Submission: In response to the Inquiry into Racial vilification law in NSW

In the year of 2011-2012, 6.1% of Redfern Legal Centre's clients identified as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and 30.6% were of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. 

Our clients bring to us their life experience of discrimination and vilification. Racial profiling and stereotyping continues to influence how they are provided with services, education, employment, access to premises and policing, as well as how they are treated by neighbours and others in the community. 

RLC's view in summary

RLC welcomes the NSW Law and Justice Committee's inquiry into the criminal racial vilification provisions in the Anti-Discrimination Act (NSW) 1977 (ADA). However, we submit that a complete review of the RDA should be undertaken as there have been significant developments in anti-discrimination laws in other states and territories and the Federal government is now attempting to consolidate Federal laws. 

RLC is of the view that significant improvements can be made to section 20D of the ADA and also to section 20C. Our recommendations are as follows:

  • The need to obtain prior consent of the Attorney General to commerce criminal proceedings at section 20D(2) should be removed. 
  • The President of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB) should be empowered to refer a matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions without the requirement that a formal complaint is received. 
  • The current 28 day time limit for referrals from the ADB to the Director of Public Prosecutions should be extended. 
  • The element of 'incite' referred to in section 20C(1) should be removed and replaced with the word express or promote. 
  • The provisions in section 20D(1)(a) and (b) relating to the means of incitement should be removed.