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Head of MIgration Agents Body Says Harmful Racial Stereotyping, Not Acceptable

President of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA)  said  the Institute is concerned about the use of racial stereotypes in Australian national media and is strongly emphasising the need to protect Sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 without amendment. MIA is the peak organisation representing registered migration agents and lawyers in Australia.

The Institute was saddened to learn of the death of a young Irish man, Padraig Gaffney,  after facing court this week for causing flood damage in a Melbourne hotel. The MIA offers its condolences to Mr Gaffney’s family and friends and to the Irish community in Australia.

Offensive headlines associated with the case using the words ‘Drunk Paddy’, are derogatory and have caused hurt in the Irish community. “To ridicule, demean and shame a man so viciously because of his ethnicity, simply because he made a mistake, is irresponsible and unacceptable behaviour in a civilised society,” said MIA National President, Ms Angela Chan FMIA.

This case highlights why the current amendments proposed to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 will disenfranchise the very people originally intended to be protected under the Act and the need for the national media to refrain from negative and harmful racial stereotyping.

Proposed changes to the Act include deleting words such as ‘offends, insults and humiliates’. An amended Act will not provide adequate protection for people who are the most vulnerable to racial discrimination and racial abuse in the community.

“Stereotyping people on the grounds of their ethnicity is simply another form of racial discrimination which should not be tolerated. The Irish community have been one of the greatest contributors to Australia’s multicultural community since 1788 and should be honoured and not ridiculed,” said Ms Chan.