Race Discrimination Commissioner’s role likely to change

May 29, 2018

The pending departure of Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane has triggered moves within the government to rename and redefine his job so it cannot be used to promote racial division.

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi would rather the Human Rights Commission was abolished and has moved a Bill in the Senate to achieve that outcome. Without more Conservative Party senators helping him to form the balance of power in the Senate, it will be difficult to take the case for abolition further.

The Australian reports, if the change goes ahead, Dr Soutphommasane’s replacement could be known as the Community Relations Commissioner in order to refocus the $346,000 job on easing community tensions

The government’s decision to examine the name change, which was suggested last week by Human Rights Commission president Roslyn Croucher, comes soon after it rejected a push to leave the post vacant on the ground that it led to racial division.

This comes at a time when the role of the commission could also be affected by a report on how to protect the right to religious freedom being considered by Attorney-General Christian Porter.

Senator Bernardi has told Ben Fordham on Sky News whatever happens, common sense needs to prevail.  

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