Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan on Thursday issued a warning about “emboldened racial supremacy movements” sweeping the country.
In his first speech since assuming the position in October, Tan, a Malaysian-born lawyer, addressed the recent mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh,U.S., which was allegedly committed by a white supremacist.
“According to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data, hate crimes continue to be perpetrated, with increasing frequency, against minority groups, including African-Americans, Jews and Muslims,” Tan said.
Addressing the rise of the movement in Australia, Tan said there is “no place” for it.
“We have seen, far too often, the manifestations of emboldened racial supremacy movements and agitation, the language and messaging of which has spilled over even into mainstream public and political debate,” he said.
“As a successful multicultural society, we should be clear on this: there is no place for racial prejudice, discrimination or intimidation in our society.
“As Australians, we should consistently stand together to oppose racism and racial supremacy in any form or representation.”
Tan’s predecessor Tim Soutphommasane, who assumed office in 2013 – 2018 used his final speech in the role in August to criticise Australia’s politicians and media.
He declared that “race politics is back” and saying there has “never been a more exciting time to be a dog-whistling politician or race-baiting commentator in Australia.”
Upon beginning his five-year term in October Tan rejected his predecessor’s claim that Australia was a racist country and said he would take a different approach to the role than the outspoken Soutphommasane.
He said on Thursday that his priority would be to analyze the relationship between racism and economic and social inequality.
“The unfortunate truth is there are conspicuous economic and social disparities between racial groups in Australia.
“We should acknowledge this, look at possible related issues and work on finding some solutions together, as one of the ways to tackle racism,” Tan said.