Why we don’t need another Race Discrimination Commissioner
With Tim Soutphommasane set to finish up his role of Race Discrimination Commissioner on August 19, there are calls for the role to be left vacant.
As the search rolls on for someone to supersede him, some say the role has an inadvertently counterproductive and self-defeating impact when it comes to weeding out discrimination. The argument being mounted is that it fuels divisiveness and racial segregation, rather than remedying it.
This has lead Morgan Begg from the Institute of Public Affairs to call for the role to be left unfilled with Soutphommasane’s departure.
“We don’t need this divisive role,” says Begg.
“Between 1999 and 2004, the role was left vacant and was filled in an acting capacity by the other commissioners. There is no reason that can’t happen again.”
“I would argue there is no compulsion legally speaking on the government to fill the position.”
It’s thought the $346,000 taxpayer-funded role could dissolve without issue. If the job vanished tomorrow, nobody would know the difference, according to some commentators.
“That’s because the role serves no substantive function. It is merely to pester the people, to tell people that they’re too racist, or too tell businesses that their boardrooms are too white,” says Begg.
“So let’s give the money to the farmers or someone who needs it,” says Michael McLaren.
“We could give it to someone else who sees racism and a racist around every corner, or we could bite the bullet and leave the post vacant.”
“And better still, let that be a first step in a long game that ends with the complete dissolve of the Australian Human Rights Commission.”
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