Call for crackdown on ‘antisemitic thugs’

"Victoria is a strong multicultural state which prides itself on its diversity and harmony."

Police apprehend pro-Palestinian protesters who rushed towards pro-Israel supporters at Princes Park on Friday evening. Photo: Peter Haskin.
Shadow Attorney-General Michael O'Brien.

The Victorian opposition wants to reinstate move-on powers for Victoria Police.

This follows recent incidents including last Friday’s protest outside a synagogue in Caulfield, and a group of neo-Nazis who marched through train carriages demanding to know if passengers were Jewish.

Caulfield MP David Southwick (picture) said, “When Victoria Police don’t have the power to crack down on Nazis roaming freely on trains and antisemitic thugs coming to Caulfield to harass the Jewish community, the system is clearly broken.”

He believes by empowering police to break up what he calls “vile displays of hate”, the Victorian Liberals and Nationals are defending Victoria’s precious multicultural society.

The Liberals and Nationals will seek to introduce a bill to reinstate to Victoria the full range of move-on powers they previously had before they were changed by Labor in 2015.

Caulfield MP and Deputy Liberal Leader David Southwick.

The bill reasserts the authority of courts to issue exclusion orders to people who repeatedly breach a move-on direction and will enable Victoria Police to arrest a person in contravention of a move-on direction.

Shadow Attorney-General Michael O’Brien, said “It is clear that Victoria Police need move-on powers in order to keep the peace and protect faith communities and others across our community from harassment.”

He accused Labor of stripping Victoria Police of the ability to deal quickly with violent demonstrations and other actions that cause fear and intimidation in the community.

“These powers worked before, and they are proportionate and necessary to preserve public order. Everybody has the right to be free from harassment, including on account of their faith. Victoria is a strong multicultural state which prides itself on its diversity and harmony. We must not allow it to be undermined by denying Victoria Police sensible powers to deal with those whose actions put community safety at risk,” he said.

O’Brien said it is time for the Allan government to protect Victorians and pass these laws without delay.

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