Friday 30 April 2010

Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, welcomed the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council’s (AMAC) statement to government this morning, saying the Australian Human Rights Commission looks forward to working with the Government on a response that will deliver tangible benefits to all people in all communities around Australia.

The People of Australia, AMAC’s statement on cultural diversity and recommendations to government, was presented to Australian Government Ministers for immigration and multicultural affairs at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum today.

“It has been a long time since we have had a comprehensive policy statement about multiculturalism in this country,” Commissioner Innes said. “The People of Australia statement should be seen as an important road map in establishing a new federal multicultural policy with an accompanying, adequately funded, national action plan.”

In particular, Commissioner Innes said he welcomed:

  • The establishment of an independent and bipartisan body to inform the Government on the development of a multicultural policy;
  • The notion of an independent audit of access and equity in government services for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities; and
  • The development of a national anti-racism strategy.

“The issue of a national anti-racism strategy has been something that has been consistently raised with us during our consultations and work with international students, African communities and other cultural minorities, as well as in our work on cyber racism,” Commissioner Innes said.

Though he welcomed the statement and recommendations from AMAC, Commissioner Innes said he was disappointed that no mention was made of investment in research, an initiative that would support the Australian Government’s stated evidence-based approach to policy development.

Commissioner Innes said a statement that was not only in plain English, but was aspirational and unequivocal in its recommendations was needed, and that The People of Australia has delivered on this front.

Media contacts: Brinsley Marlay 02 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529