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 submissions were received by the 30 April closing date. Although it was understood that submissions would not be made public without the author’s consent, many, many submissions have been explicitly made public on the internet (eg see the list at Human Rights Law Centre, collated here).
Inexplicably, the Attorney General has declined to make the public submissions publicly available (see for instance the critique at New Matilda, ‘Brandis Blocks Public Airing of Free Speech Submissions’).
I, and many others, feel it is important to make these submissions widely available, given they represent a wide range of public views on an issue that is important in the debate on, and future of, human rights protection in Australia.
The following list are all the submissions I was able to find from public sources.
Academics and Academic Centres
Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, at Monash University (Professor Sarah Joseph)
Professor Ben Saul, of University of Sydney
Public Law and Policy Research Unit, at University of Adelaide (Dr Gabrielle Appleby, the Hon. Catherine Branson QC, Dr Laura Grenfell, Professor Rosemary Owens AO and Dr Matthew Stubbs)
Professor Simon Rice, of Australian National University
Dr Jennifer Nielsen, Dr Cristy Clark of Southern Cross University and Marcelle Burns of QUT. Submission on s18C, Clark et al
Dr Shelley Bielefeld and Professor Jon Altman, of Australian National University. Altman & Bielefeld RDA submission
Human Rights Councils/Commissions
Anti-Discrimination Commission, Queensland
Ethnic Communities Council of Western Australia
Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia
Multicultural Council of Northern Territory
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Organisations
Dr Yadu Singh, President of Indian Australian Association of NSW
Faith Based Organisations
PERIL: Asian-Australia Arts and Culture (31 Victorian Multicultural, Faith and Community Organisations)
Community Legal Centres and Legal Organisations
Kingsford Legal Centre endorsed by National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC)
Dr Anita Heiss and 175 authors, writers, journalists, editors, publishers, directors, artists, filmmakers, academics and supporters.
50 local councils – “Project 18c”
Australian Greens (Senators Wright and Di Natale):
Terri Butler MP
John Robertson MP (NSW Opposition Leader)
Melissa Castan is a Deputy Director at the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Law Faculty, Monash University, and is the National Convenor, of the Alternative Law Journal. Thanks also to two Monash law students and Castan Centre interns, Stephanie Sprott and Josephine Langbien, who assisted with this list
For more on the issue of amending the Racial Discrimination Act on this Castan Centre blog, see
- Professor Sarah Joseph “Rights to bigotry and green lights to hate” and
- Dr Patrick Emerton “Why Tim Wilson is wrong about n “ .