Racial Discrimination in Australia


 



The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (RDA) is a statute passed by the Australian Parliament during the Prime Ministership of Labor Gough Whitlam.



The RDA makes racial discrimination unlawful in Australia.

All across Australia, there are people and organisations doing great things to reduce and prevent racism. Many schools, students and teachers have already demonstrated their commitment to countering racism through their involvement in developing and implementing anti-racism education initiatives.




The Racism. It Stops with Me campaign isn’t about reinventing the wheel: they want to learn from past achievements and challenges. Their consultations have told them that it’s often the people working on the ground within local communities or specific environments who have the best understanding of the issues and ideas of how to overcome them. They believe that the most effective way to make a difference in the incidence of racism is to encourage and coordinate these efforts.
Over the next three years, we will:

  • Ask organisations to commit to the campaign and develop their own anti-racism activities
  • Ask individuals to become part of a community of people who are committed to leading by example
  • Offer advice and assistance to supporters in implementing their anti-racism activities
  • Provide a central coordination point for activities happening across Australia
  • Develop materials to assist in the promotion of anti-racism messages
  • Develop education tools for a range of audiences
  • Share good practice examples for others to learn from and build on
  • Facilitate linkages and partnerships between our supporter organisations.
By doing this, we hope to create a culture where people are able to identify racism and have the confidence and tools to act appropriately when it does occur. 


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Australia today is a multiethnic society and the product of more than two centuries of immigration. Laws forbid racial and other forms of discrimination and protect freedom of religion.

Although the majority of the population are Australian born, more than 75% of Australians identified with an ancestry other than Australian in the 2011 Census. About 2% of Australians come from Indigenous backgrounds and about 43% have at least one parent who has born overseas. 30% of the population were born in another country. Of the overseas born, the major countries of birth are England, New Zealand and China. About 8.5% of Australians were born in non-English speaking countries. In all, Australians come from over 200 birthplaces.


What is vilification on the basis of race or religion?

Vilification is different from discrimination. While discrimination involves unfair treatment, vilification is a public act that incites others to hate you or your group (or have serious contempt for, or severely ridicule you) because of your race or religion.
This sort of hatred can show up in a number of ways including hate speeches, leaflets, graffiti, websites, public abuse or media remarks.

Example
  • Posters and graffiti inciting hatred of Jewish people are put up outside a synagogue.
  • A spectator at a football match urges supporters to abuse a Muslim woman and to take off her hijab (veil).