Act now to save the Racial Discrimination Act


What is the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA)?

The RDA is a law passed in 1975 by the Whitlam government to make sure everyone in Australia was treated equally and given the same opportunities – regardless of their background. In Australia, the Racial Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to do or say things that “offend, insult or humiliate” a person due to their race, ethnicity, colour or nationality, while protecting genuine artistic, scientific and academic expression, and accurate journalism.

Changes to the Act

For the first time in almost 20 years, the Australian Government intends to make changes to the Act. In March 2014, Attorney-General George Brandis released draft changes to the RDA arguing that the proposed laws “are the strongest protections against racism that have ever appeared in any Commonwealth Act.” When talking about his proposed changes to the RDA, Brandis also claimed that Australians have “the right to be bigots”.

Amnesty International outlines the changes to the Act here:

“If Mr Brandis’ changes are adopted, saying racist things will only be unlawful if it causes a person to fear physical harm and/or encourages others to be hateful.

Even racist comments that reach this high benchmark will be excused if they’re made in the public domain (like, in the media).

The reality is, these changes will make our race hate laws so narrow, they’ll be effectively useless.

This will have a profound negative impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other ethnic minorities who regularly experience racism and hate speech.”

Amnesty International campaign

Amnesty International believes that “everyone should be protected from abuse and intimidation based on race or ethnicity. It’s a human right and should be protected under the law.”

They have lodged a submission to the Attorney-General to outline their concerns about the proposed amendments and launched an online petition calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to scrap the proposal.

 Supporting Amnesty International

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Amnesty International, as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

Join with Amnesty International and act now!

Sign the petition to save the Racial Discrimination Act.

“People deserve to be protected from abuse and intimidation based on their race. This is a human right — and it must continue to be protected under the law.”

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