Victorian Multicultural Commission chair George Lekakis explains the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act
03 March 2009
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We also have the contentious issue of the racial and religious tolerance act and particular elements organising themselves to criticise that, but we thought it was amazing that we’re the only state in the whole of the world that had vilification, anti-vilification legislation but not just on racial grounds but on religious grounds. And I was there on the night that it passed through the house, and across me was somebody who I knew very well at the time, who was with the One Hanson party. A former Moorabbin councillor, Councillor Alan Salter. He was sitting on one side of the – this is at three in the morning – and I was sitting on the other.
And we noticed parliament and the way in which the votes were taken. But that was - there were critics of that. And obviously there will be, people feel that they’ve got license to vilify and it set – it set a good benchmark in the community. And I always used to say as ECC chair at the time, if the AFL can do it, we can do it. If they can set the rules for what happens on the ground of a football ground, and how players should interact with – and respect one another, well we can do that as a community. And we held firm on that view and that legislation passed.