Media ID 0248-A
Insight ’79 – Human Rights Commission, soon to celebrate its first year of operation (1979)
Mike Waghorne, Pat Downey
Recorded off the radio
This summary gives general themes as to the content of this recording. It is not a verbatim transcript. Always refer back to the original audio. This is a working document and any amendments/corrections are welcome.
Theme - Insight ’79, looking at the Human Rights Commission – soon to celebrate its first year of operation.
Telephone operator: “Human Rights Commission good afternoon”
Established under the Human Rights Commission Act of 1977, it began it’s work on the September 1978.. grew out of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the result of pressure from the women’s movement towards equality of opportunity and the end to discrimination on the basis of gender.. The Act forbade discrimination on the grounds of sex, martial status, religious or ethical belief, race, colour, national or ethnic origin.. quote from Dr. Jeremy Ekland (?), senior lecturer in Law at Auckland University said.. “The act could lead to a revolution”.
Judy Reid – The Commission is a failure
The Human Rights Commission has come under fire from feminists
Jenny Harper, Wellington Women’s Resource Centre – feminist viewpoint, Human Rights Commission is taking a passive role, they’re acting too politely.. it’s had some affect – reducing sexist advertising, bank loans for women, sex discrimination, women are reluctant to use the Commission
Pat Downey – chief commissioner - woman and washing machine story, she was asked about her husband – even though she had her own money
Judy Reid - benefits in the employment area.
The Human Rights Commission helped reverse a government decision to only allow South African students to study in NZ only if they agreed not to take part in political activities.
Mike Waghorne - National Secretary for the Gay Rights Coalition.. What we’ve put to the Human Rights Commission is a request to look at an extension to the Act to include sexual orientation, and that the crimes act be altered to decriminalise sexual acts between males
Downey - the function of the Human Rights Commission is conciliation. Going to the tribunal is a last resort.
Reid – too much emphasis is put on the conciliation aspect of the Act.
Downey – the legislation has teeth .. examples
Nat Dunning – chairman of the NZ Council for Civil Liberties – the Human Rights Commission is very quiet on privacy issues and on issues between individuals and the government.. they say in their report they do not want confrontation – how far can you get with that.
Downey – we’re not a pressure group.. these aren’t simple issues
Michael Thomson - Executive Director, Newspaper Publishers Association – the legislation was well intentioned.. but there are more important issues than employment advertising.
Downey – employment advertising is the most obvious display of discrimination.. the greatest difficulty is people.. we need education, if we are to live up to the requirements of equal opportunity.
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