Australian Greens host urgent briefing in Federal Parliament to protect 18C


The Australian Greens have held an urgent briefing for community leaders across Australia in the wake of the Turnbull Government proposing changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Richard Di Natale and Australian Greens spokesperson for Justice, Senator Nick McKim, met with community leaders in Parliament House, Canberra, to discuss the proposed changes and the community campaign against them.

Present were leaders and representatives from First Nations, Somali, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Muslim, South Sudanese, Jewish, Sikh and Kurdish communities as well as representatives from key organisations including FECCA, Welcome to Australia and the Human Rights Law Centre.

“The Greens have heard horrific stories of the effects of racism from many, many communities from right around the country, and sadly these stories are only increasing in prevalence and frequency,” Dr Di Natale said today.

“Every person in our briefing today agreed that any change to water down 18C will make it easier for people to humiliate, offend and insult someone on the basis of their race or ethnicity.

“There is more that needs to be done to ensure multiculturalism and the laws that protect it are strengthened in this country and we are committed to working with community groups to represent their needs in Parliament.

“The Greens thank those who were able to join us ”“ it is because of strong communities like theirs that we are able to stand in this parliament, vote against legislation that targets diversity and celebrate our wonderful multicultural nation.”

The emergency meeting came on the same day as the Greens’ initiated ”˜Strengthening Multiculturalism’ Senate Inquiry commenced. Chaired by Dr Di Natale, the inquiry looks into the effects of racism and bigotry, and what happens when politicians and media outlets fan the flames of fear and whether adequate services and resources are available to recently arrived migrants and more established communities across Australia.

Joining Dr Di Natale for the Inquiry will be representatives from the Government, Labor and other minor parties.

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