19 June 2021 23:21

Greens MLC David Shoebridge should apologise for Hinduphobia, says NSW Senate

The NSW Senate has passed a motion asking Greens MLC David Shoebridge to apologise to the Hindu community for his Hinduphobic comments.

MLC Shoebridge has also been advised to withdraw comments made by him against a Hindu religious organisation.

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Image source: Facebook Live screenshot.

MLC Shoebridge made such comments during a Budgets estimate hearing in NSW Senate on 5 March. At this particular session, some questions were raised regarding social disturbances amongst the members of the Indian-Australian community.

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MLC Shoebridge had accused VHP Australia of being an organisation banned by the CIA and insinuating that VHP was responsible for a fight between two communities in Sydney.

His comments are recorded in the Legislative Council Hansard – 12 May 2021 – Proof:

“My office has had repeated concerns raised with it from across the Indian diaspora about the rise of right‑wing extremism in the community directly connected to extremist nationalist political movements in India. One of those organisations from India is Vishva Hindu Parishad [VHP]. So extreme are those concerns that VHP was recognised as a military extremist religious organisation in the CIA’s 2018 World Factbook.

…I  also note the recent arrest and charging by the NSW Police Force of a suspect in relation to an attack on young Sikh Australians in Harris Park and the concerns that the violence was related to extremist nationalist and sectarian politics. “

Mr Mark Latham is a One Nation MLC in NSW Senate. He is also the chairman of the Education committee where Mr Shoebridge had raised this false accusation.

Mr Latham proposed a motion in NSW Parliament asking “Mr David Shoebridge to withdraw his comments and apologise to the Hindu community.”

"IT IS NOT THAT HARD TO SAY, "I GOT THIS WRONG. I AM SORRY." I ... I SAY TO MR DAVID SHOEBRIDGE THAT IT IS NOT THAT HARD TO SAY YOU HAVE GOT THIS WRONG AND APOLOGISE TO A COMMUNITY WHO CLEARLY DESERVE THAT APOLOGY IN ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES. BE A PERSON OF HONOUR. BE A MAN. STEP UP AND SAY YOU ARE SORRY."

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Hon. Mark Latham

Jay Shah, the President of OFBJP Australia, was shocked at Greens MLC David Shoebridge”s Hinduphobic comments.

His opinion piece was published in The Australia Today earlier.

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Image source: Jay Shah – Facebook., he wrote:

“I was shocked to see how for short-term political gains Greens MLC in New South Wales Parliament, David Shoebridge vilified the entire Hindu community who now live with fear and disgust even while walking on suburban streets.”

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The Hindu Council of Australia and VHP Australia with the support of the Hindu community took notice of such Hinduphobic comments and started a petition against deposition made by Greens MLC David Shoebridge. 

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Daniel Mookhey is a labor MLC and only Hindu member in NSW Upper House.

Mr Mookhey said in the NSW Senate “when I finished the schooling I had never, ever attended a Hindu scripture class. Today a Hindu child can learn in a New South Wales school that Hinduism as faith is no less than Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism or the world’s other great religions.

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Daniel Mookhey, Labor MLC, NSW Senate

Mr Mookhey also said that there is no evidence that the VHP in Australia is anything other than a voluntary organisation of men and women who teach Hindu children about their religion. So says the NSW Police Force; so says the Department of Education.

“The allegations that were made at budget estimates have hurt many people in the Hindu community. I and the Labor Party urge the member who made those allegations to reconsider making such remarks. Budget estimates are there to hold the Government accountable; it is not there to slur a peace-loving community with false allegations.”

Mr Shah believed that in the process to “vilify and blame a peaceful community with the lowest crime rates and high economic and social contribution in Australia”, MLC Shoebridge managed to “tarnish the hard work of a Hindu organisation that has worked for over 30 years and contributed positively to the Australian community.”

He further added:

“VHP Australia and Hindu Community are owed an unreserved public apology by Dr Shoebridge.”

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At the Budget Estimates hearing, MLC Scott Farlow told the NSW Parliament that Mr Shoebridge has not put any evidence supporting his claims.

“VHP is a registered incorporated charity in NSW with no paid staff but over 250 volunteers who dedicate themselves to supporting the community and, in particular, special religious education [SRE]. VHP is not listed in the current edition of the CIA World Factbook, and Mr Shoebridge has not put forward any allegations or evidence of any illegal actions, extremist positions or issues with them.” 

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While ALP’s MP Dr Hugh McDermott said Mr Showbridge’s comments were an attack on multicultural community organisations.

He said “It is clear that any adverse claims made against the VHP are incorrect.”

“Mr Ramamoorthi has received confirmation from the NSW Police Force Terrorism Investigation Squad that Vishva Hindu Parishad is not a proscribed terrorist organisation in Australia. The harm that such allegations can cause to our community is immeasurable. The allegations are an attack on not just VHP Australia but all multicultural community organisations.”

The motion proposed by Mr Latham asking David Shoebridge to “withdraw his comments and apologise to the Hindu community” was passed by voice vote.

The Hindu Council of Australia in a Facebook post thanked everyone involved in supporting Hindus:

“Australian Hindus are very happy that Members in the governing party as well as opposition support Australian Hindus equally. Thank you all very much for speaking in the parliament in support and big thanks to Mark Latham’s Outsiders for bringing the motion against David Shoebridge who has allegated VHP, Hindu SRE and SRE volunteers as right wing extremists.”

The whole debate in NSW Parliament can be heard in following video.

WATCH VIDEO: ‘Parliament NSW on VHP Shoebridge 12th May 2021

NOTE: The Australia Today has reached out to Mr David Shoebridge, Greens MLC, NSW Senate. We will update the story as soon as we hear from him.

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