According to UN special rapporteur on racism, Mutuma Ruteere, Australia is marred by divisive and racist rhetoric, and xenophobic hate speech is on the rise.
Mr Ruteere has just wrapped up his first visit to Australia and released a preliminary report denouncing our elected politicians and lauding the unelected Australian Human Rights Commission.
Besieged AHRC President Gillian Triggs won particular praise for fighting racism. Mr Ruteere wants “attacks” on her to stop, ignoring heavy criticism for her alleged lack of independence.
No wonder the UN official has a special affection for s18C, which makes it an offence to insult and offend. The law, he said, provided a “useful balance of freedom of speech”.
Mutuma Ruteere warned Australia not to dilute hate speech prohibitions as bigots and extremists become more vocal. (Pic: AP Photo/Rod McGuirk)
Our pollies can immediately stop debating the review of the Racial Discrimination Act as Mr Ruteere has declared the law doesn’t need changing. So that’s settled. Who needs democracy, anyway?
So-called “populist politicians” also copped a serve when Mr Ruteere called for them to be denounced and censured by “mainstream political leaders”. Never mind that more than 600,000 voters put them in parliament in the first place.
Of course, Mr Ruteere himself is unelected, which probably accounts for his indifference to the functioning of our parliamentary democracy and the choices made by voters.
The position of UN special rapporteur was created in 1993 by the UN Human Rights Commission, whose recently elected members now include Cuba, China and Saudi Arabia.
Knowing such countries will be reviewing Mr Ruteere’s final report when he delivers it in early 2017 only serves to make the United Nations Human Rights circus more comical.
With human rights watchdogs like Saudi Arabia on patrol, who cares what the UN Human Rights Commission or its special rapporteur thinks about Australia?
“Leave her alone!” (Pic: Hollie Adams/The Australian)
Far better to turn to the 2016 Scanlon Foundation survey of social cohesion, whose authoritative findings are based not on flying VIP visits but on solid research. The 2016 survey found low levels of concern about immigration, strong support for resettling refugees and very strong support for multiculturalism.
That’s not good enough for Mr Ruteere who warned racism is on the rise and chided politicians for doing too little: “It’s very easy for darkness to drive out the light,” he said.
Racism is the new secular sin used by do-gooder elites to denounce and condemn all those with whom they disagree. The UN special rapporteur is one of the high priests of this religion.
We can do without this kind of nonsense. Isn’t the season silly enough already?
Peter Kurti is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies