Racism

13 May 2020

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (15:43): Before moving general business notice of motion No. 534, I wish to inform the chamber that Senators Keneally and Walsh will also sponsor the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators Keneally and Walsh, move:

That the Senate—

(a) recognises Australians are living through an extraordinary challenge for our society and our economy;

(b) notes that:

   (i) the actions taken by our leaders have been necessary to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic to save lives but they have had a significant impact on all of our lives,

   (ii) COVID-19 has nothing to do with race or nationality–and neither fear of the virus nor frustration at the difficulties we all face are excuses for abusing people based on race, nationality or ethnicity,

   (iii) since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been persistent reports of racist abuse and discrimination aimed at people of Chinese and other Asian backgrounds reflected in a spike in racial discrimination complaints to the Human Rights Commission, and

   (iv) the reported racist incidents harm our collective wellbeing at a time when we need to be working together with social cohesion being more important now than ever;

(c) condemns these incidents of racism in the strongest possible terms;

(d) urges all people in Australia to show kindness and support each other in these difficult times; and

(e) calls on the Federal Government to implement a national strategy to combat racism. (general business notice of motion no.534)

Question agreed to.

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