The possibility that Australia has become a more racist country, especially in relation to international students, will be explored by the Race Discrimination Commissioner today (13 October) in a special plenary session.
Graeme Innes will attend the session, titled A Diverse Australia: Racism, Multiculturalism and International Education, at the Australian International Education Conference at the Sydney Convention Centre.
"The session will look at international education in the context of broader society, considering the changing level of racism and discrimination and the failure of governments to attend to these issues," said Innes.
With a focus on the international student experience, both domestically and globally, Innes and other panellists will discuss whether we have become a less tolerant society and consider the challenges for multiculturalism and diversity in Australia.
"As our news headlines and academic research have shown in recent times, some international students face serious and multiple risks that compromise their safety and their overall study experience in Australia," he said.
"I will be looking at the extent to which the absence of a multicultural policy in our country over the last decade may be a contributing factor."
Innes said he will also discuss the work of the Australian Human Rights Commission, both here and internationally, and will explain why international students have become one of the Commission's key focus areas.
Exploring the approaches that governments, educational institutions and the community should be taking, as well as the alliances that could be forged between different groups to improve attitudes toward, and the experiences of, international students, will also be on the agenda.
Convened by Jenny Brockie, host of SBS's Insight program, other panellists include Professor Margaret Gardner AO, Dr Casta Tungaraza, Robert Atcheson, Professor Fazal Rizvi and Professor Andrew Jakubowicz.