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Wollongong City Council

Position Statements Register

MatterMatter MatterRacial Discrimination Act 1975
Date AdoptedDate Adopted Date Adopted23/06/2014
Date for ReviewDate for Review Date for Review31/03/2018
Responsible OfficerResponsible Officer Responsible OfficerExecutive Officer to Lord Mayor
DivisionDivision DivisionOffice of General Manager + Executive
Position StatementPosition Statement Position Statement
Wollongong City Council –
  1. Affirms the fundamental importance of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
  2. Recognises the Act provides protection from offensive behaviour because of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, reflecting the spirit and intent of protection as outlined in “the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” Article 12, namely – No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
  3. Urges all levels of Government to combat bigotry at every opportunity and comply with the expectations of Article 2 of “the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” namely - Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
  4. Requests the Federal Attorney General to withdraw the Draft Exposure Amendment to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and Wollongong City Council communicate accordingly to convey its position as outlined above.
  5. Reaffirms the Charter of the City of Wollongong, and a Briefing be held to outline opportunities to review and update the Charter.
  6. Call on the Federal Government and all Members of Parliament to work towards and start the process of developing a Bill of Rights for Australia.
Background/HistoryBackground/History Background/History
Notice of Motion - Cr David Brown
The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (RD Act) was enacted in a show of bipartisanship between Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser.  The objective of this law was to protect the community from hate speech and from racial, religious and cultural intolerance.  It has been considered good law for almost four decades. The Federal Government signalled its intention to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.  The Federal Attorney General, Senator George Brandis, released an exposure draft of amendments to the Act.  The proposed changes will water down the key provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act in a way which may render the law ineffective. Wollongong City is a harmonious multicultural community and Wollongong City Council is committed to ensuring that it remains that way.  Our community diversity is celebrated in Wollongong 2022 – our Community Strategic Plan. On 22 March 2004 Council unanimously adopted the Charter of the City of Wollongong that reads: “We the people of Wollongong are determined: • to ensure the right of all our community to enjoy equal rights and be treated with equal respect, regardless of colour, race, ethnicity, creed or religion; • to support an immigration policy wholly non-discriminatory on grounds of colour, race, ethnicity, creed or religion; • to support the process of reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the context of redressing their profound social and economic disadvantage; • to maintain Wollongong as a culturally diverse tolerant and open society, united by an overriding commitment to our nation and its democratic institutions and values; • to denounce racial intolerance in any form as incompatible with the kind of community we are and want to be. And to these ends we will: • actively promote the benefits of a cohesive, multicultural society; • support the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation’s vision for a united Australia and local declarations of reconciliation with indigenous peoples; • promote access and equity in service provision for all members of the community; • address wherever possible the special needs of disadvantaged groups. City of Wollongong” The campaign to oppose possible repeal of section 18C has been led by community groups in a non-partisan way and to date approximately 50 Councils nationally have endorsed a similar motion and more are actively considering the issue