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Tribunal says America rules, OK

Tribunal says America rules, OK

The Admininstrative Appeals Tribunal in the ACT has ruled that American defence contractors can break Canberra law, and discriminate against employees. The extraordinary ruling means US foreign policy and rules trump Australia’s own laws. CLA’s media release calls for an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Tribunal allows discrimination in Canberra: American law rules, OK


The Administrative Appeals Tribunal in the ACT today ruled that it was OK for companies to discriminate against workers in Canberra…provided the companies do US Government work.


The extraordinary ruling, which flies in the face of ACT Discrimination and Human Rights law, means that the foreign policy of the USA is more powerful in the Australian Capital Territory than the ACT Legislative Assembly’s own legislation.


Civil Liberties Australia (CLA) condemns the decision and the racism it authorises as being perverse, and completely unacceptable in a civilised society like that in Canberra and Australia.


We call on the ACT Human Rights Commission to appeal this appalling decision to the ACT Supreme Court. Alternatively, the ACT Government could move amending legislation to make it crystal clear that this type of discrimination is absolutely unacceptable.


The ACT tribunal’s decision allows American policy and rules to ride roughshod over Australia’s laws. In future, ACT people may as well watch US military TV shows, like NCIS, to find out the laws operating in the ACT.


The AAT’s decision allows the US military giant Raytheon to deliberately ignore the ACT’s racial discrimination laws, and discriminate amongst employees and prospective employees alike on the basis of their race.


US foreign policy and trade law says US companies can’t both (a) employ ‘third country nationals” and (b) undertake US defence contracts, supposedly for US security reasons. However, ACT law says Raytheon cannot discriminate when it employs people in Canberra.


In the collision between these two principles, the ACT’S own tribunal, the AAT, has decided that America rules and US foreign policy will prevail.


It has used fluffed-up words like “national defence” and “securing jobs” to explain away why Australian law should give way to American.


The tribunal also accepted Raytheon’s argument that it should be allowed to discriminate because this would create more jobs which is ‘good for the local economy’. The tribunal has effectively held that discrimination is acceptable provided the price is right.


The decision is a perfect example of how first the Australian Government, and now ACT courts, refuse to stand up for Australia’s own principles in dealing with the USA and with US interests.

 Rather than the Australian Capital Territory becoming a State of Australia, perhaps the AAT is suggesting the ACT becomes the 51st US State, or the 2nd US District (after DC, the District of Columbia).

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