Contributed by Ben Wilson
Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews responded to a GetUp petition with more than 28 thousand signatures, by saying that the state government will not stop a white supremacist concert on Saturday, even though it is hurtful to the communities that will be its targets.
The concert is a highlight in a festival to be held annually, for at least the next 10 years.
Daniel Andrews did say: “There’s no place in Victoria for concerts like that. This is ultimately a celebration of hate and that doesn’t sit well with many Victorians at all.” He also made it clear that he was working with the Jewish community to strengthen laws to ensure the stopping of hate speech before it occurred.
Critics are saying that this is not enough. This is understandable. Few want to give race hate any quarter.
On the other hand, there is the danger of creating a precedent, where other and very different voices could be silenced.
The best solution is not merely a change in the law. It is communities organising and enforcing their wish to not allow this vile stuff to take place in their own back yard, thaty will make a real difference.
Two of the headline international guests, the Hammerskins and Blood and Honour, have been banned in a range of countries, because of their bigoted lyrics.
At a press conference held on Tuesday 8 October at the steps of the Victorian parliament, The Anti-Defamation Commission’s Dvir Abramovich said white supremacists had admitted music was the number one way they reached people.
“These types of gatherings are often used as an effective tool by racist extremists to inspire and recruit people for their warped cause,” Dr Abramovich said.
“When you look at the recent massacres in Christchurch, Santiago, Pittsburgh and El Paso, there is a direct link between words, incitement and mass shootings.
“These kinds of groups are a clear and present threat.”
Abiola Ajetomobi from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said the concert represented an unacceptable level of “cultural intolerance”.
“It is not acceptable in Victoria as a state whereby migration has been one of the pillars that has built our community to what it is today,” she said.
Trades Hall Council secretary Luke Hilakari said that the union movement will act and back union members in refusing work related to the concert.
Other speakers representing a spread of communities expressed their opposition to the concert.