Recent comments by Palmer United Party Senators Jacqui Lambie and Clive Palmer may exacerbate racism in Australia as well as harm international relations, said Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW President Stepan Kerkyasharian on Thursday, 21 August.
“There are many people of Chinese background in Australia who are making a huge contribution to our society,” Mr Kerkyasharian said.
“Such comments about Chinese people, or people of any race, are offensive to the community as a whole and against the spirit of anti-discrimination legislation,” he added.
Mr Kerkyasharian said that politicians of all persuasions should be setting an example and working towards making Australia harmonious and productive. “Remarks like this from a Member of Parliament send the message that stereotyping has a legitimate place in public discourse,” he added.
Mr Kerkyasharian said that he was concerned that people who hold racist views may feel more free to express their opinions and act on them in ways which are damaging to individuals and to our society.
“Also people of a Chinese background who are living in Australia may feel less welcome and less confident about taking an active role in the community,” he added.
“We have had anti-discrimination laws in place for nearly 40 years in NSW, and for good reason. We need our leaders and representatives to be positive about what people of all backgrounds can and do achieve for our country as a whole,” said Mr Kerkyasharian.