Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan has launched a plan to establish a National Anti-Racism Framework and has called on the Federal Government to support and implement it.
Commissioner Tan released a concept paper detailing key components that need to be included in the Framework and will soon commence a series of roundtables with peak anti-racism organisations to progress the plan.
The plan was launched ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, also known in Australia as Harmony Day, which occurs this Sunday.
Commissioner Tan said: “Racism is an economic, social and national security threat to Australia, and we need to treat it as such. Too many Australians are regularly the targets of racism.
“It is time we dealt with the scourge of racism in the same way we deal with the scourge of domestic violence, or the scourge of child abuse. On those issues we have longstanding national frameworks, signed onto by all governments with three-year action plans.
“I am calling on the Federal Government to engage with this process of establishing a National Anti-Racism Framework, to actively support its development, and to commit to resourcing it appropriately.”
Australia has not had a national anti-racism strategy in place since 2018, and federal funding for that strategy ended in 2015.
Since then, events including the Christchurch terrorist attack, the growth in nationalist extremism, and racism in relation to COVID-19 have highlighted the need for urgent action to address racism.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to experience injustice and significant disadvantage. Although Australian governments have recognised the historical racism faced by First Nations people, far more work is needed to address ongoing issues.
Commissioner Tan said: “The Black Lives Matter movement has focused community attention on issues of racial injustice, and there is now unprecedented community support to address these issues. Now is the time to implement a national framework dealing with racism.”
The Concept paper and the Commissioner’s full speech will be publicly available from March 17 on the Commission’s website at www.humanrights.gov.au.