Controversial changes to Racial Discrimination Act scrapped

FOLLOWING overwhelming “negative feedback” from communities and 5000 submissions, the Federal Government has scrapped the proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.

The federal cabinet unanimously voted against changing Section 18C of the act which moved to water down part of the act that makes it unlawful to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group of people,” based on their race or ethnicity.

The proposal was meet with stiff opposition from ethnic groups, Liberal MPs in marginal seats and the legal fraternity.

Arthur Moses, SC said  “on no rational basis can it be asserted that Australians have a 'right to be bigots'.''

After months of debate, the changes were dumped in a swift 60 minutes.

NSW Liberal spokesman for communities Matt Kean said it was a “victory for common sense” and the strongest possible message that racism and bigotry have no place in Australia.

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward said that the NSW Government took a lead role in unequivocally opposing the proposed changes.

“These protections emphasise the practical importance of multiculturalism – particularly for our Aboriginal, multicultural and multi-faith communities,” he said.

 “It was clear that these proposed changes were strongly opposed in communities across the state.

 “I am pleased that the Federal Government has listened to those communities and responded appropriately to their genuine concerns”, Mr Ward said.

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