ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell has made a public submission to the federal government arguing against any changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.
The Abbott government previously announced plans to repeal section 18C of the act, which makes it unlawful to offend, insult or humiliate on the grounds of race or ethnicity. But Mr Corbell said the ACT government, in its submission, made it clear it did not support the proposed changes.
''The ACT government is committed to promoting tolerance and inclusiveness in our community, so that all residents of the ACT are able to feel welcome, recognised and valued for the contribution they make to this city.''
The attorney general said certain changes, such as removing a test of whether a statement was reasonable, honest and made in good faith, ignored the responsibilities that come with free speech.
''If adopted, this would result in a significant deterioration in the ability of the law to protect Australians from the deeply personal harm of racial abuse,'' he said. ''The sheer breadth of the exceptions clause sends an inappropriate message that an individual who wishes to vilify or intimidate another person on the basis of race can act with impunity.''
The ACT government also announced it has signed up to the ''Racism – it stops with me'' campaign, to show its commitment to fighting racial vilification.
Mr Corbell said the campaign was part of the National Anti-Racism Strategy and raised awareness by getting others to share the fight against racism. ''By supporting this campaign, the ACT government is making a commitment to promote the campaign through government communications channels and to identify specific activities that the ACT government can undertake in the future to support its stances against racism,'' he said.