Hands off to 18C, warn Global Filipinos Australia and various Filipino community groups Featured


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“Humbled and proud” says HE General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retired)


With pomp and ceremony, after being greeted by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margie in front of Parliament House, the governor-general designate wore a string of military medals when he arrived at Parliament House accompanied by his wife Lynne was sworn in before Chief Justice Robert French at the Senate chamber as the 26th Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. First man to be knighted under Prime Minister Abbott, the new Governor-General assumes the title His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retired).

Escorted to the Senate with his wife Lynne, after receiving a general salute from a guard of honour at the Great Veranda there was applause through Parliament foyer.

In his speech, Sir Peter Cosgrove, said “he was humbled and proud” to be assuming office and came to the role “agenda free”, and will seek to “reflect” the community adding his experience as the Australian of the Year had him prepared for the role ahead. It’s the “greatest honour “of his family.

Sir Peter Cosgrove paid special tribute to the indigenous Australians and his predecessor Dame Quentin Bryce.

“I pledge all my energy and goodwill to all of the asks of Australia’s governor-general not least those working within the wider community”.

“My wife and I will be attentive to any and all agenda that we encounter set within a broad and fundamental set of Australian values”.

A 21-gun salute fired as the Governor-General speech came to a close and His Excellency Standard was unfurled.

Prime Minister Abbott welcomed Sir Peter at an official reception for the new Governor-General and his wife.

The Prime Minister said in his speech, “You will be a knight of rolling up your sleeves and getting on with things.”

He continues, “Every human being wants to be uplifted and inspired and I can think of no better man than Peter Cosgrove to maintain our national morale and to find faith in ourselves.”

“I know Sir Peter, you will approach this work with respect, discretion and judgment and our country will be the better for it,” the Prime Minister added.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the Governor-General as a person who “has the ear” of Australians.

“Your Excellency, rest assured that when a Governor-General speaks Australia will listen,” continues Bill Shorten.

“We look to you as a guardian of our constitution, a representative of the values and the love of country that we all share,” added the Opposition Leader.

Australians have described the Governor-General an “eminent Australian, one with experience, dignity, strength, toughness, determination, intelligence and compassion plus humour.”

Born into a military family, Sir Peter Cosgrove graduated from the Royal Military College,Duntroon in 1968.With wife Lynne they have three sons: Steven, Phillip and David.

Earned his military stripes in Malaysia and Vietnam. In Malaysia he was lieutenant in the 1st battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) and commanded an infantry platoon in Vietnam subsequently awarded the Military Cross for “aggressiveness and outstanding courage” during 2 attacks in bunker complexes held by North Vietnamese troops.

1999- commander of the international peace-keeping mission in E ast Timor
2000 – chief of the Army
2002 – chief of the Defence force
2001 – Australian of the Year
2005 – retired from active service
2006 – led taskforce to rebuild communities in Queensland devastated by cyclone Larry

Worked as non-executive Director of Qantas since retirement.

As Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove is the representative in Australia at federal/national level of the Australian monarch (currently Queen Elizabeth II). He exercises the supreme executive power of the Commonwealth. His role include appointing ambassadors, ministers and judges, giving Royal Assent to legislation, issuing writs for elections and bestowing honours. The Governor-General is the President of the Federal Executive Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force. All these are under the authority of the Australian Constitution and as vice-regal representative to the Australian Capital Territory.

The constitution says – Governor-General appointed by the Queen shall be Her Majesty’s representative to the Commonwealth --- acts on the advice of the Prime Minister or ministers.

There is also the ceremonial function where the governor-General travels widely throughout Australia to open conferences, attend services and commemorations and generally provide encouragement to individuals and groups who are contributing to their communities.

On travels abroad the governor-General is seen as the representative of Australia and the Queen of Australia and is treated as a head of state. All hail to the new knight Sir Peter Cosgrove!!!


Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of Australia
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hands off to 18C warn Global
Filipinos Australia and various Filipino community groups

On behalf of Global Filipinos Australia (GFA) and other Filipino groups, we send a hands off warning to the Federal Government to the draft of the “Freedom of Speech (Repeal of Section 18C) Bill 2014” and withdraw its proposed amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (RDA).

The Filipino community is one of the top four Asian migrants in Australia who believe in the principles of dignity, equality and fairness of all human beings and abhors discriminatory practices. We say hands off and don’t touch RDA as we see Part IIA Prohibition of Offensive Behaviour Based On Racial Hatred being repealed, narrowed and weakened and open the possibility of bigotry. No group has so far expressed support to the proposed changes.

The draft exposure of amendments is to repeal sections : 18B Reason for doing an act; 18C Offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin; 18D Exemptions; 18E Vicarious liability. The key changes are the removal of the words “offend, insult and humiliate” leaving “intimidate” which makes it unlawful for someone to publicly “offend, insult and humiliate” a person or group of persons because of the race, colour, or national or ethnic origin. Exemptions will be moved to the new Section 18C and a new offence to be added “racial vilification”.

The following section will be inserted:

(1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
(a) the act is reasonably likely :
(i) to vilify another person or group of persons ; or
(ii) to intimidate another person or group of persons,
and (b) the act is done because of the race, colour, or national or ethnic origin of that person or group of persons.

(2) for the purposes of this section :
(a) vilify means to incite hatred against a person or group of persons;
(b) intimidate means to cause fear of physical harm:
(i) to a person; or
(ii) to the property of a person, or .
(iii) to the members of a group of persons .

(3) Whether an act is reasonably likely to have the effect specified in sub-section (1) (a) is to be determined by the standards of an ordinary reasonable member of the Australian community, not by the standards of any particular group within the Australian community.


(4) this section does not apply to words, sounds, images or writing spoken, broadcast, published or otherwise communicated in the course of participating in the public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter.

While GFA and other Filipino groups understand the good intentions of the government, nevertheless we are concerned that the proposed changes do not provide strongest protection. Removing “offend, insult , humiliate’ or the “hurt feelings , narrowing definitions of “intimidate and villify do not offer the strongest protection nor do the wide exemptions in 4 which seem to be a guarantee for freedom of speech will be a guarantee for bigotry comments in public discussion.

That the test for “reasonableness” and “good faith” removed and drafting community standards are perceived to perpetuate prejudices.

The Filipino community’s genuine concern is that RDA is weakened not strengthened and exemptions so broad that it gives a dangerous signal that bigotry comments are accepted in the course of public discussion.

We say “hands off, don’t touch RDA” for the strongest protection of all Australians.

Lolita Farmer OAM
President, Global Filipinos Australia


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