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Racism does exist: Aus official

world Updated: Jun 15, 2009 01:42 IST

Admitting that “racism” did exist in Australia, the country’s top official on race relations said the entire society was not affected by it.

He 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.

“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.

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

Australian High Commissioner in India John McCarthy said: “While our bilateral relationship with India, including talks over a free-trade agreement, would probably remain quarantined from the fallout, the new, negative perception of Australia would linger”.