Adjournment: Anti-semitism

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) (17:06:56) — (14 049) I raise a matter for the Minister for Police, and the action I seek is for the Minister for Police to tell us what advice she has received with regard to the growing incidents of anti-Semitism in our state and what the government will be doing to combat such unprovoked attacks and threats.

Just last week anonymous flyers were distributed in Footscray spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories — blaming the Jewish community for the creation of ISIS, mass immigration and the breakdown of traditional families, among other things. These flyers went on to describe the Jewish community as ‘pure evil’ and directed their readers to various anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi documentaries. This was a clear attempt to create hatred and division among our community. The Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) has described this incident as a ‘redoubling’ of the efforts of anti-Semites like never before. Victoria Police speculate that this may be a new group, utilising different and more aggressive tactics.

This is not the first time an attack of this nature has occurred in Footscray, with anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant graffiti appearing all over the suburb in 2016. This latest incident sadly coincides with a recent explosion in anti-Semitic attacks. The ADC states that there has been a worrying 10 per cent increase in anti-Semitic attacks in the last year alone, with Victoria Police recording at least three incidents in the last two weeks. Earlier this month a Bentleigh history teacher was verbally abused in a supermarket car park by a man passing by in an SUV. He stopped to swear at her and yell the words, ‘Hitler had the right idea’. Incidents like this are a disturbing reminder of the continuing threat of anti-Semitism in our state.

We Australians are proud of our diversity. We are a proud multicultural state that welcomes all. We need to ensure that we protect this image and that we have a state that welcomes everybody and tackles these kinds of individuals with the harshest possible penalties. I call on the government to stand up to these bigoted and racist attacks, to provide any resources necessary to Victoria Police to identify and pursue the perpetrators and to prove to all that anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and any other form of racism will never find a home in our great state of Victoria.