Antisemitism and Islamophobia Social Cohesion Initiatives

20 June 2024

As the member for Laverton in Melbourne’s west my job is to support these thousands of families that live within my district. I do that every day with fire in my belly. But more importantly than that, I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a loving daughter and I am a sister, and what I know is this: the human life is sacred. It is fragile, and regardless of race or religion, every life has value. Whether you are Jewish, whether you are Christian or whether you are Muslim, it has meaning, and by God it is precious. One loss of human life is one loss too many. Over 40,000 people have tragically lost their lives since 7 October, and millions have been displaced. The killing must stop. It must stop, and it must stop now.

I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm my support and my love for my Muslim community in the Laverton electorate, many of whom have shared with me their very personal experiences of grief resulting from this conflict, and I join them in supporting an immediate ceasefire and an end to this senseless killing. Over the last eight months I have heard from and I have spoken with so many families in my community. Many of them have a deep personal connection to Palestine. I have heard from folks who have had their entire extended family wiped out in a single night. When I say ‘extended family’ I mean close to a hundred family members. Can you imagine that – in a single night? There are no words that I can offer to console that sense of loss. Like most of them, I worry about the continuing discord and polarisation that have arisen from this conflict.

There can be no doubt that since October last year there has been a sharp rise in Islamophobia and antisemitism, and neither are acceptable. If we allow these sentiments to fester amongst strongly held opinions, this conflict overseas will tear our community apart. We cannot have this. Here in Victoria it is our diversity, our multiculturalism, that makes this a great state to raise a family. We will always be stronger together, and we must never forget that. We must fight to hold onto that. That is why these Islamophobia and antisemitism programs announced in 2023 are so important to fight back against the harmful attitudes and behaviours that drive us apart.