Australia is home to the world’s oldest continuous cultures, as well as people who identify with more than 270 ancestries. This rich, cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths as a nation.
Despite this, many individuals experience unfair treatment and racism because of how they look or where they come from. Racial discrimination can also be subtle, creating systemic barriers that lock people out of social and economic opportunities.
The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 gives effect to Australia’s international human rights commitments and promotes equality between people of different backgrounds.
The Act protects people across Australia from unfair treatment on the basis of their race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin in different areas of public life. It also makes racial vilification against the law.
People who experience direct or indirect discrimination can complain to the Commission.
We work in partnership with others to help individuals and organisations around Australia understand their rights and meet their legal responsibilities.
We do this by working with governments, business, community partners, education providers, the media and workplaces on specific projects, such as implementing the National Anti-Racism Strategy.
We also undertake research and provide policy advice on issues affecting different groups, such as international students and African Australian communities.
Our work in this area is led by Dr Tim Soutphommasane, the Race Discrimination Commissioner.
- Get behind our campaign: Racism. It Stops With Me
- Know your rights and help others do the same.
- Give cyber-racism the big click off.
Find out how you can get involved in other parts of the Commission’s work and help make human rights a reality for everyone, everywhere, everyday.