Racism has no place in Australia

If you witness or experience racial discrimination, harassment or hatred, don’t put up with it; report it.

Police assistance

  • If you are threatened with violence or violently attacked, contact the police.
  • Get to a safe location as soon as possible.
  • In an emergency or life threatening situation, call Triple Zero (000) and ask for police.
  • If you require police assistance, but there is no immediate danger, call the Police Assistance Line (131 444).

Racial hatred and the Australian Human Rights Commission

In Australia it is against the law to do something in public based on the race, colour, national or ethnic origin of a person or group of people which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate.

Examples of racial hatred may include:

  • racially offensive material on the internet, including eforums, blogs, social networking sites and video sharing sites
  • racially offensive comments or images in a newspaper, magazine or other publication such as a leaflet or flyer
  • racially offensive speeches at a public rally
  • racially abusive comments in a public place, such as a shop, workplace, park, on public transport or at school
  • racially abusive comments at sporting events by players, spectators, coaches or officials.

The law aims to strike a balance between the right to communicate freely (‘freedom of speech’) and the right to live free from racial hatred. In some circumstances actions may not be against the law if they are “done reasonably and in good faith”.

If you experience racial hatred you can make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission. The complaint process is simple, free and flexible.

To lodge a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission, visit www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints.

National Information Service

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Information Service (NIS) provides information and referrals for individuals, organisations and employers about a range of human rights and discrimination issues. This service is free and confidential.

The NIS can:

  • give you information about your rights and responsibilities under federal human rights and anti-discrimination law
  • discuss whether you may be able to make a complaint to the Commission or how the law might apply to your situation
  • give you information about how to make a complaint, respond to a complaint or deal with specific discrimination issues
  • refer you to another organisation that may be able to help you

Please note that the NIS is unable to provide legal advice.

You can contact the NIS by:

Translating and Interpreting Service

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) is an interpreting service for people who do not speak English. The majority of TIS National services are free to non-English speakers.

Counselling and Mental Health Wellbeing

A new 24/7 support service specifically designed to help people through the COVID-19 pandemic is available free of charge to all Australians.

The support service can be accessed through the website https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/

For personal crisis and mental health support services you can contact Beyond Blue on 1800 512 348 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 at any time. 

Kids Helpline is a free service for young people aged 5 to 25. Kids, teens and young adults can call 1800 551 800 at any time.