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Why the Racial Discrimination Act was a critical turning point in Australia's history

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (16:24):  I rise to contribute to this motion on the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Racial Discrimination Act in June 1975. The enactment of the Racial Discrimination Act was a critical turning point in Australia's history because of the role it played in signposting Australia's commitment to protecting and promoting what were internationally recognised and universal human rights.

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Legal hurdles, community division over citizenship

Ministerial power to strip Australians of their citizenship is frightening the community and may be unconstitutional, said Greens legal affairs spokesperson Senator Penny Wright.

"These laws are a mess. They're being rushed, they're being formed on the basis of misunderstood advice, they're fuelling division in the community and in Tony Abbott's own Cabinet," said Senator Wright.

"Such a serious mistake will result in crucial legal processes being passed over, and the consequences of that are huge.

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Dutton's totalitarian citizenship laws an unprecedented power-grab

Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright says the Abbott Government's proposal to bypass the courts and concentrate power in the hands of the Minister must be stopped.

"It is an extraordinary abuse of power to have one person deciding who gets to be Australian or not," Senator Wright said.

"The decision to remove a person's citizenship - the most fundamental right of our Constitution - must only ever be made by a court of law.

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Federal Government must lead new approach to tackle Aboriginal incarceration

The Australian Greens say the release of an Amnesty International report into Indigenous incarceration should restart a national conversation about Justice Reinvestment as an alternative to "lock 'em up" prison culture.

Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright, who chaired a 2013 inquiry into Justice Reinvestment, said some of the momentum for Federal action had been lost after the election of the Abbott Government.

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Estimates: Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee (Australian Federal Police)

Senator RHIANNON: Commissioner, when AFP personnel travel overseas on official business with family or friends, do the family and friends have to be given a security clearance?

Mr Colvin : The only time that AFP would travel overseas with family, certainly not with friends-are you talking official travel?

Senator RHIANNON: Yes, official travel.

Mr Colvin : I could not imagine a reason they would be travelling officially with friends, unless they were officials as well.

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Flags and new titles don’t make us safer: Greens

Australian Greens Leader, Dr Richard Di Natale, said today the radicalisation of young people is a serious issue, that requires a serious response – not grandstanding.

“The first duty of the Prime Minister is to keep people safe but standing in front of flags, handing out titles and appointing new bureaucrats doesn’t make us safer,” said Senator Di Natale.

“My concern is that the daily chest-thumping and grandstanding is making people more fearful and anxious about what is a very serious and challenging issue.

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Cruel court fee hikes could harm family violence victims

The Abbott Government's cruel hike to Family Court fees could delay victims of domestic violence from seeking a divorce, Australian Greens legal affairs spokesperson Senator Penny Wright says.

"When the previous government raised court fees, Attorney General George Brandis called it 'a disguised Labor tax'," Senator Wright said.

"Now he's copying their tricks and using families going through tough times as a way to raise revenue for the Abbott Government."

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