- State of the world’s Indigenous People documented globally
- Launch of the United Nation’s first report on The State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
- New ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner’ starts
- Mick Gooda, descendant of the Gangulu people of Central Queensland begins his five-year term as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner.
- Vindaloo against Violence
- Vindaloo Against Violence: Thousands of Australians show their support for Indian communities by eating at their local Indian restaurants throughout Australia.
- Indigenous peoples written into State Constitution
- The Queensland Parliament passes legislation to recognise Indigenous people as the first Queenslanders in the preamble to the State’s Constitution.
- Andrew Forrest launches Generation One
- Australia’s richest man, Andrew Forrest, launches Generation One, a campaign that aims to encourage all Australians to help end Indigenous disadvantage.
- Summit on cyber racism
- The Australian Human Rights Commission and the Internet Industry Australia co-host the Cyber Racism summit in Sydney.
- Australian Multicultural Affairs Council launches The People of Australia
- The People of Australia, the Australian Multicultural Affairs Council’s statement on cultural diversity and its recommendations to government, is presented to Australian government ministers for immigration and multicultural affairs at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum.
- National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
- National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples launched, becoming the first national Indigenous representative body to be established since the dismantling of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in 2005.
- Victorian Premier supports multicultural growth
- The Victorian Premier and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, John Brumby announces support to the value of $12 million would be provided for the development of cultural precincts as part of the Cultural Precincts and Community Infrastructure Fund in the state budget.
- Julia Gillard becomes Australia’s first female Prime Minister
- Julia Gillard takes over leadership of the Australian Labor Party from Kevin Rudd: becoming Australia’s first female Prime Minister.
- First Aboriginal Australian elected to House of Representatives
- Ken Wyatt, a Liberal from Hasluck in Western Australia, becomes the first Aboriginal Australian elected to the House of Representatives.
- Expanding community – based detention arrangements are announced
- Responding to community concern expanded community-based detention arrangements (formally known as residence determination) for unaccompanied minors and vulnerable families are announced by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.
- Involuntary repatriation of failed Afghan asylum-seekers
- The Australian Government signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Afghanistan, permitting the involuntary repatriation of failed Afghan asylum-seekers from Australia to Afghanistan, including unaccompanied minors and other Afghan children who have become separated from their families.
- NSW Department of Education and Training’s Anti-Racism Policy
- The Manager of Multicultural programs, NSW Department of Education and Training, publishes online the department’s Anti-Racism Policy which commits the department to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination in its schools and worksites.
- The People of Australia-Australia’s Multicultural Policy launched
- With advice from the Australian Multicultural Affairs Council, the Australian Government announces a new multicultural policy, The People of Australia, which recognises the breadth and diversity of Australian society and reaffirms the government’s support for a culturally diverse and socially cohesive nation. The policy has four principles with supporting initiatives.
- Minister delivers on government commitment
- The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship announces that the Australian Government has delivered on its commitment to move the majority of children in immigration detention into community-based arrangements.
- Research highlights refugee contributions
- A research report by Dr Graeme Hugo, one of Australia’s leading demographers, is released, highlighting the many economic, civic and social contributions made by refugees and humanitarian entrants to Australian society.
- Government signs ‘Malaysia Arrangement’
- The Australian Government signs an arrangement with the Malaysian Government to transfer 800 asylum seekers who arrive by boat in Australia to Malaysia, in return for Australia resettling 4,000 refugees out of Malaysia over the next four years. The policy is condemned by NGOs in Australia and around the world.
- High Court rejects Malaysia arrangement
- The High Court of Australia rules that Australia’s transfer arrangement with Malaysia cannot proceed due to the absence of legal protections for refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia.
- Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion Report 2011 launched
- The Scanlon Foundation releases the Mapping Social Cohesion Report 2011. The report examines people’s attitudes on a range of topics from social harmony, immigration, asylum seekers, intolerance, and trust in government. It confirms that more than 94 per cent of respondents have a strong sense of belonging and a majority support policies that foster and maintain a shared sense of community.
- RCOA celebrates its 30th anniversary
- The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them celebrates its 30th anniversary. RCOA’s own work is centred around five key areas: policy, support for refugees, support for its members, community education and administration.
