Australia's racism exposed

October 19, 2009

Wake up Australia. Do not trivialise the racist attitudes coming from various sectors of our society.

As an Aboriginal teacher, as recently as 2007 in a private country school, I was beset by students, teachers and management over a 40-week period and I complained about racist treatment.

Their conduct against me was seen to be consistent with racist methodology applied by organised racist movements.

In its 1991 Report of the National Inquiry into Racist Violence in Australia, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission noted (page 202) that "many people who gave evidence before the Inquiry alleged that intimidatory tactics employed by extremists included abusive phone calls and hate mail; attacks on private property and visits to the homes of anti-racist activists; disruption of meetings, distribution of inflammatory, racist literature <193> and occasionally physical violence". All of the above happened to me.

The report further records (pages 197-202) the existence of several organised racist groups in Australia including the "Australian Nationalist Movement", the "League of Rights" and "National Action".

National Action was known to operate under front names, including the "Australian Populist Movement" an offshoot of National Action whose leader is a known swastika- wearing Nazi.

In recent times, regular reports came from Aboriginal people who expressed concern about racist organisations in the country.

As recently as November 2007, in the Barmah forest north of Shepparton, Victoria, a well-respected Aboriginal man came across a camp of about 300 Ku Klux Klan people dressed in full regalia while he was jogging through the forest.

Similarly in Echuca, Victoria, at the Barooga Aboriginal farm, up to five Aboriginal people witnessed, on a house boat, KKK-dressed people, who yelled obscenities at the Aboriginals on the riverbank.

The Australian government has moved against Aboriginal people and communities in the Northern Territory and, in a racist act, has denied them civil and political rights, removed them from lands and quarantined funds. This sets precedents to be carried out against other Australians.

Speakers from the NT opposed to the intervention are on a speaking tour of universities and unions. They will take part in the protest marches to stop the racism and to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975, so the government may not continue to deny the full rights of Aboriginal Australians.

The Australian government must adhere to the signed United Nations treaty whereby it promised to preserve and protect the "civil and political right of its people"(including Aboriginal people).

The government also signed a second UN treaty agreeing to "eliminate all forms of racial discrimination" including against Aboriginal people.

The government cannot be seen to breach its own treaties and break the law. It must uphold the law at all times. We need to keep the government honest. The government must take the consequences for its racist conduct — racism must not be trivialised.

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