Friday 24 August 2012

Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke will unveil the National Anti-Racism Strategy in Melbourne today alongside the Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kate Lundy.

The launch of the Strategy is the culmination of an extensive public consultation process, led by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Almost 700 people participated in consultations held across the country. In addition, around 1,600 online surveys and over 120 submissions were received by the Commission to inform the Strategy.

Dr Szoke said “I was really moved by some of the stories I heard at the some of the community consultations. We should never underestimate the impact of racism.  For example, when one person was asked how racism affects the Australian community they answered – ‘It creates a divide.  Australia is one country but it doesn’t feel like it’.”

A recurring theme that resonated through the consultations was that in order to build a fair and inclusive community, Australians need to take action against all forms of racism, intolerance and prejudice when they witness it. Over the next three years, the National Anti-Racism Strategy will focus on five key priority areas: schools and higher education, the media, government service provision, workplaces and the internet.

“This Strategy aims to raise awareness of racism and the harm it causes, and empower individuals and communities to take action against it,” said Dr Szoke.

The first step of the implementation of the Strategy will be a public awareness campaign with the tagline Racism. It Stops With Me. The exciting initiative has already attracted a high level of public interest and support.

Key businesses such as Elders, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Australian Red Cross, and the Fred Hollows Foundation have already endorsed the campaign. In sport, AFL, FFA, NRL, Netball Australia and Australian Rugby Union are among those who have signed up. The Lord Mayors of Melbourne and Brisbane are also behind the campaign. By signing up to the campaign, companies and individuals will commit to playing a visible role by taking a public stance against racism in the community.

“The development of a National Anti-Racism Strategy is a ground breaking initiative
which recognises the longstanding efforts of many and builds on the successes of the country. Our readiness to acknowledge and address racism - just like any other injustice – shows that we’re setting our sights on greater possibility,” said Dr Szoke.

The Strategy has been developed and will be implemented by a partnership led by the Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke at the Australian Human Rights Commission. Other partners include the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Attorney-General’s Department, the Australian Multicultural Council, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia and the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. 

More information on the National Anti-Racism Partnership and Strategy is available at:

Media contact: Neena Mairata (02) 9284 9862 or 0417 957 525

Up to the minute information on human rights is now available on twitter at