Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp MP today condemned the actions of the homeowners at the centre of the swastika flag issue in Beulah.
“The flying of this flag is, in my view, incredibly poor judgement and I hope the home owners realise the distress they are causing in the community and remove the flag immediately.” Mr Gepp said.
“Freedom of speech comes with the responsibility not to incite hatred and violence towards others –and this situation fails that test miserably.”
“This flag is an emblem of hatred and the unspeakable crimes against Jewish people and other minority groups during World War II in the 1930’s – and displaying such paraphernalia is designed to torment survivors and families, as well as cause intimidation and invoke hate to those from other cultures.” Mr Gepp added.
Last year Victoria’s Legislative Assembly’s legal and social issues committee was asked to look at the effectiveness of existing anti-vilification laws and the possible expansion of protections.
As part of its examination of existing anti-vilification laws, the Legislative Assembly’s legal and social issues committee will look at the public display of paraphernalia, like swastikas.
“We are a multicultural society built on migration – our rich cultural, economic and ethnic diversity is key to our success as a State, and as a nation. When individuals or groups are vilified or targeted because of race, religion, gender, sexuality or political views – we all have a moral obligation to speak up, call it out and say that this is unacceptable.” Mr Gepp said.