Monday 23 July 2012

Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke will reveal the nation’s strategy to combat racism on 24 August 2012 in Melbourne.

The National Anti-Racism Partnership, led by Dr Szoke, will deliver a comprehensive strategy that has been directly shaped by the views of Australians from all parts of the country, to prevent and respond to racism.

Dr Szoke said “The development of this Strategy was informed by what people have told us about how racism impacts the community and their thoughts on the best approaches for preventing and responding to racism.”

Community input into development of the Strategy was sought via a discussion paper calling for submissions, an online survey and public consultations held around the country, the findings of which have now been released in a consultation report. Three areas that emerged as priorities from the consultation process for the National Anti-Racism Strategy were; education, media and employment.

“Racism is not understood, nor are its impacts fully appreciated. We need to talk about it in our schools and workplaces, with our friends, and with our leaders. We need to find a way to move the conversations from denial and apathy to recognition and engagement.” said Dr Szoke.

The consultation process was comprehensive and received a healthy response.
The Australian Human Rights Commission received around 1,600 surveys and over 120 submissions. In addition, almost 700 people participated in the consultations held across the country.

Nine out of ten respondents surveyed, said that racism was either an extremely important or a very important issue facing individuals and Australia as a whole. “This consultation process has clearly told us that racism is a problem in Australia and has reinforced what we already know from the research – that it negatively affects the lives of the people who experience it”, Dr Szoke said.

“However, we have also heard about a great many examples of positive actions that people all over the country have taken to combat racism and build positive relationships across communities. This Strategy gives us the opportunity to build on those positive measures.”

“There is an element of bravery in conducting a national strategy, because it means that we acknowledge that racism does exist – as it does in all countries. This is why I am confident that the National Anti-Racism Strategy will put racism on the agenda, will encourage people to talk about it and ensure that we are vigilant as a country in preventing it!” said Dr Szoke.

The Consultation report is available at this link:

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

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