Anti-Discrimination Exposure Draft -submission

In response to the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 as presented on the website, I submitted the following as a needed addition to the proposed Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012.

17 December 2012

To the Chair of the Senate Committee for Legal and Constitutional Issues

Federal Parliament of Australia

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please find below the proposed extra clause needed in the proposed bill to make it clear that people may engage in dialogue, debate and critique documents and public statements without being accused of being racists or vilifying people. Your office may well desire to improve the suggested wording which has been shown to a barrister at my end.

An extra clause is needed under Division 4, subdivision D – Other exceptions

“Comments either oral or written made in the legitimate pursuit of academic, religious, philosophical, political enquiry or evaluative commentary in respect of religious writings, academic research or on any other statements made in books, journals, media or any other publicly available printed material, are deemed to be exempt from the Act provided that such freedoms of discourse both oral and written are not discriminatory under the terms of the Act and are consistent with the relevant provisions of the human rights instruments under Division 2, Section 6, Sub-sections 32-33 of the Act and are consistent with the expressed and implied freedoms included in the Australian Constitution”.

I am happy to engage in any issue which may arise from this.

Yours faithfully,   John Harrower OAM  Bishop of Tasmania

See my earlier submission, here.

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