Racial Vilification Laws Rollback Opposed

Opposition Leader John Robertson has slammed Tony Abbott’s plan to scrap racial vilification laws that prohibit derogatory comments being made about someone’s race or ethnicity.

Mr Robertson also called on Premier Barry O’Farrell to come clean on whether he supports his federal leader’s plan.

In a speech to the Institute of Public Affairs, Federal Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott said he would remove section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Actthat prohibits statements that “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” people based on race, ethnicity and ethno-specific religious groups.

This plan should particularly concern Jewish, Muslim, Asian, Indian Subcontinent and Aboriginal groups.

In 1988, the NSW Parliament under then Premier Nick Greiner – with bipartisan support from Bob Carr – passed Australia’s first anti-racial vilification laws.

“Tony Abbott’s plan to remove racial vilification laws is nothing short of a disgrace,” Mr Robertson said.

“Mr Abbott’s plan to make intimidating and insulting racially based statements legal speaks volumes on the Liberal Party’s real attitude to multiculturalism.

“Premier Barry O’Farrell needs to be upfront with the people of NSW. Does he too support Mr Abbott’s plan to remove racial vilification laws?

“Mr Abbott is undermining the proud foundations of multiculturalism and equality in Australia with this appalling proposal.

“As Premier of NSW, a State with a proud tradition of multiculturalism, Barry O’Farrell should condemn Mr Abbott’s comments.

“There is no place in our society for hate speech.”

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Robert Furolo said: “I fear Mr Abbott’s plan to remove racial discrimination laws is only the start of the Liberal Party’s plans.”

“We are a proud multicultural State, NSW does not need racist attitudes to send us backwards.

“The Premier must stand up and condemn Mr Abbott’s plans on behalf of the outstanding multicultural communities in NSW who do not deserve to be marginalised by the Liberal Party’s extreme plans for racial discrimination laws.”

Source: Press Release Issued by the NSW Labor Party

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