Group of Eight Universities back Australian Human Rights Commission review into racism

May 16, 2024

The Group of Eight (Go8), representing Australia’s leading research-intensive universities supports the Albanese Government’s announcement to conduct an Australian Human Rights Commission led review into racism.

In response to demonstrations on campuses, Go8 universities have collectively signed a set of five key principles that condemn all forms of hate and prejudice, including antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of racism and religious intolerance.

The Go8 Principles on Demonstrations on Campus uphold the right of all Australians to freedom of speech, including the right to protest, provided those rights are exercised peacefully, within the law and with respect to not just the safety of all Australians, but the rights of freedom of speech of other groups with whom they may disagree.

It is the mission of universities – as anchor institutions within a free and democratic society – to uphold these rights. However, there are limits to how these rights can acceptably be expressed.

Our Universities utterly reject all expressions of hate and prejudice, including antisemitism, Islamophobia, or any other form of racism or religious intolerance. This is not acceptable in broader Australian society – nor will we accept it on our campuses.

We cannot allow the situation in Australia to descend into what we have seen develop in the United States. We therefore support an evidence-based, methodologically sound investigation of concerning activities on campus.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is the appropriate body to lead this inquiry to provide guidance on how best to address these concerning elements both on campus and in Australian society more generally.

The Go8 will proactively cooperate and collaborate with the Australian Human Rights Commission inquiry announced this week.

/Public Release. View in full here.