Members Statement: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

22 Mar 2023

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In this Members Statement, I spoke on the need to fight against racism and discrimination on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 


Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is observed on the day 69 people were killed by the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, at a peaceful demonstration against the pass laws that continued the apartheid regime against people of colour. To know that those laws were only repealed in 1986 is another reminder that we cannot celebrate harmony when people continue to be oppressed because of racism. Today is a day to reflect on and commend the progress we have made, progress that means that even people like me can serve in a parliament in a colonised place like Australia. But more importantly it must be a date to acknowledge the work we have left to do.

The events of the weekend in Melbourne remind us in the most horrific way of the mammoth task we have left. I have heard some people try to minimise what happened by saying it was some people in black T-shirts playing games, but neo-Nazis are anything but a game. Maybe those who do not have to prepare for what they would do if confronted by one of those thugs may see it as such, but people like us do, because we are the target of their threats. What we saw on the weekend was the convergence of hate groups, and we know that the far right have form. They target minority and vulnerable communities and go after them. Now they are targeting our trans and gender-diverse communities, and we will not stand by and let that happen. Today we remember that racism and discrimination morph over time and join forces with other forms of hate. They festers in equivalence. They thrives in our silence. We must speak up. We must act.

This Members Statement was delivered on March 21st, 2023.

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