TELL US YOur STory

We'd love to hear your stories about diversity in Canberra. Sharing via social media using the #diversitygoeswith will ensure everyone hears your story, but you can also contact us using this form. 

Anonymous Information/Report

You can also use this form to anonymously notify us about issues of concern. The ACT Human Rights Commission encourages residents of Canberra to notify us about any serious instances of discrimination or  vilification. 

Anonymous information you provide may assist in delivering the services and support to those who really need them. Please provide as much detail as you can about what happened, including where it occurred and when it happened. This will aid us to better understand what you are reporting. 

Make a Formal Complaint Instead? 

An anonymous report made using this form is not the same as making a formal complaint to us. We may be able to resolve your concerns if you choose to make a complaint, and there is more information about our complaint handling role on our discrimination webpage.

Please note, if you choose to use this form to provide anonymous information, rather than  a formal complaint via our discrimination webpage, we cannot tell you the outcome of our investigation of your concerns. 

           

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Diversity in action

Following the trail of diversity in the Australian Capital Territory.

Karen Middleton

Wendy Dawes

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Karen Middleton is a Canberran of many talents – award-winning journalist, board member, writer, who has been described as ‘smart-ish’ and ‘not a bad singer’.

Karen is a familiar name and face to many of us, whether through her many years reporting Federal politics for SBS news, radio appearances, writing for major newspapers or as a regular guest on the ABC’s Insiders program.

Karen has a long history of providing practical support to refugees and others who have recently arrived in Australia. When she was a child, her parents volunteered to provide settlement support to a Vietnamese refugee family. During the 1990s Yugoslavian conflict, Karen supported a Bosnian family that had recently arrived in Canberra.

Although born in Canada, to Australia parents, Karen identifies as ‘pretty straight up and down Anglo-Australian.’

"I’ve got a bit of Scottish back there and a little bit of English."

Despite holding dual Canadian-Australian citizenship, she identifies primarily as Australian. 

"I feel like my cultural identity is in this country. That includes the diversity we have, and the multicultural nature of our country, and our Indigenous heritage, which I reckon should be celebrated a lot more than it is."

Karen has not been subject to racial vilification in Australia, but has sadly witnessed it many times.

"I’ve seen other people treated poorly. My Indigenous friends in particular, who continue to get rubbishing and worse in their own country. I always find it hurtful when I see that."

Karen recently joined the board of local non-government organisation, Companion House, which works with people who have sought refuge in Australia from persecution, torture and war related trauma. She is particularly conscious of the discrimination faced by others in the community.

"I’m very fortunate to be in a cultural majority where I haven’t had to deal with that as much.’
She did however suffer discrimination while visiting New York.

"I went into a restaurant in Harlem and was show upstairs and out the back to a room that wasn’t in the front…Suddenly I realised this must be what it feels like to feel like you don’t really belong or they’re not that keen to show off that you’re there."

Karen however understood why the African-American proprietors made that decision.

"Fair enough. They’ve been living with that their whole lives."

While conscious that she her perspective may not be the same as those from cultural minorities, Karen feels Canberra is generally a tolerant and diverse community. 

"I think as cities go, this is a pretty good one."

Karen suggests things could be improved not only by organisations hiring a diverse workforce, but ensuring they are supporting those employees.

"You need to stand with them. I think you need to be very conscious, right down on the ground about how all the people within that organisation feel and how you present to the world."

She has identified attitudinal change as critical to promoting diversity in our community.

"I think it is really important that we focus more on trying to change attitudes and stamp out some of the discrimination and prejudice that still exists in this country."