- UNHCR commemorates convention anniversaries
- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) commemorates the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Statelessness Convention.
- Number of places in the Migration Program increases
- The number of places available in the Migration Program for 2012–13 is 190 000, which is 5000 more than the 2011–12 planning level. Of the 5000 places, 3400 are allocated to the Skilled stream. This is to help meet the demand for skilled migrants.
- Australia’s policy of mandatory detention
- May 6 marks the 20th anniversary of Australia’s policy of mandatory detention.
- Asylum seekers and crew loss of life reaches 964
- From late 2001 to June this year, 964 asylum seekers and crew have been lost at sea on boats carrying asylum seekers to Australia. Of these, 604 people have lost their lives since October 2009.
- Prime Minister seeks advice to safeguard asylum seekers
- The Prime Minister invites the former chief of Australia’s defence force to lead an expert panel to report on the best way forward for Australia to prevent asylum seekers risking their lives on dangerous boat journeys to Australia.
- Stronger Futures legislation passed by senate
- The Stronger Futures policy, a multifaceted social policy of the Australian government concerning the aboriginal population of the Northern Territory is passed by the Senate. The policy intends to address key issues that exist within these communities such as unemployment, school attendance and enrollment, alcohol abuse, community safety and child protection, food security, and housing and land reforms. Several years of similar initiatives have preceded the policy, including the Building Stronger Regions, Stronger Futures policy, New Local Government policy, and the Northern Territory Emergency Response Act.
- National Anti-Racism Strategy Racism. It stops with me. campaign
- To support the Australian Government’s new multicultural policy, The People of Australia, the National Anti-Racism Strategy is launched. The Strategy, which will be implemented between 2012 and 2015, has been developed through a partnership led by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
It includes the Racism. It stops with me. campaign which calls on all members of the Australian community to work towards eradicating the barriers to equality that result from racism. It aims to ensure more Australians recognise that racism is unacceptable in our community, give more Australians the tools and resources to take practical action against racism and empower individuals and organisations to prevent and respond effectively to racism.
- Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers is released
- The Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers is released. The panel makes 22 recommendations to shape Australian policy making on asylum seeker issues. It is the Panel’s view that the balance of risk and incentive must be shifted in favour of regular migration pathways and established international protections, and against dangerous maritime migration. A ‘no advantage’ principle should apply whereby irregular migrants gain no benefit by choosing to circumvent regular migration mechanisms.”
- Australian Multicultural Council (AMC)
- The Prime Minister launches the Australian Multicultural Council. The AMC’s priorities are to advise the government on multicultural affairs, have a formal role in a strengthened access and equity strategy, have a research and advisory role around multicultural policy, assist with cultural diversity celebrations and Harmony Day activities and to implement a ‘People of Australia Ambassadors’ Program to articulate the benefits of, and help celebrate, our multicultural nation.
- Applications invited for Multicultural Arts and Festival Grants
- In February 2011, the government launched The People of Australia – Australia’s Multicultural Policy. One of the policy’s key initiatives is to provide funding for Multicultural Arts and Festivals Grants (MAFG). The Department of Immigration and citizenship invites application for grants. $125 000 per financial year has been allocated to MAFG over the four years to 2014–15.
- Multicultural Youth Sports Partnership Program funds available
- The Multicultural Youth Sports Partnership (MYSP) program is an initiative of the Australian Government and forms a key part of Australia’s multicultural policy. The objective of the program is to create sustainable opportunities for youth from new and emerging communities and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) to participate in sport and physical activity within local communities. $900,000 is committed over three years to the MYSP program, which commenced in 2011-12 . Applications are invited by the Australian Sports Commission.
- Australia transfers asylum seekers to Nauru
- In September 2012 the Australian Government re-commences transferring asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia by boat to Nauru. These transferees’ claims for protection will be processed under the laws of Nauru.
- New President of the Australian Human Rights Commission
- The Commonwealth Attorney-General appoints Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs to the Australian Human Rights Commission as its President. Professor Triggs hopes to focus her Presidency on the implementation in Australian law of the human rights treaties to which Australia is a party, and to work with nations in the Asia Pacific region on practical approaches to human rights.
