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'Racism does exist in Oz but entire society not affected'

india Updated: Jun 14, 2009 19:37 IST
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Admitting that “racism” did exist in Australia, the country’s top official on race relations on Sunday said the entire society was not affected by it but warned that the recent spate of attacks on Indians might hurt education market and other areas of trade.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tom Calma said Australia could not allow a repeat of what happened in the 1990s, when racial comments by politician Pauline Hanson enraged people across Asia.

He said attacks on Indian students in Australia had the potential to hurt the students market as well as other trade.

“We need to recognise that racism does exist in Australia. It doesn’t mean the whole society is racist but it does exist with individual’s actions and small group actions,” he was quoted as saying by Channel 10.

“It’s important that we all accept that, understand and start to develop the frameworks to address it into the future and not be reactive but be pro-active. That is really what I think we are lacking at this stage,” he said.

Thirteen Indians have been attacked in Australia in less than a month, prompting angry reactions from the community.

Australia’s top diplomat in India has admitted that the spate of attacks on Indians in his country had “damaged” bilateral ties.