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Racial Discrimination - Interview Excerpt

Zita Antonios.

Zita Antonios speaks on problems with Racial Discrimination in the community and society.

Created:

1995

Date Added:

25 June 2002

Source:

Interview for Making Multicultural Australia

Format:

mov (Quicktime);

File size:

--

Length:

52secs

Transcript

ZITA ANTONIOS
Race Discrimination Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

The existence of the Racial Discrimination Act itself says something in the community. It says something about what this society holds as important and what this society feels about racism. And I donít think we can discount that.

For individuals, and over the past twenty years there have been over ten thousand people who have lodged complaints seeking redress. For those people, they've had an avenue, a remedy.

The Act, in many ways, is deficient in dealing with collective rights, group rights. When the Act was made in 1975, people were thinking very much in that individual western model of one to one. And so the Act in many ways is quite difficult to work with when one needs to address systemic discrimination, group action.

CONTINUATION OF INTERVIEW AS TEXT

I was appointed around the twentieth anniversary of the Act, and after twenty years, while it is important to recognise the good things, the gains, there is unfortunately, quite significant room for change...

I'd say that one of the gains of having the Racial Discrimination Act is that it has provided funding, it has provided a vehicle for community education activities that would never occur in the absence of legislation. And I think too many people forget that when they make their critical comments about the Act. This Act has been responsible for some major inquiries and some major public awareness of issues that would not have come about if the Racial Discrimination Act was not in existence.

Interview for Making Multicultural Australia, 1995.