“While I strongly believe that freedom of speech and freedom of expression are essential elements of a liberal democracy like Australia’s, racial vilification and discrimination should never be tolerated” Geoff said.
“Freedom of expression should not be promoted at the expense of protection from racial and ethnic denigration,” Mr Lee added.
The Federal Government has presented an exposure draft bill that seeks to change the Racial Discrimination Act by removing the words “offend, insult and humiliate” from s18C of the Act.
Many individuals, community groups, and legal professionals have raised serious concerns about the changes including the United Indian Association who stated that “after going through the proposed amendment to section 18C [they have] come to a conclusion that the proposed change is going to disadvantage many different communities and people.”
Dr Lee made a speech in Parliament opposing the changes and supporting the NSW Government’s position to keep the Racial Discrimination Act in its current form.
“Using ones race and ethnic identity to discriminate or insult completely contradicts the meaning of living in a peaceful, diverse and harmonious community.
This form of denigration breaks the bonds that help make great cities like Sydney and great communities like Parramatta, the best places to live, work and raise a family” Geoff said.
“It is important to ensure that we strike the right balance between freedom of expression and protection from racial vilification and discrimination” concluded Geoff.