- Australia transfers asylum seekers to Manus Island
- In November the Australian Government recommences transferring asylum seekers to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG). These transferees’ claims for protection will be processed under the laws of Papua New Guinea.
- ABS commences the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey
- The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) commences the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey which will improve knowledge of the health issues affecting this group of Australians.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill 2012 passes the House of Representatives
- With support from across Parliament the House of Representatives passes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition (in the Australian Constitution) Bill 2012. The Bill includes a statement of recognition of the unique and special place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that largely reflects the wording suggested by the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Ernie Bridge dies
- WA politician Ernie Bridge, first Indigenous Australian to serve in an Australian Government Cabinet, dies. Mr Bridge was a descendant of First Fleet convict Matthew James Everingham.
- Adam Giles becomes first Indigenous head of government
- Adam Giles is sworn in as Chief Minister of the Northern Territory on 14 March, becoming the first Indigenous head of government of an Australian state or territory.
- Amendments to the South Australian Constitution give recognition to Australia’s Aboriginal peoples
- Amendments to South Australia’s Constitution include a statement of acknowledgement and respect which records the Apology to the Stolen Generation given in Parliament in 1997, acknowledges and respects Aboriginal peoples as the State’s first peoples and nations, recognises Aboriginal peoples as traditional owners and occupants of the land and waters in South Australia and acknowledges that the Aboriginal peoples have endured past injustices and dispossession of their traditional lands and waters.
- Australia’s population reaches 23 million
- Australia’s population reaches 23 million and is growing by an estimated 1000 people every day. Australia’s population is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse populations in the world. Australians have over 200 birthplaces and .speak over 200 languages.
- Families to be considered for bridging visas but ‘no advantage’ principle applies
- The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship announces that bridging visas may also apply to families who arrive by boat and seek asylum. Some families may be released into the community on bridging visas but will remain subject to regional processing arrangements and will be not be processed any faster than had they waited in a refugee camp overseas. The ‘no advantage’ principle still applies.
- Adam Goodes urges Australians to take a stand against racism
- Australian of the Year and AFL legend, Adam Goodes urges Australians to take a stand against racism and speak out when they hear racist comments.
He features in a Community Service Announcement developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Adam Goodes shares anti-racism message video clip
- Draft changes to the Racial Discrimination Act
- A proposal to change Section 18C and Section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act incites much debate in the community.
Summary: Racial vilification under sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and The Australian Human Rights Commission responds to the debate.
- Syrians displaced
- Four million Syrians displaced during Syrian War.
- Nauru allegations review is released
- Review into allegations relating to conditions and circumstances at the regional processing centre in Nauru released.
- More humanitarian places available to refugees from Syria and Iraq
- Government announces that it would make an additional 12,000 humanitarian places available to refugees from Syria and Iraq.
- AHC releases guide for government to build strong, cohesive communities
- The Australian Human Rights Commission released Australia’s first comprehensive online resource, Building Social Cohesion in our Communities, a guide for local government to help build strong, socially cohesive communities.
- Bendigo to develop a cultural diversity plan
- The City of Greater Bendigo announced its intention to develop a cultural diversity and inclusion plan to ensure its community is inclusive and prosperous.
- Australian Border Force Act
- Australian Border Force Act takes effect 1 July 2015.
- Elimination of Racial Discrimination day, 50th anniversay
- 50th anniversary of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – 21 March
- First Aboriginal woman elected to serve in the House of Representatives
- Linda Burney, first Aboriginal woman elected to serve in the House of Representatives.
- Leading for Change: A blueprint for cultural diversity and inclusive leadership launch
- Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Soutphommasane and Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer launched Leading for Change: A blueprint for cultural diversity and inclusive leadership, challenging organisations to reconsider their cultural defaults on leadership. The blueprint for change was developed in partnership with the University of Sydney Business School, Westpac, PwC Australia and Telstra.
- indefinite mandatory detention for asylum seekers continues
- Asylum seekers who arrive without a prior valid visa (by sea or air) continue to be subject to indefinite mandatory detention.