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1998 Federal Parliamentarians’ Code of Ethics

The TJRyan Foundation seminar, ‘Indigenous Human Rights: 1966-2016, and Beyond’, was held on 27 September 2016. In the discussion at the end of the seminar, Professor Margaret Reynolds referred to the ‘Federal Parliamentarians’ Code of Race Ethics’ that she had helped initiate in 1996 and which was drafted in December 1998.

‘Labor is preparing to launch a proposal to invite all federal parliamentarians to sign up to a code of race ethics, echoing an initiative advanced by the ALP and the Australian Democrats during the period Pauline Hanson was last in parliament.

‘The code is yet to clear Labor’s caucus processes, but the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, has told Guardian Australia it would be an important gesture for the 45th parliament. “It would send a message about what sort of parliament we want to be,” he said.

‘The previous code of race ethics was pursued by the then Labor senator Margaret Reynolds and the Democrat senator John Woodley in 1996, prompted by concern about the debate about racism that erupted in that year’s election campaign.

‘The code required parliamentarians to sign on to a set of principles, including respect for religious and cultural diversity, supporting tolerance and justice within a multicultural society, and “to speak and write in a manner which provides factual commentary on a foundation of truth about all issues being debated in the community and the parliament”.’ (The Guardian, 23 September, 2016.)

For the wording of the 1998 Code, see below.

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