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PostSubject: Hooray Tim Sout....... is going.   Hooray Tim Sout.......  is going. EmptyMon 06 Aug 2018, 2:48 pm

Quote :
Tim Soutphommasane fires up against MPs and the media
ByRachel Baxendale,

Politicians and the media have been promoting racial division for personal gain, according to outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane.

In an address to the University of Western Sydney’s Whitlam Institute tonight, Dr Soutphommasane will declare “there’s never been a more exciting time to be a dog-whistling politician or a race-baiting commentator in Australia.”

It will be his last major speech before his five-year term as commissioner ends this month.

Ahead of the speech, Dr Soutphommasane took to ABC radio to denounce federal ministers including the Prime Minister for their comments about African gang violence in Victoria, and slamming Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge for expressing concern that Australia is veering towards “a European separatist multicultural model”.

Asked what he meant by saying “race politics is back”, Dr Soutphommasane said: “It means politicians seeking to make partisan gain over race and multicultural issues, and in your introduction you’ve outlined some of the examples of that, the panic and hysteria about African gangs, led by senior federal government ministers and joined in by the Prime Minister.

“We’ve seen debates about multiculturalism with the Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism suggesting that we’re veering towards ethnic separatism and segregation, and then you’ve had open questioning of a non-discriminatory immigration policy, which has been the regime we’ve had since the end of the White Australia policy, and that’s been led by among others, former prime minister Tony Abbott,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

“So if we look at our public debates, there are very clearly examples of race politics being conducted at the moment.”

Asked whether politicians and the media were simply giving voice to genuine concerns in the community, Dr Southphommasane said his issue was not with the subject of the debates, but the way they were being conducted.

“If you look at the African gangs crisis there isn’t a sense of proportion about those debates,” he said.

“Yes, it is the case that Sudanese Australians are over-represented in criminal offending in Victoria, but they’re not the only group that’s over-represented.

“We have Australian-born and New Zealand-born offenders over-represented in crime statistics in Victoria too. The singling out of communities is a source of concern.”

Dr Soutphommasane said politicians needed to offer evidence to back up claims that multiculturalism is failing.

“The evidence shows us very clearly that our multiculturalism is still strong, that the children of migrants outperform the children of Australian-born parents on average, when it concerns education and employment, and on the issue of immigration, it’s one thing to have a debate about numbers, it’s another thing to question whether we should have a value of non-discrimination in place when we conduct our immigration program,” he said.

“We just don’t seem to have the political resolve and leadership to have a mature conversation about this.

“If we’re talking about Sudanese Australians and crime, for example, leaders of Sudanese-Australian communities are very open about acknowledging that there’s a problem with a small number of offenders in their community.

“The problem is you focus only on ethnicity and race, and when you do that, you create division in our community, and we don’t, for example, concentrate on the ethnicity or backgrounds of murderers such as Adrian Bayley or Roger Rogerson or others, but yet we seem to focus very squarely on race or ethnicity if it involves anything involving Sudanese-Australian youth.”

Dr Soutphommasane conceded concern over multiculturalism was not a uniquely Australia phenomenon.

“We know that there’s a resurgence of far-right politics around the world,” he said.

“You look at what’s happening in the United States and the Trump presidency and the implicit endorsement he’s given to neo-Nazis and white nationalists there, you look at what’s happening in Europe, where there are a number of far-right parties now in coalition governments, you look at what’s happened in the UK with the Brexit vote, and Australia is not immune to these global forces.

“Racism and discrimination will most likely exist for as long as we have human imperfection.

“They’re products of fear, of ignorance, of arrogance, and they’re all markers of our humanity, but you’re right as well to highlight the complicated global environment we have, but we should be responding to that global environment from a position of strength, because we are a successful example of a multicultural society, and in the past we’ve had nonpartisan, bipartisan leadership on race issues.

“There’s been an acknowledgment that there’s been too much at stake for race issues to be placed on the political agenda and subject to contest.”

Dr Soutphommasane said Mr Tudge was wrong to say that Australia was veering towards “a European separatist multicultural model”.

“There’s no compelling evidence to demonstrate that that is the case,” he said.

“If you look at the record we have on integration you find that 80 per cent of migrants within ten years of settling in Australia become Australian citizens.

“If you look at some of the suburbs or areas that have been highlighted as pockets of ethnic segregation, you in fact find that there’s no one ethnic or racial group which predominates and you find moreover these are areas that are characterised by rising property prices.

