What can I do?

All Together Now has put together an infographic (PDF) on how to report racism in advertising.

Make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau

The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) accepts complaints related to advertising and marketing communication. It covers any advertising or marketing material that discriminates against a person or group on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. You can submit a complaint on the ASB website.

Go to the police

In some cases, a racially discriminatory act will constitute a crime and can be reported to the police. Which acts constitute a crime will vary depending on the state or territory you are in. If you wish to go to the police, we advise that you consult with a lawyer or your local police station first.

Make a complaint to the Islamophobia Register

In addition to the above legal and institutional reporting options, if the incident was Islamophobic you might also consider sending a complaint to the Islamophobia Register. Making a report to the Islamophobia Register ensures that incidents of Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim sentiments are securely recorded and analysed to build a body of knowledge about Islamophobia in Australia.

The law

As explained by the Race Discrimination Unit of the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Racial Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to insult, humiliate, offend or intimidate another person or group in public on the basis of their race. As advertising (including on the internet) is one means by which words, sounds, images and writing are communicated to the public, the legislation clearly applies to this medium.

To protect freedom of expression, however, the legislation sets out certain circumstances in which the prohibition will not apply, as long as the person or media service has acted reasonably and in good faith. First, if the communication is part of an artistic work it is not unlawful. Another exception are academic and scientific works and debates or comments on matters of public interest. The media are a third exception to allow fair and accurate reporting on any matter of public interest.

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