CEH Co-manager surprised Andrew Bolt consulted on changes to the Racial Discrimination Act

It was revealed on February 1 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) the Federal Government sought the input of the columnist Andrew Bolt when it was seeking to change the act in 2011

The cabinet documents revealed by the ABC on Monday were found in a second-hand, locked filing cabinet on sale at an ex-government furniture business. The documents are a range of government files marked ‘top secret’ and cover a range of decisions and actions taken by five successive Australian Federal Governments.

“We are puzzled by the revelation that the federal government consulted with a journalist who the Federal Court has ruled breached the Act, and puts his views on equal footing as indigenous groups and other ethnic groups when seeking to water down this legislation,” Alison Coelho Co-manager of the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health said today.

“Andrew Bolt often uses his various media platforms to target individuals and groups in our society whose health and well-being is harmed by discrimination on a daily basis. We are shocked that the government would want approval from someone hostile towards elements of the legislation and also convicted of writing an article that breached it,” She said.

Section 18C of The Racial Discrimination Act makes it illegal to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate someone on the basis of their ethnicity, race or colour.

“The government should be concerned with refugee and migrant communities who are protected by the act, who face discrimination,” she said.

“We are saddened by this revelation, and we encourage the current coalition federal government, to focus concern on the real health and wellbeing effects that racism in our society causes. Systemic racism has a deep impact on our society, which we see in our work, reducing this social stigma should be the only priority when discussing the Racial Discrimination Act,” she said.

The Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. They do this by working with services from the health, community and local government to help improve the way they engage with their clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds


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