission under section 18C.
The Race Discrimination Commissioner has the role of promoting understanding and acceptance of and compliance with the Racial Discrimination Act, promoting understanding, tolerance and friendship among all Australians, including racial and ethnic groups, and of leading the Australian Human Rights Commission's work for all Australians. The government is actively considering applicants for the position of Race Discrimination Commissioner in order to ensure that these roles and the benefits of the position are realised for all Australians.
I am so sick of this rubbish. I am so sick of people who will never experience racism telling us that it doesn't exist. Senator Bernardi will never be told that you have no place in public life because of the colour of your skin. I hope that one day Australia will not need a Race Discrimination Commissioner, but that day is definitely not today, because racism is a reality and millions of people are harmed by it. Sudanese Australians are demonised by the media. Aboriginal Australians are dying in custody. Muslim Australians have been demonised and demeaned in this very parliament. So don't pretend that racism doesn't exist. If you cared to step outside your bubble, you would know that it does exist. Shame on you— (Time expired)
Senator Bernardi interjecting—
Senator Whish-Wilson interjecting—
and shame on anyone who supports this motion today.
Order, Senator Faruqi, the time has expired. Take your seat. Senator Bernardi and Senator Whish-Wilson! This is not a time in the Senate for extended debate. These statements are explanatory. I remind senators of that again. The question is that motion No. 1045 be agreed to.