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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 17. July 18th, 1973



In the first draft of the Bill you had to prove that an action had been done "solely on grounds of race." This meant that if the person complained of could think up another reason for his action then the case couldn't proceed. This was too blatant to get away with, the National Government took out the word "solely". This means you only have to prove racism present in the action, even if some other reason might have been part of the story. But practice is showing that there is not much difference in the second way of saying it. The cases detailed in the Conciliator's report show how many "misunderstandings" there are when someone complains of racism and the Conciliator is called in. Of course the person wasn't thinking about race! Or if it seemed like that it was unintentional! Any way I sure won't do it again, sir!!

The Conciliator has very little chance of proving what was in the mind of a racist, and when he says, sorry I won't sin again, that's as far as the Conciliator can take it. It's only the stupid recalcitrant racist who sticks to his guns that would warrant asking the Attorney General's permission to prosecute. No one's been that stupid yet, or at least they haven't been caught twice.

As a result of all this the Conciliator's efforts look fairly unproductive There is not much known about the individual cases — there is a quiet backstairs air about conciliating that protects the racist. If his name were publicised there might be plenty of corroborative evidence supplied from his other actions — but then the innocent would suffer from publication of names.