Opposition Leader Luke Foley has held a media conference at NSW Parliament today to reiterate his commitment to opposing the watering down of the Racial Discrimination Act and Labor’s refusal to preference the One Nation Party at State elections. 

Alongside, Shadow Minster for Multiculturalism Sophie Cotsis and Parliamentary Secretary Ernest Wong, Mr Foley expressed his disappointment that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has refused to make the same commitments.  

Ms Berejiklian will not join her predecessors Mike Baird and Barry O’Farrell in their support for strong laws against racist hate speech.

It follows an attempt by the NSW Opposition to get a simple answer from the Premier – on Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act – which the Federal Government is trying to weaken.

It prevents Australians suffering insults, offence or humiliation because of their race.

Mr Foley asked Ms Berejiklian in Parliament this week if she – as the Premier of Australia’s most multicultural state - opposed the Federal Government’s attempt to weaken racist hate speech.

Ms Berejiklian was asked repeatedly why she wanted to change something opposed by former Premiers O’Farrell  and Baird – with O’Farrell declaring racism was ‘always wrong.’

Ms Berejiklian wouldn’t answer.

Mr Foley also asked if given the numerous offensive and bigoted statements by Pauline Hanson in recent weeks she would rule out a preference deal with One Nation at the 2019 NSW State election.

She wouldn’t give that assurance either.

The Senate in Canberra is expected to vote on changes to 18C today.

Quotes Attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“We wanted to know something very simple. If the Premier – as the leader of the nation’s biggest multicultural state – believed in preventing racism.  We didn’t get an answer.  And that, by itself, is an answer.

“Given the nature of Pauline Hanson’s offensive statements in recent weeks you’d think Ms Berejiklian would rule out a preference deal with her at the next NSW State election.  She clearly doesn’t know what to say – or faction leaders are stopping her from saying it.

“We need to know if Ms Berejiklian is powerless to stop her party’s descent into racism – or why she won’t support race hate laws. She could clear it up – by just telling us.”