Australia Makes Offender Target, Not Complaintant

Race Commissioner Tom Calma is asking for changes in Australia’s laws dealing with racial discrimination. Up to this point, the burden of proof has fallen on the individual bringing charges, but he wants the focus to shift by placing responsbility on the shoulders of the person charged with discrimination. He believes the current process is too hard on the individual bringing charges. “It is a dfficult exercise to be able to get the evidence together and if the offending party doesn’t want to co-operate then you can’t progress it. We do get occasions were people don’t want to cooperate, and then we’re forced to terminate a case.”

This is a complex issue because two rights are in operation, the rights of those who claim discrimination and the rights of those being charged. There simply is no easy resolution of this process except to work hard at prevention.