Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 September 2022) . . Page.. 2702 ..
aspect of their lives. In fact, if you plot their daily routines in their neighbourhoods, at the bus stop, on public transport, at school, at work, online and during extra curricula activities, racism occurs in every one of them.
Sadly, a strong theme is that adults are ill-equipped to properly deal with instances of racism. One young person described adults as being suspiciously quiet when it comes to racism. Children and young people who report instances are told to walk away, and they feel that their experiences are dismissed or diminished or that nothing is done to address the underlying issue. One person said:
We get told to go to authority figures or someone you trust. And they do nothing about it.
Children and young people who have engaged with this consultation have also provided a rich pool of ideas and suggestions about what might need to change to better address racism. These range from having specific anti-racism frameworks in schools to opening up conversations about racism and, more importantly, anti-racism training and learning from an early age.
They were also clear that adults need to be better able to respond when children and young people come to them. Listening to and learning from children and young people makes for good policy, more effective service delivery and, ultimately, better outcomes. We need to make sure that children and young people know they will be taken seriously when they raise important issues. Racism is too important an issue for us to not listen to them.
I look forward to the final report from the Children and Young People Commissioner. In the meantime, we adults, particularly those in positions where it is possible to make a difference, are on notice. Children and young people are calling on us to fight the scourge of racism, which has no place in our society. We need to actively fight against racism. The Welcoming Cities standard requires that the ACT government demonstrate how it is supporting initiatives that empower individuals to prevent and respond effectively to racism and discrimination. We owe it to our young people to do just that.
In closing, I want to draw attention to a particularly impressive young person, who happens to be my nephew, who is sitting in the gallery behind me. Oscar, thank you very much for taking the opportunity to come and join us here today. I hope that I can represent you and your generation in combating racism, plus many other causes. Thank you.
Mr Mark O’Neill
MS BURCH (Brindabella) (5.30): I rise today to make a few comments about Mark O’Neill. Mark passed away on 7 September this year. Mark was a big man in many respects. He was a loving family man to his wife, Lizzie, and daughter, Danielle, who live here in the ACT. Mark was a loyal member of the Labor Party and a member of the Lanyon sub-branch since the early 1990s. He was one of the first people I met when I joined Lanyon and he has been a constant ever since. Mark was a keen warrior at election time and told many stories of times on the stalls. He was a solid