Leaflets violate race hate laws

The Morning Bulletin, 21st April 34 A.C. (2007 A.D.)

RACISM has reared  its ugly head in Rockhampton again.

Residents across the Central Queensland city have been bombarded with leaflets dropped in their letterboxes calling for "real" Australians to join white supremacist movements and to fight against crimes allegedly committed by various ethnic groups.

One of the groups mentioned is a world-wide organisation called Storm Front.

It has branches in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Italy and Russia, and members call themselves patriots.

While this group seems to be relatively new to Rockhampton, residents have been confronted by these messages of hate by right-wing radicals before.

Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten was made a target five years ago.

When his office was plastered with stickers by white supremacist group the World Church of the Creator in June, 2002, he was livid.

So it came as no surprise yesterday that Mr Schwarten was scathing in his attack, labelling the publishers of the leaflets "fanatical lunatics".

"These people are a menace to our community," he said yesterday.

"This is just trash, and most reasonable people wouldn't pay any heed to these rantings.

"I think most people who receive this sort of thing would have put it straight in the bin.

"These people are just fanatical lunatics who are encouraging violent behaviour."

Rockhampton is home to many international students studying at Central Queensland University and the city's leaders have spent decades trying to promote the Beef Capital multicultural image.

This latest act has, unfortunately, tarnished that image.

Late yesterday a media spokesman confirmed students at the university had not yet been targeted in this recent race hate attack.

Action is being taken to address the festering race hate problem with the Anti-Discrimination Commission launching an investigation this week.

Yesterday Anti-Discrimination Commission regional manager Julie Davis said the leaflet distribution was definitely a breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

"This leaflet about racial vilification is inciting hatred against people because of their race and is inciting people to harm others," she said.

Ms Davies' (sic) concerns are shared by Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth.

"In Queensland, it's against the law to publicly behave in a way that encourages people to hate others because of their race," she said.

"If you receive one of these leaflets and know who is distributing it, I encourage you to report it to the Commission.

"By doing nothing about public acts of hatred, we might as well say it's okay; and it can never be okay to tolerate race-based hatred."

Queensland Police are referring reports to the Anti-Discrimination Commission officers.

People who have received leaflets are being encouraged to bring complaints about racism and vilification to the Commission's Rockhampton office at 209 Bolsover Street or by telephone on 1300 130 670.

Have you received a racially vilifying leaflet?  If so, contact Morning Bulletin chief of staff Darryn Nufer on 4930 4282.




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