It has been heartbreaking to see incidents of antisemitism and discrimination targeting Jewish people in Wentworth and beyond. Whatever your perspective on the war overseas, our multicultural country's success is founded on values of respect for all Australians, regardless of religion or ethnic background. These values are more important than ever and we must all stand up against them.
I know that many of our community are deeply disturbed by incidents such as the abhorrent chanting at the Sydney Opera House and antisemitic graffiti, as well as their personal experiences.
I am in close contact with the NSW Police and I want to re-assure people that they are taking the security of our community very seriously, and continue to put in place significant extra precautions. I am speaking with the NSW Police Minister about additional actions that can be taken by the State government to deal with rising cases of antisemitism in our community, and I have also conveyed the importance of supporting Wentworth's Jewish community to the Prime Minister and other senior government ministers. This is a fast moving situation, so to stay up to date on issues, please sign up using the form on this page.
More broadly, there are several federal initiatives I am closely involved with which are aimed at addressing antisemitism. These include:
- Securing Faith Based Place Grants - which were awarded in October to seven Wentworth organisations. The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and the Community Security Group also received funding. I fought hard for these grants and I look forward to continuing to work with all those in need of support.
- The University Governance Review – which will consider antisemitism and how the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition can be used as part of antisemitism education. This development follows pressure from myself, Josh Burns, and Julian Leeser – the co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of IHRA – who will be presenting to the Review’s panel.
- The Multicultural Framework Review – which will advise the Government on what “institutional, legislative and policy settings can best build Australia’s multiculturalism over the next decade”. I have met the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and the review panel to discuss the importance of action on antisemitism as part of this process.
- Prohibited Hate Symbols Legislation – a set of new laws that would make the public display of “prohibited hate symbols” (including the Nazi symbol) a criminal offence. The final detail of the legislation is still to be determined, but in principle I strongly supports these laws.
Further details on the actions that I have been taking in response to antisemitism are provided in this recent article from the AJN.
- Sky News – Allegra Spender discusses the Middle East and antisemitism. Watch here.
- Allegra speech in Parliament on November 16th regarding antisemitism and the Middle East. Watch here.
- ABC News – Allegra Spender discusses the importance of action on antisemitism. Watch here.
- Sky News – Allegra Spender talks about antisemitic protests in Sydney. Watch here.
- The Australian - Sydney MPs and Jewish leaders condemn antisemitic posters. See here.
- The Australian Jewish News - working for the community in 5783. See here.
- J-Wire – Allegra Spender Supports the Community. See here.