“So you have suggestions not only of segregation but also of ghettoisation in our suburbs. This is compelling evidence that dispels that.”

The Race Discrimination Commissioner said there was strong support for racial equality and multiculturalism in Australia, accusing politicians and the media of being out of touch.

“(If) you think of the intense contest we’ve had over the racial discrimination act, 80 per cent of Australians support the retention of 18C,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

“You have a similar proportion of people who support non-discrimination in how we conduct our immigration policy.

“Close to 85 per cent of people believe that multiculturalism is good for the country, so mainstream Australia is in a good place on these issues.

“Unfortunately it’s just not translating through some of the political leadership and political debates we’re having right now.”

Dr Soutphommasane accused the media of a “monetising of racism”, claiming that sections of the media deliberately run inflammatory headlines because it’s good for sales.

“Just look at what happened last night with Sky News giving a platform to a self-avowed neo-Nazi with a rap sheet that covers arson, aggravated burglary and racial vilification,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

“This is a guy who believes that we should be putting up portraits of Hitler in all of our schools, but yet he enjoys a platform on Sky News.”

Sky News commentators rapidly denounced the decision to give Cottrell a platform last night, and the network issued an apology, saying the interview had been removed from repeat timeslots and online platforms and an investigation was being conducted into the circumstances of Cottrell’s appearance.

Asked to reflect on his time as Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Soutphommasane said he hoped people would look at his record and judge whether he had held people to account for racism in public debates.

He denounced calls from Attorney-General Christian Porter and others for the role of race discrimination commissioner to be refocused.

“I simply see no reason to change things,” he said.

“We have a racial discrimination act. It’s not called the ‘living in harmony act’ or the ‘tread softly on racism act’.

“The suggestions that have been thrown about include a shift to something like the racial harmony commissioner.

“We know that racism exists, and racial discrimination exists. If we can’t name racial discrimination, we’ve got very little hope in fighting it. You can’t eliminate racism through the repetition of the word ‘harmony’.”

Honestly this guy is a fruitcake, the sooner he goes the better of we will all be.
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Hooray Tim Sout.......  is going. Empty
PostSubject: Re: Hooray Tim Sout....... is going.   Hooray Tim Sout.......  is going. EmptyMon 06 Aug 2018, 4:43 pm

I have never heard of him, so checked.

Soutphommasane joined the Australian Labor Party in 1998, aged 15.[5] He later worked on the speechwriting staff of then New South Wales Premier Bob Carr,[5] and in late 2007 he returned from Oxford to work as a research officer in the office of Kevin Rudd during that year's federal election campaign.[ wrote:

Hooray Tim Sout.......  is going. 330px-Tim_Soutphommasane_2015-01
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PostSubject: Re: Hooray Tim Sout....... is going.   Hooray Tim Sout.......  is going. EmptyTue 07 Aug 2018, 9:19 pm

I can't believe you've never come across him.
He was the guy with Triggs from the AHRC that gave Bill Leak a hard time over that Aboriginal cartoon, some say that killed Bill.
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PostSubject: Re: Hooray Tim Sout....... is going.   Hooray Tim Sout.......  is going. EmptySun 12 Aug 2018, 9:36 am

‘Righto, what’s his name then?’

As he winds down his five-year tenure as an Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane is redoubling the political divisiveness that defined his performance in the role. His attitude towards the late cartoonist Bill Leak, against whose famous cartoon about Aboriginal dysfunction in the Northern Territory, published on 4 August, 2016, he tried to generate a campaign of complaint, is a case in point. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald recently, Soutphommosane said, ‘Any suggestion that I targeted Mr Leak is just not borne out by the facts’. This revision of events is not, to borrow Soutphommasane’s own words, borne out by the facts. Soutphommosane made no doubt about his intention to target Leak for drawing that now-famous cartoon. In an interview, coincidentally also in the Herald, only hours after the cartoon was published, Soutphommasane said: ‘Our society shouldn’t endorse racial stereotyping of Aboriginal Australians or any other racial or ethnic group.’ The Herald added that Soutphommasane ‘urged anyone who was offended by it to lodge a complaint under (section 18C of) the Racial Discrimination Act. (Section 18C makes it illegal for anybody to offend, insult, intimidate or humiliate a person based on their race, colour or ethnicity.) Soutphommasane was backed by his boss, then AHRC president Gillian Triggs, who said he had ‘expressed an opinion that a significant number of people would agree that the cartoon by Mr Leak was a racial stereotype of Aboriginal Australians’.

