The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) promotes equality before the law and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, colour, descent and national or ethnic origin. In 1995, the Racial Discrimination Act was extended to make ‘racial hatred’ unlawful. Racial hatred is doing something in public based on the race, colour, national or ethnic origin of a person or group of people which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate.13

There are also laws in every Australian state and territory to protect people from racial discrimination.

In other words it is against the law to discriminate against a person based on their race, colour, descent and national or ethnic origin and furthermore ‘racial hatred’ as mention above is also against the law.

What can your sporting club do?

As a sporting club you are integral to developing a welcoming and supportive club culture and ensuring club personnel and members understand appropriate behaviours. There should be zero tolerance of racism and prompt action should be taken against any form of racist behaviour.

If club members use racist language on or off the field the following action could occur:

  • Do not ignore it!
  • Talk to the member(s) concerned and explain that racist language and behaviour is unacceptable as well as being against the law. Give the member(s) a copy of the club’s Code of Behaviour.
  • Explain that racism is a breach of your sport’s Member Protection or other welfare policy (if you have one) and the consequences of their behaviour continuing (e.g., disciplinary action).
  • Address the matter at the club’s management committee’s next agenda and ask them to make a firm commitment to harassment free sport.  You may need to update your policy or develop or adopt a policy on racism if you don’t have one.
  • Meet with all coaches and reinforce messages of inclusion and harassment free sport. Encourage them to talk to their players about expected standards of behaviour.
  • Remind all members about the club’s Code of Behaviour (e.g., by putting up posters, or placing an article in the club newsletter or a statement on the club’s website).
  • Monitor the situation and take further action in accordance with your sports policies on racism.
  • Provide training to all club members about racism.

If you have spectators who racially taunt or vilify members consider the following actions:

  • contacting the police prior to a game if you believe individuals or teams are going to be racist or incite racist behaviour;
  • posting conditions of entry and your sport’s Code of Behaviour (including actions to be taken should breaches occur) in prominent locations (e.g., in change rooms and next to the canteen;
  • making stadium or ground announcements about appropriate behaviours at the beginning of a game;
  • appointing and training match officials for all home matches who can monitor behaviour and ask offenders to leave;
  • Calling the police if the offenders become belligerent, threatening or refuse to leave.

Source: Play by the Rules – making sport inclusive, safe and fair

For more information: or contact GippSport.