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Attorney-General welcomes HREOC plan to combat extremism.

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Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600  Telephone (02) 6277 7300  Fax (02) 6273 4102

18 June 2007 112/2007


A series of important initiatives to be undertaken by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) to build social cohesion and combat extremism has been announced today by Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.

“The Australian Government is committed to fostering harmonious communities and ensuring extremism does not get a foothold,” Mr Ruddock said.

“The elimination of extremist doctrines will help create cohesive communities that follow the law, respect our cultural diversity and share our Australian values.

“We cannot allow people to become isolated or to isolate themselves from the rest of the community, if that results in them becoming a destructive force.

“I congratulate HREOC for the projects it will undertake, and hope that all governments and community groups embrace these initiatives that will help reach out to those who might be vulnerable to poisonous messages,” Mr Ruddock said.

The Commission’s projects will include: • Working with Community Languages Australia and schools to develop culturally and linguistically diverse information about human rights and discrimination issues;

• developing education resources for use by teachers teaching English as second

language; • working with the Australian Partnership of Religious Communities (APRO) to examine issues associated with freedoms of religion and belief in Australia; • assisting local area police commands to form partnerships with local

communities and develop projects to build bridges between them; • examining the human rights issues relevant to African Australians; and

• a range of initiatives focusing on the community and creative arts.

The Australian Government provided HREOC with $4.4 million in funding for the projects under the National Action Plan to Build on Social Cohesion, Harmony and Security. Further projects are planned.

Media Contact: Steve Ingram 0419 278 715

This announcement from an address to the APRO Conference 2007, Mercure Hotel, Sydney Airport.