NACCHO Racism and Aboriginal Health #RDA #18C : URGENT: make your submission – don’t let the Racial Discrimination Act be weakened


Stand up for protections against race hate speech:

Make your submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Speech

Submissions close 9 December 2016

Use the Templates under the heading “Attachments” at the bottom of this page by clicking on the relevant Attachment template to download the Word document.

Info supplied Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

ALHR has prepared templates (scroll to Attachments at the bottom of this page) to assist organisations and individuals who wish to make a submission to the current Parliamentary inquiry into freedom of speech.

The HRLC is in the process of putting together a submission for the JPCHR inquiry.

In general, the submission will include the following points:

·         Racism is a serious and escalating problem, as demonstrated by recent research, including by the Scanlon Foundation. Racism and racial vilification causes harm to individuals, to groups and society as a whole.

·         The law has an important role to play in addressing the harm caused by racial discrimination and racial vilification. By setting standards of conduct, the laws constrain the spread of racism and racial hatred and encourages people to speak out against racism, complementing broader education strategies.

·         An objective analysis of Part IIA of the RDA shows that the laws are being interpreted sensibly by the courts.
·         The laws generally strike an appropriate balance between the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom from racial discrimination and vilification.
·         There should be no change to Part IIA of the RDA.
·         The AHRC process provides important access to remedies for victims of racial vilification with most complaints resolved through an accessible mediation process.


NACCHO has published over 50 articles in the past 4 years like

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Racism

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights

On 8 November 2016, pursuant to the section 7(c) of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011, the Attorney-General referred various matters to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights for inquiry and report which can be summarised as follows:

  • whether the operation of Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (‘RDA’) (including ss 18C and 18D) impose unreasonable restrictions on freedom of speech; and
  • whether the complaints-handling procedures of the Australian Human Rights Commission should be reformed.

ALHR does not support the terms of reference of the Joint Committee Inquiry.  Australians made their support for legislation against racial vilification very clear two years ago in response to the proposed Freedom of Speech (Repeal of s. 18C) Bill 2014 which proposed major changes to section 18C of the RDA.

Moreover, we find the terms of reference extraordinary in that they appear to oppose the proper enforcement of the RDA and thereby appear to seek to undermine the rule of law and the statutory role of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

If you would like to make your individual voice or the voice of your organisation or community heard, but feel you need some drafting assistance, please feel free to use the short form letter or longer form submission templates attached below at the bottom of this page as your starting point.   Click on an Attachment to download the relevant PDF (Terms of Reference) or Word document (templates).

The templates are designed to assist you in addressing the terms of reference and legal issues but we strongly encourage you to add your own concerns, fears and lived experiences to increase the impact of your submission (see Making a Submission).

It is now more important than ever that those who believe in the right of all people to live their lives free from intimidation, discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, make their voices heard.

If you require further assistance please contact

The closing date for submissions is Friday, 9 December 2016.

Click here for the full terms of reference or find them attached below.

Please send your submissions to the Committee Secretariat by fax, post or email or by uploading to the Inquiry Website (see Inquiry Home Page) to arrive no later than Friday, 9 December 2016:

Committee Secretary,  Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights

PO Box 6100,  Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 3823

Fax: 02 6277 5767


You may also find the articles and resources below helpful:

S.18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975

At a glance: Racial vilification under sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)

Examples of other more concerning attacks on freedom of speech in Australia are contained in this Guardian article  Beyond 18C: six barriers to freedom of speech in Australia

Change Section 18C? Critics should do this crash course first

Research reveals what racism can do to a child’s body: Racism can get under the skin and do lifelong damage. BY  UNICEF Australia


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