Developing a National Anti-Racism Framework (2021)

Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin TanAustralia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Chin Tan has announced plans to develop a National Anti-Racism Framework and is calling on the Federal Government to support the framework, fully resource it and implement it. The Commission also aims to work in partnership with all sectors of Australian society because dismantling racism is a joint responsibility and will require a coordinated effort.

A national framework is urgently needed to deal with a resurgence in racism. This has been painfully apparent over the past year. COVID-19 has exposed ugly racism against people of Asian descent. ASIO and the Australian Federal Police have identified racist extremism as a significant threat to Australia’s national security. And the Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted injustices experienced by people from culturally diverse backgrounds and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Commission has prepared an overview of the Framework, which describes key components of what a national strategy to address racism and social cohesion must include. It lists guiding principles, identifies national outcome areas and goals for achievement, and outlines high level strategies for achieving those goals. We invite you to download the overview from this page.

Over the coming months, the Commission will engage with the community sector to obtain feedback on this overview. We will convene workshops with peak bodies and provide an opportunity for public comment through our website. We will also engage with government departments and ministers to identify the existing gaps in services, data needs, and ways to improve the approach of government to this critical issue.

In my capacity as Race Discrimination Commissioner, I will shortly commence a series of national conversations about developing this proposed national framework.

The task of envisaging what should be in a framework cannot be left to government alone. Today I have released a concept paper on the key components of this new national approach.
I see eight priority national outcomes that all Australian governments should commit to address. They are as follows:

  1. Understanding the nature, prevalence, and incidence of racism in Australia,
  2. An effective legal framework to protect people from racial discrimination and racial hatred,
  3. Commitment from all governments to eradicating racism and racial discrimination through their actions,
  4. National anti-racism campaigns to build community understanding of racism and how to counter it,
  5. Commitment from all sectors of Australian society to countering racism, and the formation of community partnerships,
  6. Commitment from all sectors of Australian society towards adequate representation and participation of culturally diverse communities in all areas of public life,
  7. Commitment from Australian governments to address racial inequality, with the adoption of specific targets and measures to address it,
  8. Complimentary measures to strengthen multiculturalism, social inclusion, and Indigenous reconciliation.

Ultimately, addressing racism is a responsibility for all of us. It is not exclusively the domain of government, nor of any one sector of the community. My approach will be to build consensus on the need for such a framework and the measures it sets out. The community should embrace the need for change as much as government should.

You may watch a video of Race Commissioner Tan’s talk here.


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