VMC defends racial discrimination protections

24 February 2017

The Victorian Multicultural Commission appeared before the Federal Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights conducting an Inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia at a public hearing held in Melbourne on 31 January 2017.

The Inquiry, referred to the Committee on 8 November 2016, aims to investigate if Part IIA of the Act, including sections 18C & 18D present ‘unreasonable restrictions on freedom of speech’ and the complaints-handling procedure of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

VMC Chairperson Ms Helen Kapalos attended the Inquiry’s hearing to state strong support for retaining sections 18C & 18D of the Act, which protect multicultural communities against discrimination and segregates communities.

“As we are witnessing at this time, dialogue which divides, dialogue which marginalises, dialogue which maligns and denigrates ethnicities and communities has damaging consequences for us all,” said Ms Kapalos.

“We know that taking away these protections leaves our multicultural communities extremely vulnerable – especially when it comes to redressing the injustice of public attacks which humiliate and discriminate,” she said.

Ms Kapalos’ evidence reinforced the views contained in the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s submission to the Inquiry.

Section 18C of the Act makes it unlawful for someone to commit an act that is reasonably likely to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” someone because of their race or ethnicity, while Section 18D holds exemptions which protect freedom of speech.

Read Ms Kapalos’ statement and find out more about the Inquiry.

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Draft African Communities Action Plan

The Victorian Government has asked the African Ministerial Working Group (AMWG) to lead the development of an African Communities Action Plan. 

A draft version of the Action Plan has been released for public consultation.

Help shape the final plan by providing your feedback on the draft by 15 December 2017.

Find out more