New report lays foundations for Australia’s first National Anti-Racism Framework
The Australian Human Rights Commission has published a new report that provides an evidence base and vital next steps for developing a coordinated, national approach to combatting racism in Australia.
The report identifies data collection and education on racism, and cultural safety as key themes. It also identifies media regulation, standards, and legal protections as priority areas for action.
Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan said: “Urgent, collective action is needed to combat racism throughout this country. We need to treat racism as a scourge in much the same way we commit to addressing child abuse and family violence.”
“This scoping report is the next step in developing a long-term framework to guide actions on anti-racism and equality by government, NGOs, business, communities, and others.
“A national anti-racism framework will provide strategies and specific actions to tackle racism in its interpersonal, institutional, and systemic forms,” Commissioner Tan said.
The scoping report is the outcome of more than 100 consultations in 48 locations with communities, sector organisations, service providers, human rights agencies, government, and experts between March 2021 and April 2022. The Commission also received 164 public submissions – a third of which came from individuals.
Commissioner Tan said: “Consultations and submissions revealed widespread support for a framework and emphasised the need for a shared language for anti-racism action.
“We heard about the need to understand racism as a complex, intersectional phenomenon that reaches far beyond ‘race’ and as an all-encompassing force perpetuated across many sites of power by institutions and structures.
“This includes, as a threshold, acknowledging and respecting the experiences of First Nations peoples. When we hold this as a baseline for anti-racism action, we recognise the colonial foundations of Australia, their past and present impacts, and the immense value in drawing upon the unique strengths and leadership of First Nations peoples and communities,” Commissioner Tan said.
The federal government’s funding commitment for a national anti-racism framework enables the Commission to progress the next phase. This will involve continuing to connect with experts and anti-racism advocates to progress key feedback on data and data sovereignty, legal protections, justice, media, and online hate.
The Commission will also advance targeted, culturally safe and comprehensive community engagement undertaken with a human-rights based approach.
In March 2021, the Race Discrimination Commissioner released a concept paper for a national anti-racism framework. This was in response to community calls for national action after heightened experiences of racism and racial inequality in recent years, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal contained guiding principles, outcomes, and strategies to begin a national conversation about how to tackle racism.
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