Tuesday 22 March 2016

The South Australian Parliament today pledged support for the Australian Human Rights Commission’s national anti-racism campaign, Racism. It Stops With Me.

More than 410 organisations have been involved in the Commission’s anti-racism campaign since it commenced in 2012. The campaign encourages all Australians to take a stand against racism wherever it happens.

“Having the support of South Australia’s Parliament sends a powerful message about the State’s support for racial tolerance,” said Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane.

“Today’s pledge of support by South Australian Parliamentarians is part of South Australia’s history of support for anti-discrimination initiatives,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

“Fifty years ago, the SA Parliament enacted the Prohibition of Discrimination Act 1966. This was first anti-discrimination law in Australia.

“In the same year, the SA Parliament also recognised Aboriginal land rights by enacting the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act 1966. This Bill was introduced by Don Dunstan, who was then South Australia’s Attorney-General and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and who later became Premier,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

Welcoming the support of South Australia’s parliamentarians, South Australia’s acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Anne Burgess said too many individuals and communities in South Australia continue to experience prejudice, discrimination and racism on a regular basis.

“Race discrimination was the second most common form of discrimination reported to the Equal Opportunity Commission last financial year making up 17% of all complaints received,” Commissioner Burgess said.

“Parliamentarians can be a strong voice for those facing discrimination in our community. Whether raising issues in parliament or playing an active role in parliamentary committees, or simply by speaking out, parliamentarians are well placed to focus public attention on issues of racism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance in the community.”

Last month, Tasmania's Justice Department pledged its support for Racism. It Stops With Me. The NSW Department of Justice and Queensland’s Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services are among other state government departments who have pledged support for the campaign.

Other recent supporters include the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Essendon Football Club, Charles Sturt University, and the Australian Psychological Society.

Watch the campaign’s Know Your Rights video.

Photo: Rundle Mall, Adelaide. Flickr