Question of law over race taunt

THE Tasmanian Anti- Discrimination Commissioner has questioned if state law would cover racial abuse at the football, following the incident at Aurora Stadium on Friday night.

A Hawthorn supporter racially taunted North Melbourne Sudanese player Majak Daw, and the man was ejected from the stadium.

Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks said that although the incident was very serious, the legal test in the Anti- Discrimination Act was stringent.

She said a fan at a football match was not distinctly covered.

But Ms Banks said that the incident showed the need for more education and for community leaders to speak out against racism.

"Overall, Tasmania has been very welcoming to visible minorities, particularly humanitarian entrants," Ms Banks said.

She said reports of racism were increasing, but it was difficult to know if that meant racism was also increasing.

"The presence of more people who are visible minorities does seem to trigger in other people - we see a bit of this - very nasty and ugly behaviour," Ms Banks said.

"The level of reporting from Launceston is as high as we get in Hobart.

"It's not only verbal taunts, but also physical abuse."

Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Greg Barns said Tasmania was still a "white-bread culture" and racism existed here.

He called for strong leadership, a zero-tolerance approach and better education.

"There is an issue with the move by the federal government to remove the protection against racism in the Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation," Mr Barns said.

"That would allow the publication of racially motivated speech and words, and cut to its essence it would give the racists a field day."

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