Author: lydia-shelly

Weakening race-hate laws

The Racial Discrimination Act 1975  makes it against the law for people to treat you unfairly because of your race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status. The Australian Government under the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull, are attempting to water-down section 18C of the Act which would further expose minority communities to discrimination and hate speech. This would include the Australian Muslim community. The Keating Government in 1995 introduced Section 18C of the Act, making it unlawful to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person based on their race or ethnicity. Former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, also supported the push to repeal section 18C. Instead of championing the rights of those who are regularly exposed to discrimination and racism, our Government supports the notion espoused by the Attorney-General George Brandis; that is that “people do have a right to be bigots”. Many supporters who wish to water down or repeal section 18C mischievously assert that the Act is an obstacle to free speech. This is baseless and without any merit whatsoever. Section 18D of the Act says that the following things are not against the law if they are “done reasonably and in good faith” in: an artistic work or performance – for example, a play in which racially offensive attitudes are expressed by a character. a statement, publication, discussion or debate made for genuine academic or...

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Legal Aid matters

Legal Aid was set up by the Federal Government in 1973, recognising that: “…one of the basic causes of the inequality of citizens before the laws is the absence of adequate and comprehensive legal aid arrangements throughout Australia … The ultimate object of the Government is that legal aid be readily and equally available to citizens everywhere in Australia and that aid be extended for advice and assistance of litigation as well as for litigation in all legal categories and in all courts.” (Senator the Hon Lionel Murphy AO QC, Attorney General) Many Australians assume that if they find themselves with a legal problem, that they will automatically receive a lawyer through legal aid if they cannot afford a lawyer. This assumption is incorrect and today, in some cases, even people living below the poverty line are often judged too wealthy to qualify for scant legal aid funding. The crisis in funding is a direct result of funding neglect and cuts by the Federal Government, which has impacted severely on every Australian’s ability to access legal aid services. The situation is so dire, that in Victoria alone, over 11, 000 people were denied legal aid in the last five years alone. The Law Council of Australia President, Stuart Clark AM, said: “The picture is very similar across the country. The plight of those people denied legal aid is a...

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Justice for Indigenous people

Justice for Indigenous people

As Australian Muslims, we have an obligation to support the struggle of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters. We walk on the land that was violently colonised; which was never ceded, without any understanding of the importance of kinship and country to Aboriginal people. We speak about the injustice suffered by our Aboriginal brothers and sisters as if it is historical “fact”; a small blot on the pages of our country’s history. We fail to understand that injustice is alive and well in modern day Australia. Australia is only “advanced” or “fair” for some Australians, according to the Human Rights...

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Our First Nations People

The idea that Australia was peacefully “settled” is a myth. The foundations of this country were built on racism and on dispossessing the rightful custodians of the land.   The reality is that there were frontline wars and resistance to the violence and sexual exploitation waged by the British against the First Nations people. The racism experienced by our First Nations brothers and sisters is not just a historical hiccup that happened in 1788; it has continued up until today.     Australian Muslims need to appreciate that when we are advocating for equality and Islamophobia, we also need to support the...

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Making your Will, a must for all

Many Australian Muslims are surprised to learn that according to a narration by Abdullah bin Umar, Prophet Muhammad (s) stated that “It is not permissible for any Muslim who has something to will to stay for two nights without having his last Will and testament written and kept ready with him.” Every Australian Muslim should have a Will prepared that strictly adheres to both the Australian laws regarding Wills and Estates Law and the Shari’ah. If you follow sound Estate planning principles, every person should have at least three documents. A Will, which sets out what happens to your...

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