Neither of them explained exactly how the cartoon racially stereotyped Aborigines. In fact, Leak’s cartoon depicted three types of Aborigines: a delinquent dad, a troubled and abandoned kid, and a responsible cop. By depicting two opposing Aboriginal adults, Leak had deliberately avoided the stereotyping the AHRC, led by Soutphmmasane, accused him of doing. The ABC and Fairfax newspapers, as well as the usual gallery of social justice warriors on social media, gave Soutphommasane and Triggs enormous support to generate official complaints. This failed. Three official complaints were lodged, two of them from a couple of indigenous men in Fitzroy Crossing, WA, who were given the necessary paperwork by representatives of the state Aboriginal Legal Service. News Corp, Leak’s employer, made it clear it would strenuously defend the charge. All three complaints were withdrawn three months later.

But this lamentable and futile exercise could easily have been avoided if Triggs and Soutphommasane had invoked section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act. Setting aside the fact that Leak’s cartoon arguably didn’t contravene section 18C anyway, section 18D nevertheless would have been his automatic escape clause – 18D exempts a publication that is made in good faith, is accurate and in the public interest, all of which the cartoon was. Speaking at a subsequent Senate committee hearing, Triggs said she twice asked Leak’s team to write explaining whether the cartoon was in good faith but ‘we received no response’. This too was incorrect. Justin Quill, a member of Leak’s legal team, produced a letter to the AHRC from October, a month before the complaints were withdrawn, specifically stating the cartoon’s ‘good faith’ and ‘public interest’: to promote ‘discussion surrounding problems afflicting youthful offenders in remote Aboriginal communities’. Quill even produced a letter from the AHRC acknowledging receipt of his letter. Senator Ian Macdonald, who questioned Triggs, said: ‘It does seem that it is part of a pattern of blaming everyone else but the commission and its president.’ Leak died four months later, in March 2017, from a heart attack. His widow Goong and many of his friends believe the stress caused by the legal case contributed to his medical condition. By drawing the cartoon, Leak’s intention was to help the most disadvantaged children in Australia today. As anybody who knew him will testify, he was emphatically not racist. To be accused of racism when his intentions were clearly the opposite caused him significant anguish.

Compare Soutphommasane’s response to a dance performance at Melbourne University called Where we Stand.The audience was divided according to their skin colour. White members of the audience were refused entry for the start of the performance and were instead harangued about their supposed privilege in the foyer before finally being allowed in after the show had started.

The Australian asked Soutphommasane a series of questions about this performance’s legality under section 18C but he declined to answer them specifically. Instead, he said Where We Stand is an ‘artistic work and public discussion that is done reasonably and in good faith’.

This is precisely the defence the AHRC neglected to provide Leak. But then again, Leak was advocating personal responsibility regardless of skin colour; Where We Stand was vilifying white people. That Soutphommasane pursued the former and not the latter conforms to the pattern of his tenure: censuring white people for racism against ethnic minorities, even where no such racism existed.

The AHRC’s greatest weapon is the process. It doesn’t need to achieve a conviction to impose a punishment. Being charged under 18C is daunting enough. As the Australian reported in November 2016, defendants of 18C cases had paid a total of $500,000 ‘go away money’ to have the cases dropped during the previous five years. In some instances, the defendants disputed the accusations but found it was easier to pay up than mount a defence.

When Leak appeared before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights’ inquiry into freedom of speech in February 2017, a month before he died, he delivered a robust and emphatic account of the AHRC’s threat to free speech. He said his encounter with the AHRC had had a chilling effect on anybody else who might contemplate defying the prevailing political correct orthodoxy.

‘This isn’t only an abuse of the powers and functions of the Commission, it’s a full-frontal assault on freedom of speech,’ he said. ‘By taking seriously a trivial complaint by a vexatious litigant while ignoring the substance of the cartoon being complained about, the Commission has demonstrated it is more concerned with the imaginary right of people to not be offended than it is with the real human rights of Australia’s most marginalised and vulnerable people.’

Soutphommasane’s failure to grasp this simple truth is proof that he was a failure in the role, and his tenure will be remembered as one that sought to divide, not unite, Australians.
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