Peter Dutton accused of stirring racism with ‘African gangs’ remarks

741
Peter Dutton
Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, photo by Department of Immigration and Border Protection via Wikimedia commons

The minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton has recently criticised the Labor Government of Victoria over what he labelled as street crime by “African gangs”. Dutton claimed that Melbourne residents were now afraid to eat out at restaurants at night-time for fear of being robbed or assaulted.

In Victoria’s evolving debate about a rise in crime, Dutton entered the ring by accusing Premier Daniel Andrews of holding back the courts and police from carrying out their duty. Dutton stated that he thought that the state’s criminal system was now rife with political correctness at the expense of justice.

In a radio interview in Sydney Dutton alleged that Melbourne residents were afraid to eat out at restaurants during the evening because they are “followed home by these gangs”. He said that people were afraid of their cars being stolen or being victims of a home invasion, despite not providing any evidence that this was occurring on a large scale.

Dutton referred to the current criminal sentencing in Melbourne as offering “no deterrence”, leaving gangs of African youths to roam free for fear of being accused of racism. He went on to say that the Victorian police were “wrapped up” in political correctness that is hindering their ability to protect citizens and deter crime.

Dutton claimed that the Victorian police were being told to proceed softly by the state government. He also criticised the Victorian government for installing civil libertarians to its judiciary.

The home affairs minister stated that it was time to “call it for what it is. Of course it’s African gang violence”. He continued by disclaiming that he did not accuse the whole African community for enabling these crimes and praised those who would condemn it the same as he would.

Dutton said that it was time to “weed out” the wrongdoers and deport them where possible.

Several people have fired back at Mr Dutton, calling his remarks both simplistic and racially intolerant. The acting Victorian Premier Tim Pallas said that an increase in crime in Victoria was a result of the federal government reducing state funding.

Pallas pointed out the Turnbull government wanted to withdraw $972 million out of Victoria’s GST cut, which was equivalent to removing nearly 8000 police officers.

Jenny Mikakos, the Youth Affairs Minister for Victoria said that the issue of youth crime was overly-simplified by Mr Dutton. She said that there was a “significant” number of Africans in youth detention and that this was due to a failure to intervene sooner in disadvantaged communities.

Everyday Victorians have also taken a bite out of Mr Dutton with a social media campaign titled #MelbourneBitesBack. This hashtag was attached to images of Melbourne residents eating out at their favourite restaurants to show that they were not afraid of going out at night, contrary to Dutton’s remarks.