Does Racism Still Exist in the Australian Workplace?

Story Background

Recently, the Australian telecommunication company Optus posted a job vacancy clearly stating that they were only accepting interviewers with an Anglo-Saxon background. They were condemned for their blunt racism for solely interview candidates of particular ethnicities.

From Ricardo Gonçalves Twitter

Similar problems exist in senior management positions as well.

According to the report from Australian Human Rights Commission, C-Level jobs from the top 200 AXS companies consist of 75.9% with Anglo-Saxon background, while there is only 58% of Australia population of them.

The misrepresentation of different cultural backgrounds indicates that racism exists in workplace. Racism can be seen and felt in subtle ways in our daily life and workplace.

chart of the cultural background proportion of CEO of top 200 Australian companies
From Leading for Change: A blueprint for cultural diversity and inclusive leadership revisited

In the Face Up 2 Racism program on SBS and research conducted by scholars from Western Sydney University, both uncovered the way that racism blatantly and subtly expressed in daily life.

Trailer from Is Australia Racist?, one of documentaries in Face Up 2 Racism, SBS

Story Angle and Target Medias

This news story will take a closer look into the racism in the Australian workplace and scrutinize the makeup of senior management positions nowadays. What can be done to improve will also report in the news.

My target news agencies are The Guardian and Business Insider.

The Guardian reports the inequality issues that matters to society.

Business Insider focuses on business news as well as leadership in business world. My news will also mention how business will benefit from diversity.

Multimedia, interactivity, hypertext

  • I will create graphics to explain current population proportion of different cultural backgrounds. This will give audience a clear understanding of over/under representation.
  • An interactive quiz will be introduced to audience to show the possibility of promotion to senior level job from different ethnics based on current proportion addressed in the report from Western Sydney University.
  • I will also add brief summary of the report from Western Sydney University at the end of news story for general understanding of racism in Australia.


Westpac Bank group

Westpac Bank group has created a diversity-focused group within its company to support the different cultures and backgrounds of its employees. However, there is still misrepresentation of ethnicities on both the board and executive level.

Dian is currently one of the active members in the Asian Leadership group. I will interview her for more information about the diversity-focused group in Westpac.

Mr. Cameron Adams, the founder and CPO of Canva

He works with the organization All Together Now. Mr. Adams thinks that multiculturalism benefits all businesses and gives them an advantage in the global market. Canva’s website has several languages choices.

Dr. Tanja Dreher

Dr. Tanja Dreher from UNSW has been researching the politics of listening for over a year. She found that there is a difference between speaking up and being listened to or heard. The refusal to listen can be seen as display of power; the power that someone has right to decide what should and should not be heard. Similar situations can be found in the workplace where minority group’s voices are being ignored even when they speak up.

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Hao-wen Chen
About Hao-wen Chen 4 Articles
Bianca is postgraduate student of Journalism. She finished her undergraduate in Political Science in Taiwan and hope that she can combine her political science sense in her news.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Bianca,

    I really like this story idea, as it is quite relevant to societal issues here in Australia. I especially like the idea of an interactive quiz as it allows the audience to empathise with job applicants that are judged based on factors like race and ethnicity. Coming from a cultural studies background, I found this topic quite interesting and very important to address. While race is the main issue being addressed, it may be beneficial to look at and/or address how gender affects employability as well. Something I’ve looked at in my gender and cultural studies background is intersectionality and how race, ethnicity and gender work individually and combined i.e. how employable is a male person of colour compared to a female person of colour?

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