• The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights has handed down its report on changes to the Racial Discrimination Act (AAP)
Nova Peris says she is not surprised that more Indigenous Australians are reporting experiences of racism, and that 'systemic change' is needed.
By
Rachael Hocking

Source:
AAP
9 Feb 2017 - 8:56 AM  UPDATED 9 Feb 2017 - 3:57 PM

A survey of 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders conducted late last year found 46 per cent of respondents had experienced racism in the past six months - up from 39 per cent in 2014.

Only 18 per cent of about 2300 people surveyed from the general population for the Australian Reconciliation Barometer described experiencing racism over the same period.

Results which do not surprise former Labor Senator, Nova Peris. 

"If you want significant change it's gotta come from the top... there needs to be systemic change,"she told NITV.

"Whether it's in government departments, in corporations. The AFL were very slow to react in response to the racial discrimination that Adam Goodes endured." 

Nova Peris is no stranger to racism. She was on the receiving end of vile hate-mail and social media posts just last year. 

Including one incident where a former NSW Liberal Party member subjected Ms Peris to a vile Facebook tirade.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Man pleads guilty over racist Facebook tirade against Nova Peris
A former NSW Liberal Party member has pleaded guilty to charges relating to a racist tirade on outgoing NT Senator Nova Peris’ Facebook page.

Ms Peris shared screen grabs of Mr Nelson’s comments and her response where she stated that she wants to highlight ‘the ugly side of this country as I have always done’.

Despite what the former senator calls 'good will' in the community, Ms Peris says efforts to water down the Racial Discrimination Act contribute to a racist society. 

"What do people want to say that they can't already say about Aboriginal people? You know, when do our political leaders, our Prime Ministers get up and say enough's enough?"

"Why do we want to weaken the discrimination laws? Is it because we want to give the green light to hate laws, to bigotry?" she said. 

“The reality is, that unless goodwill is followed through with significant reform at an institutional level, Australia will continue to fall short of its full potential as a reconciled nation.”

Reconciliation Australia chief executive Justin Mohamed echoed her sentiments, saying the results proved Australia was not moving fast enough to curb racism.

Attempts were afoot to weaken race-hate speech laws, the constitution still allowed for racial discrimination, and Australia was yet to implement its obligations under the UN declaration of rights of indigenous people.

"The reality is, that unless goodwill is followed through with significant reform at an institutional level, Australia will continue to fall short of its full potential as a reconciled nation," he said.

Mohamed says part of the problem is that we aren’t addressing racism at an institutional level.

"Attempts to weaken legal protections under the Racial Discrimination Act are ongoing; Australia is yet to implement its international obligations under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the Australian Constitution still allows for racial discrimination in our nation’s founding document,” he said.

“The reality is, that unless goodwill is followed through with significant reform at an institutional level, Australia will continue to fall short of its full potential as a reconciled nation.”

Racism remains a barrier to reconciliation: Facts

 

  • Many Australians (57% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and 39% Australians in the general Australian community) agree Australia is a racist country.
  • Almost half (46%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians say they trust other Australians, but only 1 in 5 (19%) of the general Australian community think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians trust them. 
  • Almost all Australians (97% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and 89% Australians in the general community) believe the relationship is important.  
  • Most Australians agree that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are important to Australia’s national identity (93% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and 77% Australians in the general community).

 

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES:
The markers of everyday racism in Australia
Government signage, high fences and picnic areas without toilet facilities or lights, does certain public material make particular groups feel excluded?
Racism is a reality, not just a TV show
A shocking video has emerged showing a man racially abusing Aboriginal women and telling them to go back to the bush where they came from.
COMMENT: Can racism ever be casual?
In Australia, most of us have heard of the phrase ‘casual racism’. According to the Human Rights Commission it refers to 'conduct involving negative stereotypes or prejudices about people on the basis of race, colour or ethnicity' – which sounds a lot like racism, and doesn’t seem particularly casual either, at least not from the perspective of those on the receiving end.
There is no best way to respond to racism
COMMENT: The best way to respond to racism is a question that comes up from time to time, particularly when someone is celebrated for a particularly clever, humble, or humane response in the face of overwhelming racism.