The Australian federal government has been accused of breaching Australia’s anti-racism laws by failing to apply criticism of alleged human rights violations by Israel towards Palestinians, as part of a legal effort to force a change in foreign policy.
The highly complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission says the government has discriminated against a Palestinian Australian man in statements made during the May 2021 bombing of Gaza by Israel and by lobbying against an International Criminal Court investigation into Israeli war crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza stri.
One human rights expert said the case could set a major precedent if it succeeded but argued it was unlikely to do so.
Australian government’s actions ‘hurtful’
The complaint has been lodged by Australian Palestinian advocate Nasser Mashni.
He told RN Breakfast his family had experienced discrimination in Australia as a result of their background.
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In one instance, his high school-aged son was compared to a terrorist by a teacher at his school.
“One of my children, [after] a violent attack by extremist Muslims in Paris, when the teacher was calling the roll and he didn’t say he was present,” according to Mr Mashni.
“The teacher said oh, your mind’s busy, is it still busy with how your brothers were going in Paris over the weekend?”
But Mr Mashni believes this kind of discrimination can be directly linked to the language and actions of members of the Australian government.
“It’s really hurtful,” Mr Mashni said.
“All we’re asking the Australian government to do is be balanced, to speak in a balanced way,”
“Today, they don’t.”
The complaint confirmed that the government has breached Section 9 of the Racial Discrimination Act.
It is now being investigated by the Australian Human Rights Commission.