NSW Senator Sam Dastyari visited Lane Cove last Tuesday evening to address a public forum about proposed changes to racial discrimination laws in Australia.
The forum discussed the recently released report by the Commonwealth Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights reviewing the Racial Discrimination Act and particularly sections 18C and 18D of that Act.
Senator Dastyari explained that “a number of white middle aged media hosts who currently have their own TV shows are fearful that the current laws restrict their freedom of speech.”
Many questions were fielded from the members of the public who attended the forum expressing their concerns about the rise of the ‘extreme right’ in politics around the world and the influence that minority parties such as One Nation are currently having over the Coalition Government.
“We who are progressive in our politics need to stand up against racial discrimination and call it out for what it is – fear mongering” said Senator Dastyari.
“If we don’t fight against racial discrimination, it will become normal to vilify people based on their cultural background”
However, the report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights has no clear direction on what is to happen next.
“After all this time, the right (conservative side of politics) can’t agree what they want to change to section 18C. All they can agree on is that they want to be more racist” commented Senator Dastyari.
The public forum on Tuesday night was the first in a series of public forums to be hosted by Labor in the North Sydney area for 2017.
The next public forum will be on Saturday 25th March to talk about what role renewable energy will play in our future.
Keynote speakers will be NSW Senator Jenny McAllister, Former NSW Labor Premier Kristina Keneally, Board Member of Sustainable Business Australia Ben Waters and Research Director of the Institute of Sustainable Futures (UTS) Chris Dunstan.
The forum will be at the Crows Nest Centre, 2 Ernest Place, Crows Nest from midday to 2pm.
To attend the next forum, RSVP’s can be sent to Nic Wright at [email protected]