OHPI attended the conference RDA@40 in Sydney on February 19 and 20, 2015 organised the Australian Human Rights Commission. The conference was held to mark the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Racial Discriminate Act (RDA), and was a part of year long celebrations being planned by the Commission.
The conference looked at both the legal and social impact that the Act has had on Australian society, its symbolic and legal powers, its limitations, as well how to modify it to meet new challenges such as cyberracism.
In fact, an entire session was dedicated at the conference to the growing problem of cyber-racism. Two of the three speakers at the session belonged to the CRaCR project – an academic study being conducted into cyberracism in Australia jointly by the Deakin University and the University of Technology Sydney. The CRaCR project is an official supporter of OHPI’s online hate reporting tool fightagainsthate.com, and they plan to use our tool to collect and report online hate content.
The conference also looked the current government’s efforts to amend section 18C of the RDA, and the campaign conducted by Civil Rights organisations to denounce them. OHPI played a crucial role in the campaign last year making a submission to the government on how the section was particularly critical, if we were to maintain any negotiating power on hate speech against global social media giants such as Facebook. Also discussed during the conference was the successful campaign conducted by Aboriginal rights groups and OHPI to get Facebook to pages promoting racist Aboriginal Memes.