ECCNSW Statement: Keep NSW a Socially Cohesive and Harmonious Community

by Esther Lozano - Friday, 12 August 2016

KEEP NSW A SOCIALLY COHESIVE AND HARMONIOUS COMMUNITY

We urge the NSW Government to enact legislation which will maintain harmony within our communities, and will serve to reassure the people of New South Wales, that we live in a cohesive, secure and inclusive State.

In order to promote security and safety we must not become complacent by accepting anti-social and unacceptable behaviour that incites racism.

Our laws must protect all citizens. The current law is weak and ineffective, and does not prevent antisocial behaviour that leads to violence against other Australians on the basis of their race, colour, descent or national origin.

For NSW to remain a racially tolerant and harmonious society we must make every effort to ensure that extremists who incite racist violence are held responsible for their actions to the point where they may be liable to arrest or prosecution and, if convicted, punishment.

We are concerned that following an inquiry commissioned by the NSW Government in 2013 assessing the effectiveness of Section 20D that the Government has been slow to act on any of these recommendations to improve the law resulting from that inquiry.  

In 2015 the NSW State Government made a public commitment that it would introduce legislation in the first half of 2016 which would fix the failures of the current law.  We are disappointed that this commitment has not yet been honoured.   

It is of additional concern to us that under the current formation of Section 20D there has never been a successful prosecution under the provision, despite dozens of cases having been referred by the Anti-Discrimination Board pertaining to reported breaches of Section 20D.   

​A number of member organisations of the ECC have already expressed their support for the campaign currently being undertaken to improve section 20D, with some recently attending State Parliament to advocate for reform. ​

This is not about subverting freedom of speech. People are free to have and to express an opinion. However, racist hate speech and the promotion does not constitute free speech.

Merely paying lip-service to communal harmony is not good enough. Our government must instead act to preserve our peaceful way of life by changing the law to protect all from the promotion of violence. 

We urge the NSW Government to enact this critically important legislation without further delay

 

Peter Doukas

CHAIR

Click HERE to download your template letter to the NSW Government

Clik HERE to download the general Statement document