Freeing the RDA ‘Free Speech’ submissions

Some submissions on the proposed amendments to S18C & D, Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth):

by Melissa Castan

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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

All Together Now

Anti-Discrimination Commission, Queensland

Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities

Australian Human Rights Commission, and individual submission by Commissioner Tim Wilson

Australian Multicultural Council

Diversity Council Australia

Ethnic Communities Council of Western Australia

Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia

Institute of Cultural Diversity

Multicultural Council of Northern Territory

Refugee Council of Australia

Victorian Equal and Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Organisations

Australians for Native Title & Reconciliation – ANTaR

Cape York Institute

Close the Gap Steering Committee

National Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSIL)

National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples

Reconciliation Australia

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc (VACCHO)

Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated


Robert Corr

Dr Yadu Singh, President of Indian Australian Association of NSW

Faith Based Organisations

Catholic Justice and Peace Commission

Executive Council of Australian Jewry

Muslim Legal Network

St Vincent de Paul Society

Uniting Church

PERIL: Asian-Australia Arts and Culture (31 Victorian Multicultural, Faith and Community Organisations)

Community Legal Centres and Legal Organisations

Australian Lawyers’ Alliance

Central Australian Women’s Legal Service

Human Rights Law Centre

Kingsford Legal Centre endorsed by National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC)

Law Council of Australia

Law Institute Victoria

Liberty Victoria

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

NSW Bar Association

Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services Inc

Redfern Legal Centre

Western Suburbs Legal Service

Women’s Legal Services NSW

Other Community/Political/Institutes/Groups

African Community Organisation of South Australia (ACOSA)

Amnesty International

Arab Council of Australia

Australian Association of Social Workers

Australian Chinese Community Association NSW:

Australian Council of Trade Unions

Australian Human Resources Institute

Australian Tamil Congress

CyberRacism and Community Resilience Research Group

Dr Anita Heiss and 175 authors, writers, journalists, editors, publishers, directors, artists, filmmakers, academics and supporters.

Institute of Public Affairs

National Union of Students

Online Hate Prevention Institute

Save the Children


50 local councils – “Project 18c”

Australian Greens (Senators Wright and Di Natale):

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus MP

Terri Butler MP

Greater City of Dandenong

Monash City Council

NSW and Victorian governments joint statement

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

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