Indigenous Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar declared racism in Australia is 'alive and it's kicking'
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar has declared that racism in Australia is "alive and it's kicking" in response to comments by the nation's newly appointed race discrimination commissioner that Australia is not a racist country.
"I'm hearing from women and girls across the country … that racism is one of the key emerging issues," she said.
The Morrison Government's newly appointed race discrimination commissioner Chin Leong Tan has rejected claims that Australia is a racist country ahead of assuming his official role on Monday.
The lawyer has also revealed he will not use his position to solicit complaints.
But in an interview with the ABC's National Wrap program, Commissioner Oscar said that she will inform the new race discrimination commissioner of "encounters of institutional racism" that confront Indigenous peoples on a "daily basis".
Commissioner Oscar said she would work with Commissioner Tan to ensure that people were aware of the processes available to them when they do encounter experiences of vilification and discrimination.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA ARE SUBJECTED TO EVERYDAY RACISM
Data obtained by the ABC has revealed how Indigenous communities are being punished under a "racist" employment scheme.
Unemployed job seekers can be docked up to $50 per day for missing work-for-the-dole activities.
But statistics show that places with higher numbers of Indigenous participants were issued with more penalties.
Commissioner Oscar questioned why the sector is treated in this manner, offering a grassroots solution.
“I think we can help to address the employment and the active engagement of participants who are on this program by supporting local organisations and creating innovative work-for-the-dole programs informed by the people who live in these communities”, she said.
Commissioner Oscar has been travelling the country with the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women's Voices) project, which she hopes will "elevate" the voices of the nearly 2,000 women and girls she has encountered.
She identified "racist attitudes" experienced in public spaces like supermarkets as one of the key emerging issues raised, revealing her own personal encounters of "being watched and followed".
"Why would someone select to a focus on, you know, my right in accessing these public places and not others who may appear to look differently to myself?"
The Commissioner will head to the Torres Strait next week, continuing conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women after her most recent sessions in far north Queensland, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
The Women's Voices project's final report is expected to be handed down in mid-2019.
Source: ABC News