Difrnt colours one people

c. 1990

Donated by Margaret Atkin

Museum of Australian Democracy collection

In 1991 the National Inquiry into Racist Violence, initiated by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) in 1989, published its findings. The Inquiry arose out of concern in the Australian community that racially-motivated violence was increasing. The Inquiry defined racist violence as ‘a specific act of violence, intimidation or harassment carried out against an individual, group or organisation (or their property) on the basis of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin; and/or support for non-racist policies.’

In 1990 HREOC commenced work on a project, ‘Different Colours One People’, to engage with young people (mostly school students) in fighting racism. The project used role models prominent in sport and entertainment to lead young people to recognise and take action against racism. It also distributed a range of materials and merchandise for schools, youth groups and individuals, using the alternative spelling ‘Difrnt’ to make it more youth-oriented. The successful campaign led to the introduction of Different Colours One People Week in 1992, in which anti-racism activities were generated by groups around Australia.

In 1995 the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, which protects Australians from discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin, was extended to make racial vilification illegal.

The donor of this badge, Margaret Atkin, writes:

Different Colours One People was worn at a rally in Sydney after racist statements were given prominence.