ADJOURNMENT MATTER — Ms Sandell to ask the Minister for Multicultural Affairs —
Today I ask the Minister for Multicultural Affairs to write to me to outline what this government is doing to stand up to the hate, xenophobia and racism peddled by the likes of Pauline Hanson and what this government is doing to protect our wonderful multicultural community.
There have been many heartbreaking moments in 2016. We have seen Britain vote to leave the European Union and the multicultural values it represents. We have seen the United States elect an openly sexist and racist candidate in Donald Trump to the highest office in the land.
At home we have seen the return of Pauline Hanson, who tells us in all seriousness to fear ‘being swamped by Muslims'. Now we have a federal immigration minister, Peter Dutton, saying that Australia made a mistake by helping migrants and refugees in the 1970s, because they and their grandchildren are partly to blame for foreign fighters and terrorism.
It is not just the policies of Pauline Hanson, Peter Dutton and Donald Trump that are dangerous. Their words alone send a strong message to the community that hate, fear, racism and xenophobia are okay. They are not. Not only are hateful words not okay, but they have a real impact on people's lives.
I have recently heard some very disturbing stories from primary school students in my electorate since Pauline Hanson was elected. One 10 year old girl saw a woman's hijab ripped off in the street. She told us that she is afraid that in future no one will give her a job and she will not have a place to live. An 11 year old girl told us that she was called a terrorist at her school sports carnival and was so upset she stopped in the middle of her race.
Young children are asking me, ‘Why do so many people hate us?'. No child should be made to feel like they do not belong or that they are hated for the colour of their skin or their family's religion, but this is the effect of Pauline Hanson's words.
I have never felt so welcome as when I attend events in the African and Muslim community in Carlton, North Melbourne, Flemington and Kensington, but many of these people no longer feel welcome in their own neighbourhoods. So today I am here to send a strong message to the Muslims in my community and to all people of varied faiths, colours, races, religions and backgrounds: you are welcome in Melbourne, you are valued and you are loved.
The Greens stand with you. The people of Melbourne stand with you. We see you, we respect you, you belong here. I hope the Minister for Multicultural Affairs in this government also feels this way and can reassure my community that they will be supported and protected here in Melbourne, no matter what people like Pauline Hanson and Peter Dutton say.
The Victorian Government is committed to ensuring that all Victorians feel valued and experience a sense of belonging within our diverse community.
Racism costs us all, causing physical and mental health issues, reduced productivity and a loss of social cohesion. A society free of discrimination is better able to tackle problems like economic and social disengagement and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for all.
I am pleased to advise you that the Victorian Government has made a submission to the federal Freedom of Speech Inquiry. This submission highlighted the Victorian Government's support for the current protections in place against racial discrimination, along with our opposition to weakening or repealing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
Robin Scott MP