Senator O'Neill congratulates St Clare's students

Member of St Clare's Human Rights Group, Kenneth Tsang with group coordinator Phillip Chalmers, Ray Hurst and NSW Senator, Deborah O'Neill.

Member of St Clare's Human Rights Group, Kenneth Tsang with group coordinator Phillip Chalmers, Ray Hurst and NSW Senator, Deborah O'Neill.

NSW Senator Deborah O'Neill this week congratulated the students in the St Clare's High School Human Rights Group for their hard work and concerted effort to join with the community to force the back down by the Abbott Government on its proposed changes to racial discrimination laws.

"These changes would have made it possible for extreme cases of racial vilification and hate speech to take place without legal repercussions and the students from St Clare's didn't think that was a just or fair position for this government to take," Senator O'Neill said.

"Section 18c is not about stopping debate or enforcing 'political correctness'- it's about ensuring a safe community and stopping extreme cases of racial vilification and hate speech.

"George Brandis' proposed changes would have made it perfectly legal for someone to publicly humiliate someone about their race.

"This is just not on in a modern Australia, and the community has stood together and rejected these changes.

"Hundreds of local councils, including Greater Taree City Council, moved motions against these changes, thousands of Australians have signed petitions, or marched in rallies against racial vilification and today we stand together united in victory," Senator O'Neill added.

The St Clare's Human Rights Group prepared a submission to represent their concerns about the proposed amendments, they launched a website and an online campaign in April to promote and seek support for their petition and submission. The group's submission highlighted its "concerns of the amendment, from the neglect of the psychological and mental aspects of racism, to the exemptions which allow journalists and politicians to deliberately launch factually incorrect and untruthful attacks on race."

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