‘Re-imagining Australia’ on Human Rights Day
The Commission celebrated International Human Rights Day with a Q&A event at the Perth State Library with a panel of human rights experts. Moderated by Victoria Laurie, the event was titled Re-imagining Australia’ and was co-hosted with Curtin University’s Centre for Human Rights Education.
The event provoked spirited discussion on race discrimination experienced by refugees, Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, and the marginalisation and exclusion experienced by people with disability and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex community.
Panellist Stephen Goodall, an Aboriginal man, described the appalling conditions many young Aboriginal people are living in.
Professor of Suvendrini Perera said Australia's colonial past played a significant role in establishing systems that exacerbated racial inequality.
Disability advocate Samantha Connor said ordinary Australians had the power to make a difference to the attitudes of the wider community. This sentiment was echoed by the other panellists, who encouraged the audience to speak up against discrimination and harassment.
Rabia Siddique asked the audience to confront the 'arrogant ignorance' of people who thought it was their right to speak in an appalling way. She said, "We need to stand up and speak out, write articles and letters to the editor. As parents it is our responsibility to teach our children tolerance and kindness".