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STANDARD

SIAN JOHNSON

South-west leaders have condemned attacks on residents of Asian descent in the community.

Warrnambool mayor Kylie Gaston said the attacks were “disturbing” and she was unpleasantly surprised by them.

“It’s not only unacceptable behaviour, but also quite sad,” Cr Gaston said.

“We’re all members of this community and we want people to feel safe and welcome at all times in our community.”

Warrnambool-based English tutor Doreen Risbey, who has strong connections to the migrant worker and immigrant community, said her students had spoken to her about being targeted.

Ms Risbey said at one point when she had Chinese students staying at her house, it had been egged. She wasn’t home during the incident.

“The students were terrified,” she said. “This was their first weekend in Australia.”

South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said she was saddened that such behaviour was occurring in Warrnambool.

“It’s inappropriate and unacceptable by anyone’s standards,” she said.

“We are a welcoming community who should be treating people with respect, understanding and ensure individuals of all backgrounds feel welcome here.

“I’m sure that is the case most of the time, but it’s really sad to hear this is happening and people are being singled out because of their differences.”

Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of civil rights organisation the Anti-Defamation Commission, said his organisation decried the “chilling” outburst of prejudice.

“Such vile attacks not only harm the individual victim, but also deeply affect the entire community,” he said. 

“Australians of all faiths, nationalities, and ethnicities should feel secure walking our streets and in their jobs without the fear or threat of being targeted for abuse and violence because of their religion or appearance.”

Wannon MP Dan Tehan said he did not wish to comment on court proceedings.

Read more: http://www.standard.net.au/story/4831971/leaders-say-sad-incidents-not-ok/