Submnitted to the parliamentary inquiry on December 2017
Fair Go for Pensioners (FGFP) Coalition Victoria Incorporated is an independent non-profit coalition of community-based organisations and individuals bringing together ethnic groups, community advocacy groups and service providers and unions advocating for social justice for pensioners and other low income groups such as single parents and their children, renters of all housing types and the unemployed marginalised by financial hardship and poverty.
FGFP thanks the Australian Government and this Committee for the opportunity to be heard and for our views to be expressed.
FGFP believes in Freedom of Speech as an important right but not without restriction when one right must give way to another. Current examples of limitations include cases of libel, defamation, sexual discrimination, disability discrimination and racial discrimination.
FGFP believes that the current Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) under sections 18C and 18D provides necessary protections against racial vilification and incitement to racial hatred and should not be weakened.
Historically, Aborigines, Torres Strait Islanders and migrants have been subjected to brutal and inhumane levels of racial vilification, incitement to hatred and intimidation and our laws to protect and prohibit racist bigotry and harm must be defended not weakened.
The free speech arguments being used to make amendments to Section 18C of the RDA are in fact covered under Section 18D so it is not clear why such amendments are proposed.
FGFP also believes celebrating our diversity promotes greater civility in society and Section 18C of the RDA does combat racist elements that have no place in a civil society.