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History of the Racism. No way! project

The project first began as an initiative of the Conference of Education Systems Chief Executive Officers (CESCEO) in 1998. Educational content for the project was developed by Government State and Territory education systems, the National Catholic Education Commission, the National Council of Independent Schools’ Associations and the Commonwealth Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs. Funding to establish the project was provided by Government State and Territory education systems, the NSW Catholic Education Commission and the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs through the Living in Harmony initiative. Funding from the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training under the Quality Outcomes Programme also supported the establishment of the project.

The project was launched in October 2000 by the then Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Sir William Deane. Since then, the NSW Department of Education and Communities has continued to manage and maintain the project and develop new educational content which is published on this site. The work of the project continues to be supported by the expertise of teachers, parents and curriculum officers throughout Australia.

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Racism. No way!

A message from the…
former Governor-General, Sir William Deane 

Racism is cruel and unjust. It cuts deep and lingers long in individual and community memories. And it is not a thing of the past – it persists throughout the world and even in our own country. There are Australians young and old, from many different cultural, religious and language backgrounds, including communities whose members have lived in Australia from earliest times and those who frequently have recently arrived, who experience racism. We all have a duty to do what we can to turn this around.

Knowledge of the history and impact of racism is essential for understanding and change. It can be the spark that ignites action against racism by individuals and local communities. And education is the key to that process.

Schools play a critical role in developing young minds, building relationships between people of different backgrounds and creating a socially just civil society. From today’s generation of school students will come the community leaders of the future leaders to tackle the complexity of racism in all its forms.

Racism. No way! is about change. It asks us to reflect on our attitudes, to overcome our own prejudices and to challenge discrimination and racism. By linking students and schools across Australia, the Racism. No way! project has the potential to stimulate a nation-wide, and indeed global, challenge to racism led by Australia’s youth.

My hope is that Racism. No way! will give young people the knowledge, strength and conviction to fight racism wherever it occurs and to aspire to a world free of it.

I congratulate the governments and education systems of Australia for their vision in initiating this project and the anti-racism taskforce for making it a reality. I commend Racism. No way! to teachers and students, in the belief that the project will result in greater understanding and commitment to ending the evil of racism in our land.

Sir William Deane
Former Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia

A Message from the…
former Commonwealth Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock

Racism is wrong. Racism damages its victims and diminishes our whole community. Racism prevents people from actively participating in our society and from contributing their talents and skills to our development as a nation. One way of tackling racism effectively is to promote harmony amongst different groups in our society.

Australia is a nation built by people from many different cultural backgrounds. Diversity enriches us, it does not harm us. Everyone shares in the social and economic benefits of community harmony, but supporting it also takes commitment and effort from everyone – governments, individuals, families, communities and the corporate sector.

The Commonwealth Government’s Living in Harmony initiative, administered by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA), demonstrates the Commonwealth Government’s serious commitment to promoting community harmony. By supporting the Chief Executive Officers of the nation’s education systems in the development of the Racism. No way! project and website for schools, the Commonwealth Government is committed to encouraging young Australians to play their part in nurturing a tolerant, inclusive and harmonious community.

As an Australian, I am proud that I live in an accepting and harmonious society which remains free from the most serious forms of racial intolerance and disharmony. Our record of social harmony is the envy of many other countries around the world but we must not take for granted the values and principles that underline our harmonious and inclusive society. I believe it is important to encourage Australia’s youth to believe that there will never be a place in Australia for racial intolerance or disharmony.

I am proud that through the Living in Harmony initiative the Commonwealth has formed a partnership with the National Anti-racism in Education Taskforce to develop this website.

I commend the site to students and teachers as they go about their daily business of nurturing an educated, tolerant, inclusive and harmonious community.

Philip Ruddock
Former Commonwealth Minister of Australia