MEMBERS STATEMENT-RACISM

Mr FREGON (Mount Waverley) (09:51): Last week in the house many of us thanked the people of Victoria for their sacrifices and diligence in helping us contain the coronavirus. I also made special mention of our Chinese Australian community as they have experienced life with the virus earlier than most. The member for Burwood and I also called out the racism directed at our Chinese Australians. Many of our Chinese Australians are anxious about this. I was extremely disappointed to hear last week in this house an Australian citizen named. Aspersions were cast on this person. There was no evidence of impropriety and there was not even an allegation. It was just a cheap political swipe that at its best was a clumsy attempt to debate a jobs issue. We should be better than that.

 

This, at a time when we are seeing people from all backgrounds stand up against—and expect us leaders to make changes against—systemic racism. As a middle-aged white bloke, I watched another Australian make a speech on Q&A last week about his life that made me feel a little uncomfortable. That speech should make us feel uncomfortable. But that speech and this moment in time also give me hope that in my life we will see change in our country. Indigenous Australians make up 1 per cent of our Victorian population, and yet they make up 2 per cent of those incarcerated. So if you are born Indigenous, you are twice as likely to be incarcerated. How does a parent tell that to their children? I proudly support our government’s work towards treaty, and I am glad to see the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria meeting this week to help us achieve this long overdue goal. Black lives do indeed matter.