The Malaysian-born lawyer turned academic believes its a misconception to say ‘Australia is a racist country’.
“There are obviously racial challenges many countries would have,” he told SBS News.
“But it’s not the same as equating the whole nation as being racist.”
“I’ve always espoused the view that Australia, compared to many other countries around the world, has a far better system, in the sense that it is a non-discriminatory system right across, and that has given us the backbone to be able to find opportunities in this country as well.”
But he said to ensure that remains the case means ensuring equality in access to opportunities for individuals.
“I think education is an important element about defeating, combating, tackling racism. The counterpart arrangement is to ensure that we provide opportunities for people to get ahead financially, economically, socially.
“And this an important factor to help people to feel independent, confident in themselves. And to be able, therefore, in many ways, help tackle racism.”
He said it is regrettable that the office of race discrimination commissioner has become politicised, and he urged politicians to be more respectful when speaking on potentially divisive issues.
“Respect is terribly important to help engender that balanced capacity to be able to be sure that we don’t divide,” he said, adding that it also important that Australian society is robust enough to handle debate.
– Biwa Kwan, Sunil Awasthi
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