Monday, 18 February 2019
Statements by Members
Everybody has a responsibility to stand up against racism and anti-Semitism. Sadly, the year has begun with terrible anti-Semitic attacks in Melbourne, and it's important that we stand up and speak out about them in this place. For instance, at the end of January, there was a direct road rage attack on a rabbi. It's disgraceful behaviour that we should not stand for or walk past.
The 2018 Executive Council of Australian Jewry report gives me plenty of reasons to stand up today and highlight the troubling rise of anti-Semitism across Australia. The report detailed an unprecedented 59 per cent increase in anti-Semitic incidents from the previous year. Jewish Australians are facing more harassment, more vandalism and more threats by phone and email, and it should not be left uncommented. The report notes an incident in Sydney where anti-Semitic abuse was hurled at children playing in a courtyard—despicable. One group was responsible for over a third of all incidents, placing posters, stickers, graffiti and murals in public places.
I am privileged to represent a community that has one of the largest Jewish populations in Australia. They enrich the life of this country every single day. Every Australian has a right to live in this country free from harassment. Every Australian should be free to live out their life without this sort of despicable, disgusting behaviour.