The government is speeding up its national anti-racism strategy following a particularly hectic week with the defeat of The Voice referendum and the war between Hamas and Israel. It also comes after two recent neo-Nazi marches on Melbourne streets.
Multicultural affairs minister Andrew Giles told The Guardian Australia the combination of events had given the anti-racism campaign a “renewed sense of urgency”.
“We’ve got to recognise that racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia have all been on the increase for some time, and there are forces in our society who seek to exploit these things,” he said.
“So building a strategy that’s all about bringing Australians together and recognising the harms that racism does again, not just to individuals, but to our sense of society, is absolutely fundamental right now.”
The strategy was a Labour promise while the party was in opposition and the original timeline had included a draft framework being completed by the Human Rights Commission by early next year.
Sadly, racism seems well and truly embedded in Australian society. A study released last year revealed that 52 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported experiencing racial prejudice, and 34 per cent of people from non-English speaking backgrounds reported experience racism based on complexion, ethnic origin or religious belief. And such problems seem to have only worsened since last weekend’s referendum.
Yep, it’s fucked, and change can’t happen soon enough.