Race Discrimination Commission can't wait

The government’s failure to appoint a new Race Discrimination Commissioner is deeply concerning to Labor.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

RACE DISCRIMINATION COMMISSIONER CAN’T WAIT

 

The government’s failure to appoint a new Race Discrimination Commissioner is deeply concerning to Labor.
 
In April, the Attorney-General advertised for the position, with a promise for the appointment to begin from August.
 
It’s nearly October, and no announcement has been made.
 
This position is far too important to be left vacant. It cannot be allowed to become a victim of the current Liberal chaos as so many other important issues have.
 
The government has given no explanation for the delay.
 
If the delay is due to factional infighting over who the new Race Discrimination Commissioner should be, or whether the role should be changed entirely, then the government should own up to it. Why has Attorney-General Christian Porter failed to make an announcement? What is going on?
 
When you have a Liberal Senator claiming there is no racism in Australia, and thus no need for the position at all, there is serious reason to doubt that the government is doing the right thing behind the scenes.
 
Labor will not accept any downgrade of the position of the Race Discrimination Commissioner, whose role is currently legislated as part of the Racial Discrimination Act.
 
We would not be surprised if this government attempted to attack the role of the Race Discrimination Commissioner, given the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government’s history of repeated attempts at destroying Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
 
We call on the government to act immediately, and announce a new Race Discrimination Commissioner without delay. This cannot wait any longer.
 
WEDNESDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2018