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Thursday, 11 September 2003
Page: 19967


Mr Laurie Ferguson asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 13 May 2003:

(1) For the last 3 years for which data is available, how many formal complaints were received by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission alleging cases of: (a) racial discrimination, (b) racial vilification and (c) discrimination based on religion or belief.

(2) In relation to alleged cases of: (a) racial discrimination and (b) racial vilification, what proportion of complaints were submitted by (i) persons from a non-English speaking background, (ii) Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders and (iii) persons from an English speaking background.

(3) In relation of alleged cases of racial vilification, how many complaints were made against the media and, of these, how many involved: (a) commercial radio stations, (b) commercial television stations, (c) public radio and television outlets, (d) community broadcasting stations, (e) main-stream newspapers and (f) ethnic newspapers.

(4) Over the same period, how many complaints alleging racial discrimination, racial vilification or religious discrimination: (a) were the subject of attempted conciliation, (b) were successfully resolved and (c) resulted in the payment of damages or another form of compensation to the complainant.


Mr Williams (Attorney-General) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) For the last 3 years for which data is available, how many formal complaints were received by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission alleging cases of: (a) racial discrimination, (b) racial vilification and (c) discrimination based on religion or belief.

Complaints of racial discrimination and racial vilification are made under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. Complaints of religious discrimination are made under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986.

Based on information provided by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission:

1999/2000

In the 1999/2000 reporting year:

(a) 299 complaints of racial discrimination were received by the Commission under the Racial Discrimination Act,

(b) 75 were complaints of racial vilification, and

(c) 13 complaints of discrimination on the ground of religion in employment were received under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act.

2000/2001

In the 2000/2001 reporting year:

(a) 267 complaints of racial discrimination were received by the Commission under the Racial Discrimination Act,

(b) 118 were complaints of racial vilification, and

(c) 20 complaints of discrimination on the ground of religion in employment were received under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act.

2001/2002

In the 2001/2002 reporting year:

(a) 186 complaints of racial discrimination were received by the Commission under the Racial Discrimination Act,

(b) 50 were complaints of racial vilification, and

(c) 12 complaints of discrimination on the ground of religion in employment were received under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act.

(2) In relation to alleged cases of: (a) racial discrimination and (b) racial vilification, what proportion of complaints were submitted by (i) persons from a non-English speaking background, (ii) Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders and (iii) persons from an English speaking background.

1999/2000

(a) In the 1999/2000 reporting year, of the 299 complaints received under the Racial Discrimination Act:

(i) 164 were from people of a non-English speaking background,

(ii) 63 were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander,

(iii) 57 were English speaking background, and

(iv) 15 were unknown (the complainants chose not provide this information).

2000/2001

In the 2000/2001 reporting year, of the 267 complaints received under the Racial Discrimination Act:

(i) 154 were from people of a non-English speaking background,

(ii) 60 were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and

(iii) 53 were English speaking background.

2001/2002

In the 2001/2002 reporting year, of the 186 complaints received under the Racial Discrimin-ation Act:

(i) 109 were from people of a non-English speaking background,

(ii) 48 were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and

(iii) 29 were English speaking background.

(b) There is no separate data on the above categories collected for racial vilification complaints.

(3) In relation of alleged cases of racial vilification, how many complaints were made against the media and, of these, how many involved: (a) commercial radio stations, (b) commercial television stations, (c) public radio and television outlets, (d) community broadcasting stations, (e) mainstream newspapers and (f) ethnic newspapers.

1999/2000

In the 1999/2000 reporting year, of the 75 complaints of racial vilification received:

11 were in the area of media,

three were in the area of public debate, and

four were in the area of entertainment.

(a) to (f) These complaints were generally against a mix of commercial radio stations, television stations and various print media. There is no data collected outlining the specific number of complaints per type of media category.

2000/2001

In the 2000/2001 reporting year, of the 118 complaints of racial vilification received:

28 were in the area of media, and

one was in the area of entertainment.

(a) to (f) These complaints were generally against a mix of commercial radio stations, television stations and various print media. There is no data collected outlining the specific number of complaints per type of media category.

2001/2002

In the 2001/2002 reporting year, of the 50 complaints of racial vilification received:

16 were in the area of media, and

two were in the area of public debate.

(a) to (f) These complaints were generally against a mix of commercial radio stations, television stations and various print media. There is no data collected outlining the specific number of complaints per type of media category.

(4) Over the same period, how many complaints alleging racial discrimination, racial vilification or religious discrimination: (a) were the subject of attempted conciliation, (b) were successfully resolved and (c) resulted in the payment of damages or another form of compensation to the complainant.

1999/2000

In the 1999/2000 reporting year, a total of 599 complaints under the Racial Discrimination Act were finalised (note that this figure includes complaints lodged in previous years). Of these matters:

(a) 339 complaints were the subject of attempted conciliation,

(b) 304 complaints were successfully resolved by conciliation, and

(c) 264 complaints received financial compensation as an outcome.

Thirty-five complaints were not resolved through conciliation. The majority of matters resolved related to a large number of complaints of similar fact against a State and its historical employment practices concerning Indigenous peoples.

Of the total 599 complaints finalised, 95 complaints of racial vilification were finalised. Of these:

(a) 45 were the subject of attempted conciliation,

(b) 30 matters were resolved, and

(c) six were not able to be resolved through conciliation.

There is no data available for 1999/2000 regarding religious complaints.

2000/2001

In the 2000/2001 reporting year, a total of 405 complaints under the Racial Discrimination Act were finalised. Of these matters:

(a) 209 complaints were the subject of attempted conciliation,

(b) 170 complaints were successfully resolved by conciliation, and

(c) 153 complaints received financial compensation as an outcome.

39 complaints were not able to be resolved through conciliation. The majority of matters resolved related to a large number of complaints of similar fact against a State and its historical employment practices concerning Indigenous peoples.

Of the total 405 complaints finalised, 76 complaints were of racial vilification. Of these:

(a) 26 were the subject of attempted conciliation,

(b) nine of these matters were resolved, and

(c) 17 were not able to be resolved through conciliation.

In the 2000/2001 reporting year, 17 complaints alleging discrimination on the ground of religion under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act were finalised. One matter was resolved through conciliation with non financial terms.

2001/2002

In the 2001/2002 reporting year, 258 complaints under the Racial Discrimination Act were finalised. Of these matters:

(a) 97 complaints were the subject of attempted conciliation,

(b) 38 of these complaints were successfully resolved by conciliation, and

(c) 17 complaints received financial compensation as an outcome.

59 complaints were not able to be resolved through conciliation.

Of the total 258 complaints finalised, 118 were complaints of racial vilification. Of these:

(a) 56 were the subject of attempted conciliation,

(b) 19 matters being resolved, and

(c) 37 were not able to be resolved through conciliation.

In the 2001/2002 reporting year, a total of 15 complaints alleging discrimination on the ground of religion under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act were finalised. One matter was resolved through conciliation with financial compensation as an outcome.