It is SUPPOSED to be Harmony Day

March 21st, 2014  |  Published in Asylum; Refugees, Race(ism)

It is supposed to be Harmony Day (21 March); a day of cultural respect.

But it’s not very harmonious – given the treatment of asylum seekers.

harmonyI said the same last year, but little has changed – apart from the name of the department responsible for processing asylum seekers from DIAC (Department of Immigration and Citizenship) to DIBP (Department of Immigration and Border Protection).

Indeed, we have gone from bad to worse, with our tow-back boats, and military manoeuvrings, and disregard for human rights,  although that would have seemed inconceivable this time last year.


But our government is looking at repealing (or at least substantially weakening) section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

I know there’s seen to be tension with freedom of speech.sea of hands

But, who needs that sort of freedom? To offend, insult, humiliate, or intimidate others on the basis of their race? Our government’s media buddies?

And what about the targets of racism? What happens to their freedoms? Nothing like a bit of harassment and vilification to keep a person quiet.

Whose freedom are we talking about here? For what sort of speech?

I’ll stick with voices I trust on this –  Tim Soutphommasane (Race Discrimination Commissioner, click here), and Ken Wyatt (Indigenous Coalition MP, click here) and The Human Rights Law Centre, and many other community organisations including Amnesty International and Oxfam and the Lowitja Institute and the Refugee Council of Australia,  all of whom advocate retention of racial vilification protections.

I know it’s not going to happen tomorrow, but what do you suppose are the chances of living long enough to experience ALL Australians living in harmony, and showing respect to asylum seekers?…Joan Beckwith.


Simple, harmonious (and inclusive) opportunities

Not too much to ask


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One comment on “It is SUPPOSED to be Harmony Day”

  1. Here’s a link to an article in “The Age” a couple of days after this post, about the experience of migrants in Australia. Not an encouraging report card as far as racism is concerned.

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