Friday, 20 November 2015

No place for violent race protests held on weekend

The planned anti-Islam and anti-racism protests that took place in Melton on Sunday only serve to fan the flames of hate in our community.

We are fortunate to live in a society where the right to protest lawfully and peacefully is protected in law, however we know that what starts as a genuine expression of a viewpoint can, in the worst cases, lead to acts of violence.

Discriminatory and intolerant attitudes simply have no place in our community. The impact of racism on individuals and communities is vast and insidious. We all pay a high price if we continue to marginalise and victimise people through racial and religious intolerance.

In Victoria, cultural and religious diversity is embraced and protected in law. The Racial and Religious Tolerance Act makes it against the law to vilify people because of their race or religion. Vilification is behaviour that incites hatred, serious contempt, revulsion or severe ridicule of a person or group of people because of their race or religion. Serious vilification is a criminal offence.