Today I spoke in Parliament to oppose any further changes to the Racial Discrimination Act that would allow hate speech in Australia.


Tony Burke: Racist extremists don't represent Australia: Click on the links to view it online.

In recent days there has been a calming in a lot of the public debate from national and state leaders in terms of how we discuss the diversity of Australia.

That’s welcomed, and it’s important, and it’s essential.

At the same time there has been a rise in a number of fringe racist groups.

Groups complaining and protesting against Australians of Muslim background.

The same complaints they would have made and the same people who a few years ago were complaining about people of African background.

Twenty years ago about people of Asian background.

Before that complaining about people of Italian and Greek background.

People who try to cover themselves in one quarter of the Australian flag and who will never be heard singing the second verse of our national anthem.

I say to those people who are affronted, offended, and hurt by the hate speech: just as violent extremists don’t represent you, racist extremists do not represent the rest of Australia either.

It is too short an ambition for Australia to simply say we are a tolerant nation.

We don’t simply tolerate diversity, we welcome diversity, we thrive on diversity, we are enriched and strengthened by diversity.

We do not need more racist hate speech.

I urge those people in this place and in the other place who still wish to weaken the Racial Discrimination Act and 18C to realise the last thing this nation needs is a rise in racist hate speech.

We are a nation where the world has come to live and we are better for it.