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Racial Vilification/Hatred/Violence

What you Say Matters

What you Say Matters

The What you Say Matters project aims to increase understanding of racism among young people (14-17 years) and help them to respond safely to racism through youth-targeted resources.

The resources include a video clip for the song, ‘What You Say Matters’, performed by Indigenous hip-hop artist Brothablack and a  series of downloadable fact sheets. The fact sheets address topics such as what racism is; why people are racist; who experiences racism; where it happens; why it’s a problem; what we can do about it and the laws that address it.

Stopping racism is everyone's responsibility

Racism can get ugly. Think of the incidents of racist abuse on public transport that frequently attract media coverage.

It's an unpleasant experience to witness racist vitriol or confrontation. It's even worse when you're on the receiving end of it. Those who have copped a racist spray or attack often say it makes them feel like a lesser being.

Not all racism takes such dramatic form. Sometimes it can be silent or subtle. But even relatively mundane acts of racism have an impact on those who experience them.

Commissioner examines populism, anxiety and race

What is the best response to the anxiety, anger and hatred present in public discussions and political debates?

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane addressed this question in his keynote speech to the Australian Political Studies Association conference in Melbourne on 25 September 2017.

Dr Soutphommasane reflected on debates about ‘identity politics’ and political correctness.

“I believe we should be listening to our debates more closely, but that includes listening to those who cop the brunt of any racism or bigotry.

How to respond to the upswing in racism

Where does hatred come from? And how must we respond? These are questions many have been asking during the past week.

It’s not only Americans who are rattled by the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and by President Donald Trump’s failure to unequivocally condemn white supremacists. Around the world, there are clear signs that the old evil of bigotry has returned in full force.

Proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act

The Australian Human Rights Commission remains of the view that section 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act, as interpreted by the Courts, strike an appropriate balance between freedom of expression and protection from racial vilification.

The Commission will engage with the Government and Parliament on progressing legislative reforms that can further strengthen and improve the complaint handling process, while ensuring access to justice.

Setting the record straight: complaints and the Racial Discrimination Act

Informing people about their right to lodge a complaint if they believe they have experienced racial hatred is a responsibility of the Race Discrimination Commissioner, under the Racial Discrimination Act.

Responding to recent articles in The Australian and The Daily Telegraph, Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said: “I reject any suggestion that I have ‘urged’ or ‘encouraged’ complaints.”

Race, dignity and the responsibility of lawyers

Speech given at the Wellness for Law Conference, University of Adelaide Law School

The law can sometimes feel remote from people’s lives. It can cast a shadow over everything that we do, yet for those who are not lawyers it can be hard to understand. The law – and lawyers – can speak a language that isn’t always accessible.

RDA facts: setting the record straight

“Public debate about the Racial Discrimination Act is unlikely to abate any time soon. But we hope discussion of the Act is based on an accurate understanding of what it means and how it operates. And we hope our society will remain committed to racial tolerance, non-discrimination and equality,” writes Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane in the Law Society Journal.

The AHRC and the Racial Discrimination Act: setting the record straight

Federal racial hatred legislation and the complaints-handling processes of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) are currently the subjects of an inquiry by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. The Committee’s ‘Freedom of speech in Australia’ inquiry, due to report by 28 February 2017, is giving particular attention to sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Introductory remarks at the 2nd Annual Kep Enderby Memorial Lecture

Speech given at the 2nd Annual Kep Enderby Memorial Lecture, University of Technology Sydney

Next Monday, 31 October, we will mark the 41st anniversary of the Racial Discrimination Act coming into effect.

The Act is Australian society’s official statement against racial discrimination. It has been the foundation of racial equality and the legislative expression of Australian multiculturalism.