Essential Report

Can we stamp out racism?

Jun 5, 2012

Dr Helen Szoke explains that people need to learn how to identify and react to racism in social settings.

For the past decade, Australia has become the home of multiculturalism. Half of us were born overseas. In city suburbs Gen Y mixes easily with different nationalities and cultures. The fight against racism appears to have been won. Or has it?

The Racial Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Helen Szoke, tells 3Q racism is still a pervasive problem in Australia, with ethnic minorities and Indigenous people continuing to experience discrimination in subtle and not so subtle ways.

Read a transcript of a recent interview with Dr Szoke on the issue.

Unless they’re celebrating their ethnic diversity through a weekend festival or harmony day at their local school, most Australians want people to drop obvious cultural ties.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is developing a national anti-racism strategy to educate the public on what constitutes racism and how it can be prevented and reduced.

Interests Represented by Parties

May 30, 2011

Q. Which political party do you think best represents the interests of –

Labor Liberal Greens Don’t know
Families with young children 34% 31% 5% 29%
Students 30% 28% 10% 33%
Working people on average incomes 40% 32% 5% 23%
Working people on low incomes 43% 27% 6% 24%
Working people on high incomes 13% 63% 2% 22%
People on welfare 38% 23% 8% 30%
Pensioners 33% 28% 5% 34%
Small businesses and self-employed 20% 47% 4% 29%
Big business 13% 62% 2% 23%
The next generation of Australians 19% 31% 17% 33%
Indigenous people 23% 21% 16% 40%
Ethnic communities 22% 21% 15% 42%
Rural and regional Australians 18% 34% 11% 36%

The Labor Party is considered the party which best represents the interests of working people on low and average incomes, people on welfare and pensioners. The Liberal Party is considered best at representing the interests of people on high incomes, big business, small business and self-employed, rural and regional Australians and the next generation. The Greens’ main strengths are in representing the next generation, indigenous people and ethnic communities.

There was little difference between the major parties in terms of representing the interests of families with young children, students, indigenous people and ethnic communities.

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Importance of National Issues

Nov 30, 2009

Q. How important are the following issues for Australia?

Total important Very important Somewhat important Not very important Not at all important Don’t know
Reaching a global agreement on climate change 74% 44% 30% 9% 13% 4%
Having a Bill of Rights 63% 29% 34% 18% 11% 8%
Gaining a seat on the UN Security Council 59% 20% 39% 20% 13% 8%
Having a treaty with indigenous Australians 56% 23% 33% 20% 19% 5%
Having a referendum on becoming a republic 41% 17% 24% 25% 29% 5%

Reaching a global agreement on climate change was considered very/somewhat important for Australia by 74% of people surveyed.   63% think that having a Bill of Rights is very/somewhat important and 59% think Australia gaining a seat on the UN Security Council is very/somewhat important.

Green (94%) and Labor (87%) voters were more likely to think that reaching a global agreement on climate change is very/somewhat important for Australia.  Just over half (55%) of Coalition voters think that this is very/somewhat important for Australia.

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