Monday, 26 October 2009

Call Jenny Macklin's Office and - while you're at it - the Federal Attorney-General's. Phone numbers below. Tell them what you think.

On 2007, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 was suspended so that the Howard Government could have its wilful way with Aboriginal policy and people in the Northern Territory under the Northern Territory Emergency Response, commonly known as The Intervention.  The Racial Discrimination Act is the legislative means in Australia of giving effect in respect of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Rudd Government continued this disgraced Howard Government policy with little or no alteration when it came to power on 24 November, 2007.  The NTER was bad public policy under Howard.  It remains bad public policy under Rudd.  In fact, elements of the policy - such as SIHIP - are failed public policy.  The Rudd Government continued the malignant suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act.
There have only been three times that the Racial Discrimination Act has been suspended from applying since it was passed in 1975 – in relation to the Native Title Amendment Act, in relation to the Hindmarsh Island Bridge dispute and in relation to the Northern Territory intervention. Each time it has been repealed has been so that it cannot provide protection to the most vulnerable within the community.  Quoted from here.
The Rudd Government promised in May this year that the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 would be reinstated in October this.

So here we are.  It is Monday 26 October, 2009.  There has been nary a word this month about the promised reinstatement.  So I did the obvious thing.  
I rang the office of the Minister, Jenny Macklin, in Canberra.  
Please note her phone number is 
02 6277 7560
Please note that telephone protocol is not high on the list of concerns in Macklin's Canberra office.  You don't get names in full nor do you get titles, nor do you get put through to specialist people.  But please persist.  If you don't get a satisfactory reply - as I didn't - it is still a reply.

It was suggested that I call the Attorney-General's office because the A-G was responsible for the legislation.  They helpfully provided me with the number of the Attorney-General's office:
02 6277 7300
I was put through to an Adviser called Liz.  I asked for her full name.  Liz refused - in spite of the fact that at all times I gave my name in full - first name and last.  Courtesies are not considered worth returning in Labor offices, it seems.  I was told that Macklin's office had carriage of the legislation and that it was being worked on and it would be part of a package that was to come before Parliament in the Spring Session.  I was then patched back to Macklin's office who could tell me nothing.  Nothing about the package.  Yes, it is being worked on.  Could I speak to someone in the department working on it?  No.  

For your information, dear Networkers, the remainder of the Spring Session of Parliament is this week beginning 26 October.  Then the next two weeks are breaks.  This leaves two remaining weeks in the Spring Session namely the weeks beginning 16 and 23 November.

Word has come to me  from that well known person "an informed source" while writing this post that if the legislation makes it, it is likely to be on the last day of the Spring Session.  This means that if the usual route through the House of Representatives to the Senate is taken, we could be well into 2010 before the legislation is finally passed.  


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