A 'fair go', inclusion and dignity for all

March 21, known as Harmony Day, was dedicated as a day for personal, national and international reflection. The focus of this day is dedicated to fundamental aspirations of the human heart and our relationships across the human family, writes Clare Condon SGS in The Good Oil.

To our shame, racial and ethnic discrimination occur on a daily basis here in Australia. Such racism and intolerance take many forms, from verbal abuse to physical violence to systemic social and educational disadvantage. It is particularly shameful, when racial and ethnic discrimination is embraced at the political level, when party political debate seeks to appeal to the lowest instinct in the Australian corporate psyche.

In recent days, we as a nation have experienced such abuse. There has been the ongoing campaign of pitting ‘Aussies’ against immigrant workers. There has been the demonising of asylum seekers for merely political capital after a criminal charge was laid against one asylum seeker in the community.

All this is based on the rhetoric of fear and hate that is engendered in the community. It is done so on the belief that racism already exists within each of us and that the community will respond to these accusations from this basis of fear of the other who is different.

If political leaders stoop to such low levels of racially-based discrimination, where do we Australian citizens turn for role models upholding the values of a ‘fair go’, inclusion and human dignity?

It seems that radio broadcasters and shock jocks are no better! The Sydney Morning Herald of last Saturday March 16 reported again about the Alan Jones episode of verbal abuse of Lebanese Muslims. The vile and destructive language he used is aimed at inciting hatred within the community and at creating sensationalism – all in the name of increasing ratings for his morning broadcasts.

Then there is the debate about free speech. The argument goes that free speech allows one to say anything about anyone, without reference to its truth. Free speech based on this premise is fallacious and indeed destructive of the social fabric of a community.

FULL STORY A 'fair go', inclusion and dignity for all (The Good Oil)