Community Groups Condemn Liberal Party ‘Gang Busting’ Flyer
13 July 2018 at 5:25 pm
Community groups are lining up to condemn a Victorian Liberal Party flyer promising to “stop gangs hunting in packs”, as hysteria around “African gangs” reaches a peak.
The flyer showed a shadowy image of five young men in hooded tops and said the Liberal Party’s “new gang busting laws will make Victoria a safer place”.
The flyer has been distributed in the ethnically diverse Melbourne suburb of Noble Park by Liberal candidate Darrel Taylor, and also features an image of opposition leader Matthew Guy.
Community groups lined up to condemn the campaign advertisement, with multicultural advocacy movement Colour Code launching a petition calling for the Liberal Party to withdraw the flyers and apologise.
Colour Code senior campaigner Roj Amedi said the flyer encouraged African-Australian children to be “viewed as vicious animals”.
“Instead of standing for all Victorians, Matthew Guy’s Liberal Party is fanning the flames of extremism and encouraging hate in our community,” Amedi said.
“The danger to African-Australian kids is real – these leaflets are being distributed in the very suburb where a young African Australian man, Liep Gony, was murdered by a white man who had exclaimed that he wanted to take back his country from ‘black’ gangs before his horrifying attack.”
The flyers also drew severe backlash on social media. South Sudanese-Australian lawyer and advocate Nyadol Nyuon attacked the “racist pamphlet” on Twitter for its use of “code language and symbolism”.
I am informed this racist pamphlet is being shared in Noble Park. Noble Park is where Liep Gony was killed by a young white man who wanted to take his country back from “black” gangs. pic.twitter.com/N4YgNtIvRG
— Nyadol Nyuon (@NyadolNyuon) July 12, 2018
— Maker Mayek (@MakMayek) July 12, 2018
South Sudanese-Australian community leader and lawyer Maker Mayek added on Twitter that the flyer was “extremely disturbing”.
Kon Karapanagiotidis, the CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, told Pro Bono News that the flyer constituted “hate speech”.
He said the community sector needed to stand in solidarity with the African-Australian community.
“The best thing we can do is respond with education and respond with facts,” Karapanagiotidis said.
“Right now it’s African-Australians targeted, the next day it’s refugees, the next day it’s the Lebanese. Sadly at a federal and state level, we have opportunistic politicians… and now multiculturalism is under attack.”
In response to growing criticism, the Victorian Liberal Party’s shadow minister for community safety Edward O’Donohue told ABC Melbourne the flyer was not targeted at African-Australians.
“What we are concerned about is gang violence and gang behaviour by anyone, no matter where they’re from or their background,” O’Donohue said.
“This is about making the community safer.”
The controversy over the flyer comes just days after an incendiary television report on “African gangs running riot” sparked similar outrage on social media.
— Pro Bono News (@ProBonoNews) July 12, 2018