I would like to express my deep sorrow and personal disgust in relation to an anti-Semitic attack perpetrated against a group of young children in Sydney’s east on Wednesday 6 August.
I note these children, who were between the ages of 5 and 12, were travelling home from school by bus when they were set upon by a group of allegedly intoxicated older teenagers.
This type of sickening behaviour has absolutely no place in our community. The language used by these teenagers was abhorrent and totally unacceptable. Incidents such as this highlight why we need provisions such as section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, and why I and many members of our community campaigned against the Abbott Government’s proposed changes to 18C.
I sympathise with the families and the young school children themselves for having to experience such an ugly, hateful incident. It is a sign of weakness to attack innocent children in such a manner.
Religious and racial vilification in all its forms must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and I welcome the involvement of the NSW Police. I hope the individuals are brought to justice and taught a lesson that such behaviour is unacceptable in Australia.
This incident has been a timely reminder that while we live in a relatively harmonious society, we must be mindful that there will always exist a few who would seek to treat others with disrespect. That is why we need strong racial discrimination laws.
I offer my support to the Jewish community.