Racist views seen rising
A new survey shows an increasing number of people think Australia is a racist country.
The Australian Reconciliation Barometer plots shifting attitudes towards race and perceptions of reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The latest report (available here in PDF form) found both Indigenous people and the general community thought Australia was more racist now than just two years ago.
Fifty-seven per cent of Indigenous people and 39 per cent of the general community think Australia is a racist country, up from 48 per cent and 35 per cent respectively in 2014.
“Some serious issues … underpin some of the areas of why we can't move forward fast enough as we battle through as a nation,” Reconciliation Australia chief executive officer Justin Mohamed told the ABC.
“What we're seeing since the first survey in 2008 just after the National Apology to Stolen Generations is that whilst we've maintained a lot of goodwill since then, we aren't moving fast enough on issues of racism and trust.
“This is holding all Australians back from having positive relationships with each other.”
In the six months leading up the survey last August, 46 per cent of Indigenous Australians said they had experienced a form of racial prejudice — up from 39 per cent in 2014.
Mr Mohamed said it seems worrying, but could reflect a growing awareness of what racism actually is.
“There's been a fair bit of education about what is racism and we've seen the ads on television [and] within public transport,” he said.
“So I think people can call out racism or, when it happens, they say; ‘Well, that's exactly what it is, that's racism’.
“But the other side of it too, I think if you look at especially the last two years, there's been a number of incidents happen on sporting fields [and] on social media, which really highlights that there is a problem within the nation that needs to be addressed.”
The report found 93 per cent of Indigenous people and 77 per cent of the general community think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are important to Australia's national identity.
Mr Mohamed said institutional barriers to reconciliation need to be addressed.
“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.”