Tony Abbott is in the paper this morning being soft on crime and tough on protesters.
The former prime minister also said that “kid-glove policing” was no excuse for the rally. Victoria Police has been widely criticised for more than a year over its handling of youth crime in Melbourne.
“We’re all against soft-touch policing, we’re all against kid-glove policing, but that doesn’t mean that we should be supporting extremists, of the left or the right,” Mr Abbott said.
Yet Abbott himself has appeared at protests where some participants got over-excited.
I want the protest to be civil. I want it to be entirely in keeping with the Australian tradition. But let’s not get too precious about these things.
I’m quite sure there were people at the St. Kilda protests who are not neo-Nazis or racists and don’t appreciate being categorised as such. Right now the Liberals are signalling their tough-on-crime credentials (see the number of we-have-deported-foreign-criminals stories in the Australian over the last few days) so you’d think exploiting concerns about soft-touch policing and sentencing in Victoria would be well-thought out and pre-planned. But no.
Update I: Victorian authorities are not happy.
Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville says Tony Abbott should “stick to causing chaos and dysfunction” as she defends the force against the former PM.
Mr Abbott criticised police this morning on 2GB over their “kid-glove policing” approach to youth crime in Victoria, suggesting it drove people to attend the a neo-Nazi rally in Melbourne’s St Kilda on Saturday.
Update II: Sam Dastyari has liberal sentiments.
While many people are understandably full of anger and disappointment at the scenes that played out in Melbourne at the weekend. I’m not.
Many well intentioned community leaders argue it has been a terrible week for multiculturalism and modern Australian diversity. I disagree. The fact that a bunch of reactionary, ill-informed idiots have the right to march through the streets of Melbourne fills me with hope. I despise them and love our country more. Their freedom to be fools is my freedom to embrace the causes I believe in.
Let them march, I say. Let them be exposed for the ignorant losers they are. Sunlight is the best disinfectant; exposing their policy positions as nothing more than hate filled excuses for their own life failures.
And so I’m glad they are out there on the streets. Glad they are there for everyone to see. I would rather that than they just exist in the dark recesses of the internet, where their ideas are not challenged. Where their views are not exposed. Where they are able to prey on those weak or disposed enough to give them a hearing.
I want their hate exposed. Laid bare for all. Their ideas challenged. So we can keep reminding ourselves that their freedom to hate is our freedom to love, and that’s what makes Australia great.
Update III: Miranda taking names and kicking butts.
That’s the same Hanson-Young who once appeared at another rally in Melbourne, organised by “Australians for Palestine”, where placards reportedly featured swastikas and a Star of David superimposed over a pig.
Not sure if it was the same rally but here is Glenn Milne.
Another depicted a picture of a Star of David superimposed over a pig. And there was the T-shirt which featured a swastika embedded in a Star of David along with the words emblazoned on top “Jewed To Death.com”
Surely if Gillard can smear Tony Abbott because some representatives of the anti-Semitic League of Rights and Pauline Hanson attended the recent Parliament House rally against the carbon tax he addressed, she can summon even more moral outrage against Lee Rhiannon and Sarah-Hanson Young.
If Abbott is to be condemned by association then so must Hanson-Young, who would no doubt use the same defence as the Opposition Leader; that she did not organise the rally and could not be responsible for the placards displayed there.