Murdoch University has been recognised as a leader in the fight against racism following a visit from Australia’s new Race Discrimination Commissioner.
Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke met with Murdoch University’s Manager of Equal Opportunity and Social Justice Dr Casta Tungaraza to discuss the development and delivery of the inaugural National Anti-Racism Partnership Strategy, which is a significant part of Australia’s new multicultural policy, The People of Australia.
The Australian Human Rights Commission is working with Government, independent bodies and representative NGOs to develop and implement the strategy.
Dr Szoke said: “To make multiculturalism work, we have to confront racist attitudes. The creation of this partnership of key government agencies and community organisations will form a powerful opportunity to build preventative strategies to reduce racism.
“We really need to understand that each new group of migrants has a different set of challenges, opportunities and contributions that they are going to make to Australia and we need to be smart in terms of how we respond to that. By nurturing custom, history and language, we only make that contribution stronger.”
Dr Tungaraza said Murdoch University was well placed to contribute to the strategy. She briefed the Commissioner on the national Murdoch Agenda, developed and adopted last year at the National Symposium on Racism hosted by Murdoch University. The agenda, which was sent to the Australian Human Rights Commission following the symposium, aims to eliminate racism.
“Murdoch has a long standing commitment to equity and social justice. For over a decade now, Murdoch has taken the initiative of organising events that facilitate dialogue, take stock of the best practice, create partnerships, and develop strategies to fight racism,” she said.
“We are dedicated to working with the Australian Human Rights Commission to ensure we eliminate any racial discrimination.
“This issue requires a multi-layered approach and long-term commitment at the local level as well as complementary national efforts. This is critical if we are to achieve social cohesion and as an education institution we recognise the important role we have to play.”
Dr Szoke has invited Dr Tungaraza to attend a briefing in Sydney on December 8 to explore the implications of research and practice on the development of an anti-racism strategy for Australia.
The National Anti-Racism Partnership Strategy is expected to be launched around July 2012 with implementation of the strategy rolled out from 2012-2015.