Lecture celebrates 44 years since Race Discrimination Act

The 5th Annual Kep Enderby Memorial Lecture will see award-winning Australian author Thomas Keneally AO in conversation with SBS World News Presenter Janice Petersen.

Hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission, this year’s event is entitled ‘The Moveable Feast – Australia and race hate as experienced in the lifetime as an observer’.

The event, which takes place every year on 31 October, marks the anniversary of the Racial Discrimination Act, introduced in 1975 by former federal Attorney-General the Hon. Kep Enderby QC.

“The Australian Human Rights Commission is delighted to have Thomas Keneally delivering this year’s Kep Enderby Memorial Lecture,” said Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan.

“Each lecture aims to advance public understanding and debate about racism, race relations and the Racial Discrimination Act. Through his work, Thomas Keneally has done so much to advance the public narrative on the importance of social inclusion and the dangers of race hate in Australia and around the world.”

Thomas Keneally is one of Australia’s best known and most prolific writers. He has won numerous national and international accolades for his work including the Booker Prize, the Miles Franklin Award, and the Los Angeles Times Prize. He is also an Ambassador for the Asylum Seeker Centre.

“It’s an honour to be asked to speak at an event that marks Australia’s milestone legislation to protect people’s fundamental human right to be treated equally,” said Thomas Keneally.

“In my work I have often sought to explore the causes and impacts of alienation and exclusion based on race, and the vital importance of finding welcome in Australia and elsewhere. I look forward to exploring these themes further at this event.”

Janice Petersen is the presenter of SBS World News and the former presenter of ‘Go Back to Where You Came From Live’.

“My parents escaped the apartheid regime in South Africa in the ’70s to come to live in a country that had just enacted the Racial Discrimination Act,” said Janice Petersen.

“The Racial Discrimination Act has been vital to the dignity and wellbeing of so many families like mine. I’m delighted to join Thomas Keneally at this event that celebrates that moment when Australia turned towards progressive multiculturalism.”

Previous year’s speakers have included leading academic Professor Marcia Langton, author and activist Dr Jackie Huggins, former Army Chief David Morrison, and the Hon. Robert French AC, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.

The 5th Annual Kep Enderby Memorial Lecture will be held at Customs House, Sydney on Thursday 31 October 2019 from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm (AEST). Tickets are free and available to book on


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