Preventing Racial Vilification Not Just a Legislative Responsibility

There is recent footage which shows a Caucasian man hurling abuse at, and maliciously humiliating Korean tourists on a Sydney bus. Especially disturbing is the way in which the Korean tourist seems compelled to apologise in an attempt to diffuse the unconscionable situation. Of course, this is not the first episode of its sort, nor are these horrible incidents unfamiliar to the media at large. To be sure, racial vilification is a criminal offence in New South Wales, in compliance with Australia’s international agreements with the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Section 20D of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) provides:

“A person shall not, by a public act, incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons on the ground of the race of the person or members of the group by means which include:

(a)   Threatening physical harm towards, or towards any property of, the person or group of persons or,

(b)   Inciting others to threaten physical harm towards any property of, the person or group of persons.

In the case of an individual committing an offence, punishment can be up to six months imprisonment. On the other hand though, The Law Society Journal in its terse report entitled, “Racial Vilification should remain a crime in NSW” points out that the Anti-Discrimination Act seldom results in a successful prosecution in NSW. The chief reason for this is not too difficult to trace perhaps – the threat of physical harm must be incorporated into the offence. Notwithstanding the right to free speech, some amendments to the legislation might be useful then to prevent verbal racist abuse. For instance, the Law Society Human Rights Committee submission that the NSW legislation add the terms “including but not limited to” in the subsection providing that offences be committed by “means” of threats or incitement of physical harm is particularly significant I think, and could lead to more successful prosecutions. But still common sense dictates that the burden of social change rests not on political legislation alone. Especially in today’s unprecedented globalised world, we must all do our bit to recognise the intrinsic value of each human person and to work towards solidarity. We must, in the well known idiom of W.H. Auden – “[s]how an affirming flame”, by treating each person with respect and equity.

By Kyu Won Timothy Kim
SRC Legal Service

Be aware of accommodation scam!

SRC Legal Service has received several cases concerning an accommodation scam.

In a typical scenario, the scam targets international students or those who are too busy or unable to have a look at the advertised accommodation in person before renting. These students were usually asked to pay a ‘holding fee’ or a ‘deposit’ in order to secure the property before they even get to meet the landlord or see the place for rent. In the end, the unlucky ones usually discovered that the scammer just disappeared completely after the payment has been received.

How to avoid this situation if you are really unable to see the place before you have to move?

Do not transfer money by Western Union if you were asked to pay a holding fee. This is because money transferred through Western Union is not recoverable.

Try to arrange a friend or someone you can trust to meet with the landlord and also check out the property for you. Get this person to ask to see the landlord’s proper ID and record the landlord’s details as much as possible such as full name, contact address, driver’s licence number etc. This is to ensure that you know exactly the identity of the person you are dealing with, so that if this person later disappeared, you may contact the police for help with this information.

Please also make sure that you obtain a written receipt immediately for all money paid to the landlord and that you should only be required to pay a holding fee which is equivalent to one week’s rent.

You can also find an accommodation renting check list and a template of residential tenancy lease on the SRC website at www.src.usyd.edu.au.

If you have any questions or have come over any issues in relation to renting a place, you are welcome to come speak to our solicitor at the SRC Legal Service by contacting 9660 5222 to make an appointment.

Need legal advice and not at main campus?

SRC Legal Service is now available at other campuses!

Please find the following schedule where a solicitor/registered migration agent will be attending these campuses from the 3rd semester week (18 March 2013):

First Thursday of each month: Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Location: to be advised by the faculty
Second Wednesday of each month: Rozelle campus – Sydney College of the Arts
(morning only: 9-12pm – start date and location to be advised);Sydney Nursing School (afternoon only 12:30 – 3pm)
Location: student common room
Third Monday of each month: Cumberland campus – Faculty of Health Science
Location: Faculty library and Student Supports Centre
Fourth Thursday of each month: Westmead Hospital and Faculty of Oral Health
Location: To be advised by the faculty
Upcoming campus workshop:

Thursday 21 March 2013

Thursday 28 March 2013

 

Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Westmead Hospital and Faculty of Oral Health

If you wish to make an appointment with SRC Legal Service during these campus visits, you can call the SRC on 9660 5222.

New visa arrangement: no more points test and at least 2 years of unrestricted work visa!

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has currently announced new Post-Study Work Arrangements – this will be incorporated into the existing Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa.

You might be eligible for this visa if you meet all of the following:

  • Be under 50 years of age
  • Apply for this visa in Australia
  • Score minimum of 6 in each of the four components of IELTS or can demonstrate competent English level
  • Completed at least a Bachelor degree level or above in Australia
  • Held a qualifying student visa including subclass 572, 573 or 574
  • previously applied for your first student visa after 5 November 2011

The biggest benefit of this new arrangement is that you no longer need to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) or satisfy any points test in order to qualify! This will allow some students to complete their professional year or obtain the required work experience to apply for a further visa later.

If you wish to read more about this new visa arrangement, you can either visit the DIAC website, or contact Ms Annie Zeng, a registered migration agent from SRC Legal Service. We can discuss your particular circumstances to see whether you are eligible for this new arrangement, completely free of cost! Call the SRC on 02 9660 5222 and we are happy to help you with all immigration or visa related questions.