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Freedom, the sublime and the patriotic

November 3, 2014

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Speech to Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Gala Dinner by  Keynote Speaker Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner During the past year or so, I have been constantly asked two questions with unerring predictability. One: Should the Racial Discrimination Act be amended? Two: How is everyone getting along at the Australian Human Rights […]

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Freeing the RDA ‘Free Speech’ submissions

June 26, 2014


Some submissions on the proposed amendments to S18C & D, Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth): by Melissa Castan The Australian Government is currently considering amendments to section 18C and D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, and in March 2014 called for submissions on an exposure draft (available here). It has been estimated that over 5000 […]

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Why Tim Wilson is wrong about “n______”

April 10, 2014


By Patrick Emerton A little over a week ago, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson stated that he objects to current laws governing racially offensive behaviour because they allow members of particular communities to refer to one another using words that outsiders may not: Asked whether he was referring to the word “n–––“, Mr Wilson said: “I […]

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Rights to bigotry and green lights to hate

March 28, 2014


By Sarah Joseph, Monash University AAP/Stefan Postles Poor George Brandis. Our Attorney-General seems to have wedged himself on the issue of racial vilification. Soon after the election of the Abbott government, Senator Brandis defiantly declared that repeal of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act would be his first task as Australia’s first law officer. […]

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Guest Blog: National pride and national unity: why we should get rid of the racial discrimination in our Constitution

January 26, 2014


By Shireen Morris Australia Day is a day of national pride and national unity – isn’t it? On this day in 1788 Captain Phillip stuck his flag in the sand at Sydney Cove and declared the land British territory, ignoring the people who already lived here. Terra nullius denied Indigenous existence, or at least denied […]

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Appeals to racism do not advance us: special International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination post

March 21, 2013

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By Richard Clarke Tucked away in the lesser-known second verse of our national anthem is the following stanza: For those who’ve come across the sea We’ve boundless plains to share With courage let us all combine To advance Australia fair. In the lead-up to the federal election, politicians from both sides would do well to […]

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Racism demands action from all of us

February 14, 2013

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Guest Blogger: Associate Professor Lucas Walsh, Monash University (Berwick) Last week we saw another high-profile incident of racism, this time involving ABC journalist Jeremy Fernandez, who allegedly received a tirade of defamatory and racist abuse from a Caucasian woman after commenting that her daughter was poking him from the seat behind. One particularly abhorrent aspect […]

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Sometimes cricket is “just not cricket”

January 16, 2012


by Sarah Joseph Summer is here in Australia, which means many hours of cricket on radio and television, and, for those in capital cities, occasional opportunities to see the players in real life.  Given the subject matter of this blog, I think it an opportune time to reflect on some of the many intersections between […]

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A silly season blog: Tintin and Human Rights

December 26, 2011


by Sarah Joseph So the new Tintin movie, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, opens in Australia on Boxing Day. As a die-hard fan of Tintin, the creation of Georges Remi known as Hergé (1907-1983), I will have to see it, though I have serious doubts that the movie can remotely match […]

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