Today, I met the Victorian Premier and Deputy Premier, fellow local MPs, senior Victoria Police, local Jewish leaders, and representatives of the Community Security Group to review yesterday’s protests and to try to ensure that nothing like it happens again.
Whatever is happening overseas should not be permitted to affect the safety, security, and wellbeing of our Goldstein community.
Any kind of violence, or incitement to violence is unacceptable, especially in the vicinity of places of worship.
All people should be able to worship in safety and free from anxiety. All people should feel safe and secure in the neighbourhoods in which they live, and I acknowledge and am extremely sensitive to the sense of fear in our Jewish community right now.
I note that Muslim representatives have apologised for last night’s protest in Princes Park.
Regrets are one thing; actions are another and I expect that those who organised last night’s protest in Caulfield will act differently in future.
I strongly support the right, and the need, of the Palestinian community to gather peacefully, to grieve, and to advocate for civilians in the Palestinian Territories.
However, what happened last night in Caulfield South is totally unacceptable.
For the sake of our communities, all of our communities, this behaviour must stop. As I have consistently said, empathy and compassion for others is central to social cohesion which is at the centre of our successful multicultural society.
Turning on each other here will have no effect on the war overseas.
I note that the triggering event, the fire at the Burgertory store in Caulfield is still under investigation. I would encourage everyone to wait for the facts.
Extra police resources are being being deployed to the Caulfield area to help our Jewish community to feel safe.
I do believe, that in addition, the Victorian government should consider banning protests in the vicinity of all places of worship.
Peaceful protest is a cherished democratic right; violence, incitement and hate speech have no place in our multicultural society of which we are so rightfully proud, and which must be protected.