Source:
SBS
10 Apr 2003 - 12:00 AM  UPDATED 23 Aug 2013 - 9:01 AM

In an effort to combat the problem of racism in Australia, the Governor of New South Wales, Professor Marie Bashir launched the 'Fair Go Australia' program.

The program is supported by the New South Wales, Queensland and Victorian governments.

It is a long-term effort to change negative attitudes towards different groups in Australia with initiatives including diversity education in schools and an informational web site.

Program CEO, Alan Gold says the prime purpose of 'Fair Go' is to put an end to stereotypes, which he calls the root cause of racism.

"By looking at groups and by not understanding them, by having no knowledge of who they are or their culture or their background, what you do is you build up ideas."

"You take on the old stereotypes, the old stereotypical denegrations of them, and you accept those as truth, and what we want to do is to show the value of each and every group that exists in Australia. All 200 of them."

Mr Gold says although racism has existed in Australia for a long time, tensions stemming from the war in Iraq make the timing of the 'Fair Go' launch particularly appropriate.

"There is still going to be a lot of racism in the world. Racism against the Jewish community, against the Arabic community, the Islamic community generally."

"There's going to be a rise in fundamentalism. We just know that this is going to happen, and that's going to cause a lot of hatred towards different groups. There has never been a better time or a more important time for us to launch fair go Australia than today."

Governor Bashir says minorities are not the only Australians who will benefit from the Fair Go Program.

She says racist attitudes degrade every Australian and everyone should work to combat them.

"Every individual who considers themselves to be an Australian must actively contribute to the way forward. New directives which will grow from Fair Go Australia will benefit everyone in our nation and we shall achieve a model of harmony which will demonstrate to the world that it can be done."

Fair Go will officially be introduced to the public tonight at the Sydney Opera House when ten ethnic choirs come together in the free "Voices in Harmony" concert.