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Race discrimination commissioner ‘serves no function’

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane. Picture: Hollie Adams
Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane. Picture: Hollie Adams

The vacant position of a national race discrimination commissioner should not be filled because the role fulfils “no substantive function” and is required by law to promote “divisive” ideas based on race, government MPs will be told.

A parliamentary research brief from think tank Institute of Public Affairs will be sent to all federal MPs but already has the backing of some Coalition members, who think the job, which is being advertised and pays $346,250 a year, should remain empty.

“The position of race discrimination commissioner is based on the concept that Australians should be divided and separated according to their ‘race’ — a concept which should find no place in modern-day Australia,” IPA research fellow Morgan Begg said.

“The role of race discrimin­ation commissioner is a divisive political advocacy role with no substantive function. Instead of filling this position, the Turnbull government should leave it vacant.”

Turncoat will find another turd to divide us. No doubt about it.

In the brief, co-written by the institute’s executive director, John Roskam, Mr Begg points out that the position has been left empty before, between 1999 and 2004, when it was only filled in an acting capacity.

The role is held by Tim Soutphommasane who was appointed to a five-year term in 2013.

The brief adds that the Australian Human Rights Commission has “over its history proven to be partisan and more likely to abuse the human rights of Australians than uphold them”. The Australian Human Rights Commission Act makes it clear the function of the commission itself is “not affected by reason only of a vacancy in the office” of the race discrimination commissioner.

It also confers on the commissioner the “unique courtroom advocacy role” of amicus curiae (friend of the court), which the IPA argues is a conflict of interest.