Date: 
Friday 5 June 2015
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I'm Not Racist But... 40 years of the Race Discrimination Act

By Tim Soutphommasane

Paperback | Jun 2015 | NewSouth | ISBN 9781742234274 | 256pp

Is Australia a 'racist' country? Why do issues of race and culture seem to ignite public debate so readily?

Tim Soutphommasane, Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner, reflects on the national experience of racism and the progress that has been made since the introduction of the Racial Discrimination Act in 1975. As the first federal human rights and discrimination legislation, the Act was a landmark demonstration of Australia's commitment to eliminating racism.

Published to coincide with the Act's fortieth anniversary, this book gives a timely and incisive account of the history of racism, the limits of free speech, the dimensions of bigotry and the role of legislation in our society's response to discrimination.

With contributions by Maxine Beneba Clarke, Bindi Cole Chocka, Benjamin Law, Alice Pung and Christos Tsiolkas.



New South Publishing, an imprint of UNSW Press, has published this book in association with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The Race Discrimination Commissioner, under section 20 of the Racial Discrimination Act, has functions to promote understanding and acceptance of the Act; and to conduct research and educational programs aimed at combating prejudice and discrimination

The bulk of this book is based on speeches and articles the Commissioner has delivered and written during 2013-15, including the following:

- “Two freedoms: Freedom of expression and freedom from racial vilification”, Alice Tay Lecture in Law and Human Rights, Australian National University, Canberra, 3 March 2014
- “Reflections on casual racism and the sentiments”, Centre for Research in Education Annual Oration, University of South Australia, Adelaide, 13 November 2014
- “Empathy, power and privilege”, B'nai B'rith Annual Human Rights Address, B’nai B’rith, Sydney, 3 November 2014
- “Friendship and politics”, Sydney PEN Lecture, Sydney, 23 August 2013
- “Forty years of the Racial Discrimination Act”, LSJ: Law Society of NSW Journal, February 2015

Neither the Race Discrimination Commissioner nor the Australian Human Rights Commission is receiving royalties from this book.

The Commission has deposited copies of the book with public libraries in all capital cities (city and state libraries) and the National Library. Members of the public are free to purchase the book.