Research report

Racism and the tertiary student experience in Australia

13 Jul 2010

On 31 March 2010 a workshop was convened by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Australian Human Rights Commission and Universities Australia to locate and examine evidence within useful social science so that the issues relating to attacks on international students can be better understood and outcomes attained. The workshop sought to propose ways

  • to consider how to reduce race related crimes against international students;
  • to enhance the safety of international students in Australia; and
  • to develop the evidence base upon which policymakers and University administrators can act.

While there have been distressing acts of violence, Australia is generally regarded as a best practice country in its migration policies, absorption of people from a variety of backgrounds and its international student experiences. Notwithstanding a generally positive track record there is always room for improvement. Recent problems do show that such improvement must be forthcoming.

Public policy does not stand still, and a dynamic area such as this has continual policy adjustments and program changes. At the end of this paper is a list which refers readers to government responses and some of the policy work currently under way.

This paper is not meant to be a definitive policy piece, but rather a discussion starter as key stakeholders examine and debate a better way forward.

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