How can the ruling class make laws that discriminate if there are those agencies that disagree?
I write to alert you to a Federal Government proposal to abolish the post of Race Discrimination Commissioner (together with the posts of Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Human Rights Commissioner and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner).
Those interested in this matter may like to make a submission to the Senate inquiry into the proposal before the closing date of 24 April 2003. Details follow.
Dr William Jonas AM, Acting Race Discrimination Commissioner, 9 April 2003
Legislation has been introduced into federal Parliament to abolish the post of federal Race Discrimination Commissioner. The proposal is to restructure the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. If the changes are accepted by the Parliament there will be three generalist Human Rights Commissioners instead of the existing specialist commissioners. The post of President will be retained but Australia will no longer have a Race Discrimination Commissioner. Under the legislation, none of the three
Human Rights Commissioners would have specific responsibility for race discrimination. Allocation of specific responsibilities would be at the discretion of the President. Education on race discrimination, promoting understanding and friendship among ethnic groups and working to combat racial prejudice would be general Commission functions. They would compete for attention with the functions dealing with sex and disability discrimination, human rights and Indigenous social justice. There is no guarantee that a future Commission will always devote resources and attention to race issues.
The current position
The Race Discrimination Commissioner currently has responsibilities under Australia1s oldest anti-discrimination law, the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act. Originally the Act was administered by a stand-alone Community Relations Commissioner. When the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission was established in 1986, the position of Race Discrimination Commissioner was created and the Commissioner became a member of this new national body.
Former Commissioners include Ms Irene Moss (1986 - 1994) and Ms Zita Antonios (1994 - 1999).
The Commissioner has a broad role especially in public education, policy development, conducting national inquiries and producing reports on important issues of community relations in Australia. The role involves promoting equality in the political, economic, social and cultural fields for everyone regardless of race, colour, descent, national origin or ethnic origin.
Achievements of the Race Discrimination Commissioners. Major achievements include:
1986-87 - mediation of racial tensions in Goondiwindi and referral of Toomelah community conditions and services to the President for HREOC1s first public inquiry (which reported in 1988)
1991 - national inquiry into Racist Violence recommending the introduction of racial vilification legislation and other measures
1993-1996 - annual State of the Nation reports on the extent to which people from non-English speaking backgrounds experience equality and freedom from discrimination
1994 - a report drawing attention to the lack of safe drinking water in remote Indigenous communities
1995 - racial vilification legislation introduced; strong support for Aboriginal communities wishing to limit access to alcohol
1996 - publication of Face the Facts, providing factual information to counter prevalent misinformation about refugees, immigration and Indigenous issues
1997 - publication of a guide for the media on the racial vilification legislation
1999-2000 - independent information about racial discrimination in Australia provided to relevant UN treaty committees
2001 - national consultations on racism in Australia in preparation for the World Conference Against Racism; second edition of Face the Facts
2002 - symposium on racial vilification on the internet (cyber-racism) with industry and other expert participants
2003 - initiation of Isma? - Listen: National consultations on eliminating prejudice against Arab and Muslim Australians
The legislation proposes changing the name of the Commission to the ÎAustralian Human Rights Commission1 and giving more prominence to the public education function the Commission already has.
Another amendment threatens the Commission1s independence as well as its potential to defend human rights effectively. The Commission will need the Attorney-General1s permission to apply to intervene in a court case raising a human rights principle. The Attorney-General will be the gatekeeper of this function even in case involving the government.
Read HREOC1s press release on the proposal at: Senate is inquiring into the proposals.The legislation will be investigated by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee which has been asked to report by 29 May.Submissions close 24 April. For information about the inquiry, see:
From Peter Hallahan Secretary Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee posted 10 April 03
Contact details for the Committee are: Peter Hallahan Secretary Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee Room S1.61, Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone: (02) 6277 3560 Fax: (02) 6277 5794 E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"If there is a target person the police would have powers in relation to that type of person," Mr Costa said. Asked what he meant by "type of person", Mr Costa said: "The example that's been given is if there's a description of somebody, an identikit photograph released by Interpol or other agencies ... these powers may well be exercised on that type of person."
Australia: Terrorising you in secret Suspected terrorists [scapegoats and patsies for the Coalition of the Killing's resource wars in the Middle East] will be tried in secret under new laws to be introduced by the Federal Government.
Red paper classes Australia as terrorist suspects Australia's old foreign policy red paper says Australians have become targets because their own government is being run by war criminals that are complicit in state terror, torture, murder, occupation and genocide.
Middle Eastern: Specific Legislation "If there is a target person the police would have powers in relation to that type of person," Mr Costa said. Asked what he meant by "type of person", Mr Costa said: "The example that's been given is if there's a description of somebody, an identikit photograph released by Interpol or other agencies ... these powers may well be exercised on that type of person." Howard defends terror alert Prime Minister John Howard says the Federal Government would not have issued a terror alert if it had not come from a credible source. (America?) Speaking for the first time since the Government revealed the warning, Mr Howard says he wants people to be more careful, but not to stop living. [As long as they don't go dancing in Bali? And sure we'll all be depressed for as long as John Howard and Bob Carr say so.]
Carr backs Fed Govt's terror alert New South Wales Premier Bob Carr has defended the Federal Government's decision to issue a warning to Australians about a possible terrorist attack in Australia.
Watchdogs slaughtered in NSW On Tuesday the Carr Government reduced transparency and accountability yet again and New South Wales is in danger of becoming entrenched with cronyism and intimidations with the Carr Labor Government that continues to slaughter the watchdogs.
NSW Community News Network Archive