Hate speech petition tabled

This petition of Citizens of Australia who are firm believers in protection of racial dignity and multiculturalism draws to the attention of the House:

The community concerns in relation to the proposed changes to Racial Discrimination Act 1975. The proposed changes will reduce the Act's ability to protect the community against hate speech, bigotry and similar offensive conduct in relation to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin. We are firm believers in right to free speech but we also believe that these rights come with responsibility and it is the duty of the government to protect our diverse population from a small but loud minority, who may misuse the changes to insult, humiliate and offend fellow Australians on the basis of their race, colour and national or ethnic origin.

Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (13:44):  I present a petition which has been considered by the Petitions Committee and found to be in order:

The petition read as follows—

To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives

This petition of Citizens of Australia who are firm believers in protection of racial dignity and multiculturalism draws to the attention of the House:

The community concerns in relation to the proposed changes to Racial Discrimination Act 1975. The proposed changes will reduce the Act's ability to protect the community against hate speech, bigotry and similar offensive conduct in relation to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin. We are firm believers in right to free speech but we also believe that these rights come with responsibility and it is the duty of the government to protect our diverse population from a small but loud minority, who may misuse the changes to insult, humiliate and offend fellow Australians on the basis of their race, colour and national or ethnic origin.

We therefore ask the House to oppose and vote against any changes to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

from 979 citizens

Petition received.

Ms BUTLER:  The 979 signatures on this petition have been collected by members of the Holland Park Islamic Society on Brisbane's south side, who, as they state:

… are firm believers in protection of racial dignity and multiculturalism …

The petition draws to the attention of the House community's concerns about any changes to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. It rightly points out that it is the duty of the government to protect our diverse population from a small but loud minority who may misuse changes in the act to insult, humiliate and offend fellow Australians on the basis of their race, colour or national or ethnic origin.

The provisions of 18A through to 18E of the Racial Discrimination Act are provisions that have served our nation well for many years. They are provisions under which people who have been vilified can seek the assistance of the Human Rights Commission to find a resolution and some redress and some sense of vindication in respect of the person who has vilified them—the provisions under which people can go to the Human Rights Commission and talk face-to-face in a confidential way about the words that have been said or the conduct has been engaged in. It is a provision that has been used by many different ethnic communities to seek some sort of redress for vilification. I urge the House not to support any changes.

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