'Insult' move condemned

Angered: Fairfield councillor Ken Yeung has called on the federal government to keep section 18C in the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.Picture: Anna Warr

Angered: Fairfield councillor Ken Yeung has called on the federal government to keep section 18C in the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.Picture: Anna Warr

CONTROVERSIAL plans to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 have angered Fairfield councillor Ken Yeung.

The section makes it unlawful to publicly "offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate" a person on racial or ethnic grounds.

But the federal Attorney-General George Brandis said in March that Australians "have a right to be bigots" when he announced the federal government's planned changes to the act.

The statement angered Cr Yeung who told councillors at a council meeting on April 29 he wanted to block the change.

"As Fairfield city is one of the most migrant-populated cities, and we're proud of being multicultural, it's important for our council to defend the respect of ethnicity and to bring this message to our community," he told councillors.

"Therefore, I ask that the mayor Frank Carbone represent our council and residents by writing to the Prime Minister Tony Abbott about our opposition of such an amendment."

All councillors backed Cr Yeung's motion.

He told the Champion that when he first arrived in Australia 20 years ago he was a victim of racial taunts.

"I was only a child but a random man came up to me and said 'You're Asian, you're rubbish'," he said. "Although we have section 18C in place we still experience racial insults. You can imagine what'll happen without it."

Cr Yeung said if the section was removed from the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 it would open the gates to racism.

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