Date: 
Wednesday 31 October 2018

The Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan has told an international conference that he will use his five-year term to challenge racism, promote multicultural diversity and strengthen community and social cohesion.

Commissioner Tan has delivered his first address in his new role, to the International Metropolis Conference in Sydney, hosted by Settlement Services International, the Australian Multicultural Foundation and Multicultural NSW.

The event brings together academic, government and community leaders to discuss the theme ‘Global migration in turbulent times’.

Commissioner Tan said on race relations, times have rarely been more turbulent in recent memory.

“This week in Pittsburgh in the United States, the killing of eleven innocent people in a place of worship, has been described as the deadliest attack on Jewish people in American history.

“And we must, if we are to be honest, reflect on the increasing re-emergence of racial extremism in Australia, too. We have seen, far too often, the manifestations of emboldened racial supremacy movements and agitation, the language and messaging of which has spilled into mainstream public and political debate.

"As a successful multicultural society, we should be clear that there is no place for racial prejudice, discrimination, or intimidation. As Australians, we should consistently stand together to oppose racism and racial supremacy in any form.

Commissioner Tan said he looks forward to working with community leaders to tackle some common challenges.

“The success of Australia’s multiculturalism and immigration program should be acknowledged, celebrated and fostered. But our multicultural society is always evolving, as our country grows more diverse and welcomes migrants from many corners of the world.

“Our challenge is to make our multiculturalism resilient, so that no one is excluded or left behind”.

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the Racial Discrimination Act coming into force.

Commissioner Tan said he will use his role to promote community understanding and awareness about the Act.

“I appreciate and recognise that my role is fundamentally to protect and educate Australians against racism and racial discrimination in all forms and to advocate for equality of all Australians regardless of their race. I have a responsibility to help make sure that Australians are not abused, denigrated or denied equal and fair opportunities and rights, as Australians, because of their race.

“I do not take my new job as Race Discrimination Commissioner lightly, and I am aware that many Australians are putting their faith in me, and in this role, to do the job with passion and independence. I hope I will serve the Australian community well over the next five years,” Commissioner Tan said.