AUSTRALIAN of the Year Adam Goodes has gone public with his concerns about the Abbott government’s plan to loosen race-hate protections.
The Sydney star, formerly of Horsham, who has experienced racial vilification on the football field, posted a copy of changes to the Racial Discrimination Act on social media on Wednesday, asking what other people made of the so-called freedom-of-speech amendments.
‘’It means it’s open season for bigots. Even the ‘good faith’ provision is going,’’ replied Liz Burke, a follower of Goodes on Twitter.
Goodes responded: ‘’Yes it’s something you have to keep reading to fully believe isn’t it. Hmmm.’’
Goodes also expressed concern that the new section four of the draft bill was so broad as to be a ‘loophole’ for other protections, including provisions against ‘intimidation and vilification’.
The Human Rights Law Centre has also strongly criticised section four.
Executive director Hugh de Kretser said the biggest concern was the ‘gaping hole’ introduced by the public discourse exemption.
Goodes was awarded Australian of the Year for 2014 in January for his leadership in the fight against racism.
It came after he was recognised with the NSW Australian of the Year award last year for his commitment to community programs and for establishing and co-chairing the Goodes-O’Loughlin Foundation, which works with indigenous communities.