Australia prides itself on its multicultural tapestry, where a myriad of cultures, languages, and traditions intertwine. This diversity is evident in the many global festivities celebrated, from Diwali and Chinese Lunar New Year to Greek Easter, Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and beyond.
However, despite this rich tapestry, racism persists in 2023, casting a shadow over certain segments of the population. Drawing from the Scanlon Foundation’s 2021 publication, we find that 60% of respondents believe racism is a significant concern in Australia. This article delves deeper into recent statistics and sentiments surrounding race relations down under.
|Racism Prevalence||27% faced racial discrimination in 2019|
|Workplace Discrimination||People from CALD backgrounds are 2.5 times more likely to face discrimination|
|School Discrimination||Over 25% of students faced racial discrimination in 2016|
|Indigenous Australians||Almost 4 times more likely to experience racial bias|
|Hate Crimes||Racially or ethnically driven, with Indigenous Australians more prone|
|Xenophobia||20% feel Australia is too diverse; 37% want limited immigration|
|Pandemic Racism||75% of Asian Australians faced increased racism during COVID-19|
|Political Influences||Some leaders and policies exacerbate racial tensions|
|Positive Steps||Initiatives from government agencies and organizations promote diversity|
|Support Systems||Services available for Indigenous, CALD, and immigrants|
Racism in Contemporary Australia
Australia’s multicultural population still grapples with racism. Per the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2019 report, 27% of Australians encountered racial discrimination in the preceding year. Of these, 18% cited their skin colour, ethnic origin, or race as the reason for the prejudice.
Discrimination in the Workplace
Employment discrimination remains a pressing issue, especially for those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. They face a 2.5 times higher chance of workplace discrimination compared to native-born Australians, leading to restricted job prospects, reduced earnings, and overall poorer life outcomes.
Discrimination in Schools
Educational institutions are not exempt. A 2016 Australian Human Rights Commission survey showed over a quarter of students had faced racial discrimination, leading to feelings of isolation, lowered self-esteem, and hindered academic performance.
Indigenous Australians and Racism
Aboriginal Australians, the nation’s original inhabitants, are disproportionately impacted by racism. Making up 3.2% of the populace, they are more likely to face discrimination in education, employment, healthcare, and legal scenarios. The Australian National University’s findings highlight that Indigenous Australians are nearly four times as likely to experience racial bias than non-indigenous peers.
Hate Crimes in the Spotlight
Racially motivated hate crimes persist. The Australian Institute of Criminology reported a significant number of hate crimes are racially or ethnically driven, with Indigenous Australians being more prone to victimisation.
Recent surveys by the Scanlon Foundation have shown that 20% of Australians feel the country is excessively diverse. Additionally, 37% expressed that the government should curtail immigration.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated racism, particularly targeting Asian Australians. The Asian Australian Alliance found that 75% of Asian Australians experienced heightened racial hostility during the pandemic, ranging from verbal assaults to physical attacks.
Certain political narratives and policies have exacerbated racial tensions, with some leaders and parties perpetuating xenophobic and discriminatory sentiments.
Steps Forward in 2023
On a brighter note, several initiatives are pushing for better race relations. Government agencies, such as The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, are introducing policies to integrate Indigenous and CALD populations into the workforce. Organisations like Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Networks and The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) champion diversity and inclusion.
A host of services cater to Indigenous and CALD groups. The National Indigenous Critical Response Service and Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service support Indigenous communities. Immigrants can access services assisting with integration, language, housing, and more. The government-funded Translating and Interpreting Service, Refugee Council of Australia, and Beyond Blue’s 24-hour service offer further assistance.
Racism remains a potent challenge in Australia, with Indigenous and CALD communities being especially vulnerable. To foster harmony, it’s crucial to tackle and rectify such issues head-on, embracing policies and initiatives that uphold diversity. Participating in events like Reconciliation/Sorry Day and the International Day for Eliminating Racial Discrimination emphasizes a commitment to unity. Through collective effort, understanding, and education, Australia can inch closer to being a haven of inclusivity for all its residents.