The Age reports: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared there is a “real concern about Sudanese gangs” in Melbourne, as he described how colleagues have backed claims that residents are scared to go out to dinner due to street crime.
Okay Malcolm, name names, who are these colleagues? Do they live in Melbourne? Do they live in areas where there are high levels of Sudanese immigrants? Do they even go out to dinner? – in places like Richmond, where I live, which has a high concentration of South Sudanese migrants and we went out for dinner twice last week. (not frightened)
You betcha not.
Responding to research by Victoria’s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission – which linked a spike in racist incidents to the federal government’s language around race and crime –
Mr Turnbull said the connection was “nonsense”.
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton said “The Commission believes that Canberra’s inflammatory statements on race and crime – the so-called #AfricanGangs crisis – have caused real harm in Victoria. And we are calling for better federal leadership this election year,”
The response from grassroots Sudanese organisations in Victoria was predictable and filled with disappointment.’
The Federation of South Sudanese Associations in Victoria founder and chairman Kenyatta Wal said members of his community felt “isolated” by the PM’s comments.
“They feel they are being pushed away and not being recognised in spite of their contributions to this country … “People look at us suspiciously. We are trying to assure people that it is okay… but it is hard on many South Sudanese people.”
Ahmed Hassan, founder of outreach group Youth Activating Youth, said he was disheartened at Mr Turnbull’s comments.
“It is a shame to see the highest levels of government using any community as political football but in particular the South Sudanese who have been at the receiving end of some bad politics,” he said.
“We as a community, as young people, expect better from our Prime Minister.”
At a press conference in Tasmania on Tuesday morning, Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne appeared confused when asked by Fairfax Media whether he felt safe going to restaurants in Melbourne.
“No, why? Should I be?” Mr Pyne said. He said none of his Victorian colleagues had told him they were afraid to go to dinner, but “if the Prime Minister has said that they said that to him I’m sure it’s true”.
We really must ask, “Has Malcolm Turnbull got nothing better to do with time than interfere in Victorian social issues?”
He does nothing to enhance the credibility of the office of Prime Minister and he does little to help deal with the real problems that face the South Sudanese community.