Spikes in anti-Asian sentiment and discrimination against Indigenous, Jewish and Muslim groups since the COVID-19 outbreak have triggered moves for a new national framework to combat racism.
Incidents targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, amplified by the Black Lives Matter movement, and the rise of far-right extremism have also highlighted a need for change.
With no current coordinated national strategy to curb racism, the proposed framework – uniting governments, NGOs, businesses, educators, human rights agencies and civil society – sets out legislative improvements, and upgrades data collection and discrimination protections.
While the UK and the US have systems to collect data on racist incidents, Australia has no official statistics, instead adopting ad hoc indicators, all of which point to spikes in racism since the start of the pandemic.
Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan says there is limited understanding of anti-racism and racial equality measures and their impact across Australia, increasing the need for improved data collection, evaluation and sharing.
“A National Anti-Racism Framework will provide a central reference point for actions on anti-racism to be undertaken by all sections of Australian society,” Mr Chin told AAP.
“It will identify opportunities to address racism through coordinated strategies, set measurable anti-racism targets and provide tools and resources to address racism.