The Kimberley Land Council has applauded a decision overnight of the Senate to throw out changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
KLC Chief Executive Officer Nolan Hunter said the changes were unnecessary and would have created opportunities for discrimination against Australia’s most vulnerable.
“I welcome the news that the Senate has blocked the proposed changes to 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act,” Mr Hunter said.
“Aboriginal people are among the most marginalised groups in Australia and this legislation would have only exacerbated the discrimination that our people already face.
“Australia prides itself on being a tolerant country, but that tolerance should not extend to protecting the cowards who attack people on racially motivated grounds.”
Mr Hunter said the outcome in the Senate reflects the views of the wider Australian public.
“There was no need for and no benefit from changing a part of the Racial Discrimination Act which has been working well for over 20 years,” he said.
“Now we need the Australian Government to rule out returning to this reactionary and misguided policy in the future.”
The government had sought to replace the words “offend, insult or humiliate” in section 18C with the term “harass”, significantly weakening protections against hate speech and vilification in Australia.