Forum to tackle key issues

South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris.

South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris.

A WOLLONGONG forum will seek to address the impact of proposed laws organisers believe will threaten “fundamental freedoms and the basic rule of law in Australia”.

At the forum hosted by A Community for Peace and Justice, a panel of speakers will explain the impact of these laws proposed by the federal government.

One of the panellists and A Community for Peace member, Daniel Mackey, will discuss how he believes the new laws will overturn the right to freedom of information, freedom of the press, the right to privacy and presumption of innocence.

“The saying that ‘journalism is not a crime’ will take on a whole new meaning under the proposed laws,” Mr Mackey said.

“The federal government will make investigative journalism a crime where the journalist exposes illegal government activity in special operations.”

He will be joined by other panellists, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples member Gerry Moore and South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris.

Mr Moore will discuss the Racial Discrimination Act, and explain how the new laws could lead to discrimination and vilification of minority groups.

Mr Rorris said he would discuss the government’s attempts to foster division in society between those who work and those who were unemployed.

“The government is using loaded, stereotyped slogans to characterise people as the ‘lifters’ or the ‘leaners’,” Mr Rorris said.

“The challenge for our community and nation is to rise above the lies and scapegoating that this characterisation is encouraging. 

“We need a vision that is inclusive of all Australians and builds on the egalitarian ethic and notion of a fair go.”

The community forum will begin at 1pm on Saturday, August 30, in the Wollongong Library theatrette (41 Burelli, Wollongong).

Members of the public are invited to attend.

A Community for Peace and Justice will also host a public meeting in Nowra, which will feature the same format as the Wollongong forum.

It will take place at Nowra Public Library (downstairs meeting room) on Sunday, August 31 from 1pm-3pm.

Panellists for this event will be Mr Mackey, Australia’s Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda and Garry Keane, secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, Southern NSW branch. 

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