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Should The Racial Discrimination Act Be Reformed?

1811 words - 7 pages

Should the racial discrimination act be reformed on the grounds of upholding free speech, as is currently claimed by the Abbott government?
We are now in a time where the right to free speech could mean more to a country’s own development than ever before. Our nation is quickly becoming more and more apposed to one’s own opinion (especially in the political sector) whether it be bigoted or non-bigoted. Australia is well known as one of the most culturally diverse and accepting nations in the world. Though we may be more accepting than most, we are still in the midst of racism, and other culturally diversities that can come across as controversial to the public sphere. The Abbott Government is currently trying to amend certain sections of the Discrimination Act; which will give people freedom of speech when it comes to racial vilification. The Abbott government have taken a very J. S. Mills approach when it comes to freedom of speech; and it is sparking a lot of negativity aimed back at them. But, I feel that a lot of this is due to gross public persuasion and the honest fear of being viewed as a racist in the eyes of the public and by law. In regards to that, if they do reach the point of reforming these certain sections; people will have the right to come to their own moral justification of what they believe in.
Australia from early origins was once an infamously proud white-power, anti-black country. “A White Australia was the national slogan, which was seen as the way to make the nation pure, healthy and progressive” 2. When the shipping fleets arrived in heavy numbers way back in 1770, the invading colonies didn’t see the aborigines as equals. This was due to their social structure, way of life and their enigmatic religious beliefs i.e. the dream time. To the settlers, the aborigines were an uncivilised and uneducated society; which gave them some sort of skewed morality behind them thinking it was just to claim the indigenous land. Our nation’s darkest time in the sense of inequality was certainly the ‘Stolen Generation’. This time saw aboriginal children stripped from their parents and brought up within the white society. Aboriginals were being heavily scrutinised for the colour of their skin; they had little rights and even less say in a wildly white dominated land. Even into the 20th Century, Australia’s “policy was to exclude non-white immigrants” as “its sense of identity was tied to whiteness” 2. Though, all of this may be haunting that our government saw this as politically correct at some stage in history. It was what people were brought up to believe, this movement of racial discrimination highlights just how powerful public opinion in a society can be. People back then didn’t see aboriginals or any other ‘foreign race’ as people, they saw them as a sub-standard of human being. This is why they were associated with derogatory titles and tarnished with ill-spoken names. The “White Australia Policy was abandoned in the 1960s, and...

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