Statement on freedom of speech inquiry

Date: 
Tuesday 28 February 2017

The Commission welcomes the release of the freedom of expression report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.

We welcome the Committee’s recommendation to support, strengthen and develop education programs that address racism in Australian society and improve community understanding of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth).

The Commission remains of the view that section 18C and 18D of the RDA, as interpreted by the Courts, strike an appropriate balance between freedom of expression and protection from racial vilification.

The report of the Committee includes a range of recommendations to reform the complaint handling process of the Australian Human Rights Commission, including those reforms proposed by the Commission.

We look forward to engaging with the Government and Parliament on progressing legislative reforms that can further strengthen and improve the complaint handling process, while ensuring access to justice.