Race Relations in Australia

1st of May 2010

In regard to its indigenous population and to non-European immigrants, Australia was a deeply racially divided country from its settlement until 1972, when the Whitlam government symbolically opened a new era in Australia’s race relations by abolishing the White Australia Policy. The bipartisan effort to reject the racist bias which had been official for most of Australia’s existence seemed threatened in the 1990s with the rise of Pauline Hanson and the successive elections of John Howard, partly thanks to his right-wing populist rhetoric. Recently, attacks on Indian students seem to have reignited the debate on the prominence of racism in Australia, and some have implied that Australia’s racist demons are on the rise again.

This seminar will discuss the current state of things: was the transition from an officially racist state to a multicultural one a success, or was the change too swift? What proportion of the population failed to embrace this shift? Do contemporary acts of racism simply represent a yearning for a return to a ‘golden past’?

Coordinator: Aurelien Mondon


Pamela Curr – refugee and human rights advocate, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Gary Foley – Indigenous activist and academic
Russell Marks – Researcher in Australian Politics and History
Aurelien Mondon – Researcher in Nationalism, Racism and Populism

For more detail please email: enquiries@melbournefreeuniversity.org