Saturday 5 January 2019

I am deeply concerned about the rally organised by far-right activists, that has taken place in St Kilda today.

I condemn in the strongest possible terms the apparent racist and race based motivation behind the rally. There is no place for such rallies in Australia.

All Australians have a right to protest peacefully, it is one of the great freedoms we enjoy. It is, however, never acceptable for people to act or conduct themselves in ways that are likely to, or intended to, inflame and incite racial fear and tensions, hatred and violence.

Community concerns about crime, where they exist, must be properly discussed, and those discussions must be underpinned with facts and evidence.

Activities that target a community based on their race or ethnicity are unacceptable and have no place in a cohesive, multicultural Australia.

I have been assured by Victoria Police that they will enforce the law if it is breached at the rally, including laws relating to incitement to racial hatred and violence.

I remind all Australians that protections against racial vilification exist under the Racial Discrimination Act making it unlawful to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate someone because of their race or ethnicity and I urge those who took part in the rally to carefully consider their legal obligations.