Extensions for ‘s18C’ submissions – there’s still time

December 13, 2016

Stand up for protections against race hate speech: still time to make your submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Speech

Use the Templates under the heading “Attachments” at the bottom of this page by clicking on the relevant Attachment template to download the Word document.

Submission closing date has been extended to 23 December 2016

ALHR has prepared templates (scroll to Attachments at the bottom of this page) to assist organisations and individuals who wish to make a submission to the current Parliamentary inquiry into freedom of speech.

On 8 November 2016, pursuant to the section 7(c) of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011, the Attorney-General referred various matters to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights for inquiry and report which can be summarised as follows:

  • whether the operation of Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (‘RDA’) (including ss 18C and 18D) impose unreasonable restrictions on freedom of speech; and
  • whether the complaints-handling procedures of the Australian Human Rights Commission should be reformed.

ALHR does not support the terms of reference of the Joint Committee Inquiry.  Australians made their support for legislation against racial vilification very clear two years ago in response to the proposed Freedom of Speech (Repeal of s. 18C) Bill 2014 which proposed major changes to section 18C of the RDA.

Moreover, we find the terms of reference extraordinary in that they appear to oppose the proper enforcement of the RDA and thereby appear to seek to undermine the rule of law and the statutory role of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

If you would like to make your individual voice or the voice of your organisation or community heard, but feel you need some drafting assistance, please feel free to use the short form letter or longer form submission templates attached below at the bottom of this page as your starting point.   Click on an Attachment to download the relevant PDF (Terms of Reference) or Word document (templates).

The templates are designed to assist you in addressing the terms of reference and legal issues but we strongly encourage you to add your own concerns, fears and lived experiences to increase the impact of your submission (see Making a Submission).

It is now more important than ever that those who believe in the right of all people to live their lives free from intimidation, discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, make their voices heard.

If you require further assistance please contact vicepresident@alhr.org.au

The closing date for submissions has been extended to Friday, 23 December 2016.

Click here for the full terms of reference or find them attached below.

Please send your submissions to the Committee Secretariat by fax, post or email or by uploading to the Inquiry Website (see Inquiry Home Page) to arrive no later than Friday, 23 December 2016:

Committee Secretary,  Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights

PO Box 6100,  Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 3823

Fax: 02 6277 5767

Email: 18Cinquiry@aph.gov.au

You may also find the articles and resources below helpful:

S.18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975

At a glance: Racial vilification under sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)

Examples of other more concerning attacks on freedom of speech in Australia are contained in this Guardian article  Beyond 18C: six barriers to freedom of speech in Australia

Change Section 18C? Critics should do this crash course first

Research reveals what racism can do to a child’s body: Racism can get under the skin and do lifelong damage. BY  UNICEF Australia