Human rights and international law expert Professor Hilary Charlesworth, says that Australia's appointment to the UN Human Rights Council gives the country an opportunity to examine its own human rights record.
He said that as one of the original "Bolt nine" applicants in the Federal Court discrimination case brought against columnist Andrew Bolt, the decision not to proceed with proposed amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act is a matter of personal relief for him as the scars still run deep. Further, the National Congress of Australia's First People has formed a strong alliance with other ethnic communities in Australia in responding to the proposed changes, and this coalition building shows how unity can fight intolerance. The next step is to continue to build on this coalition of unity, and also be wary of any attempts in the future to revisit the proposed changes. It is not a humiliating defeat for the Attorney-General, George Brandis, but it is a political defeat for this government.
Dr Mark McMillan is a Senior lecturer in the Melbourne Law School, which he joined in 2011. He is a Wiradjuri man from Trangie, NSW and was named National NAIDOC Scholar of the year for 2013.