Victoria has seen a dramatic rise in race-based discrimination reports over the past twelve months, according to new figures from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
In a year-on-year comparison, race-related reports via the Commission’s public enquiry line rose by 34%, with formally-lodged complaints rising by 76%.
The Commission handles enquiries and complaints relating to discrimination, racism and harassment under Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act 2010. It gathers race-related reports from three sources: via an enquiry line, via formal complaints, and via face-to-face community consultation.
Compared by financial year (2016-17 to 2017-18), race-related enquiry-line reports are up by 34% (470 to 630) while formal complaints are up by 76% (77 to 136).
Comparing six month periods, the rise in formal complaints was even larger at 129%, with 33 complainants alleging discrimination on the basis of race in the first half of 2017 rising to 75 in the first half of 2018.
The rise follows inflammatory race-related political statements and reporting in January of this year, revived again last week by some media outlets.
Today’s figures suggest that a racially-charged atmosphere persists long after the headlines have faded.
“This sudden jump in race-related discrimination reports should be a wake-up call for politicians who have made racially divisive statements,” said Commissioner Kristen Hilton. “Linking skin colour and crime causes more problems than it solves.”
“Victoria is one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world, and a great place to live. The majority of Victorians who champion multiculturalism should not have to put up with journalists and politicians undermining their communities and workplaces with racially-divisive rhetoric. They deserve better.”
If you have experienced discrimination or sexual harassment, you can contact the Commisson for information or to make a complaint: 1300 292 153 or email email@example.com.
Notes for editors:
The following is a breakdown of the Commission’s available figures on race-related reports, gathered from our enquiry line and via our formal complaint mechanism.
The Commission has used enquiry-line figures as the lead indicator, because the data pool is larger; we know that communities who are particularly vulnerable will often decline to progress their enquiry to a formal complaint.
Enquiry Line reports - 12 month year-on-year comparison
1/7/2016 to 30/6/2017 -470 contacts reported discrimination on the basis of race
1/7/2017 to 30/6/2018 - 630 contacts reported discrimination on the basis of race
This is a 34% increase.
Complaints – 12 month year-on-year comparison
1/7/2016 to 30/6/2017 - 77 complainants alleged discrimination on the basis of race
1/7/2017 to 30/6/2018 - 136 complainants alleged discrimination on the basis of race
This is a 76% increase in complainants alleging they have been treated unfavourably due to their race. The highest areas of complaint are within employment (50%) and in provision of goods and services (38%).
Complaints – 6 month year-on-year comparison
1/1/2017 to 26/6/2017 - 33 complainants alleged discrimination on the basis of race
1/1/2018 to 26/6/2018 - 75 complainants alleged discrimination on the basis of race
This is a 129% increase.
VEOHRC media contact:
Kat O’Shea: 0459 114 657 / kat.o’firstname.lastname@example.org