Previously known as Non-English Speaking Background, or NESB, the accepted and accurate terminology now is use is ‘cultural and linguistic diversity’ (CALD) as this is a more inclusive term that encompasses people from English and non-English speaking backgrounds and communities from different cultures. The term may also include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Australian South Sea islanders.
The Australian Human Rights Commission notes that racial discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than someone else in a similar situation because of their race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin. This is direct discrimination. Indirect discrimination can also occur when the operation of a particular rule or policy disadvantages more people of a particular race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin than other people.
The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 make racial discrimination against the law. The Act gives effect to Australia’s obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. This legislation covers all of Australia. There is also anti-discrimination legislation operating in all states and territories. In addition, a new law against offensive behaviour based on racial hatred has been in acted. The Racial Hatred Act 1995 extends the scope of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 to permit complaints about offensive or abusive behaviour based on racial hatred.