30 November 2021 20:09

Multicultural Minister Alex Hawke served notice for omitting ‘material facts’ on Vishal Jood issue

"It is incumbent on a Cabinet Minister issuing a statement to provide a complete, balanced, and objective account of the issue he is communicating about."

Federal Multicultural Minister Alex Hawke is in the middle of a social media storm for allegedly omitting ‘material facts’ about Indian International student Vishal Jood’s departure from Australia.

Vishal Jood boarded a flight for India on Friday 15 October, after which Minister Hawke released a statement and wrote on his social media account on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. Many in the Indian Australian community believe the statement and posts were not in good taste and allegedly had many insinuations towards the Australian Hindu community.

First, let’s understand Vishal Jood’s saga.

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Australia is home to over 50,000 Indian International students among which majority live in two big cities Sydney and Melbourne. A large number of these Indian international students come from the State of Punjab and Haryana.

People who have studied in Universities in India or Australia and lived away from home know most students have their own large groups based on like-unlike, University, course, region, religion, language, filmstar, cricketer and these days politics.

Here in Sydney within the last year and a half, two groups of students originating from the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana fought among themselves and with each other over “Girls and regional supremacy in India.”

Vishal Jood was also part of one such group, out of six fights Vishal’s group was involved in they were dominant in five fights and suffered in one of them.

These fights and their results became a matter of social media humiliation on “TicTok.’ Just like Bollywood movies, both groups were putting traps on lonely opposite side members coming back from University and work. One step further a honey trap was also drawn by a Punjabi origin group to lure a Haryanvi boy, which resulted in an online video of him being thrashed.

Late last year when the Indian government introduced ‘New Farm laws’ new groups emerged on the basis of their family support on the issue. It is very important to point out that a lot of Haryana groups were opposing Farm laws along with Punjabi groups.

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However, when Khalistani elements of Sydney entered the protests on Indian Farm Law’s things changed for Haryanvi student groups.
Haryanvi groups requested to keep protests against Farm laws rather than against India, But Khalistan supporters made it a point that protests be a tool to their propaganda against India and its elected government.

Khalistan supporters were disrespecting India tricolour in Canada, Britain, the USA, and Australia during Indian Republic day week. And the incident at Delhi’s Red fort disgusted most Diaspora members.

Indian Australian groups organised the “Tiranga Rally” to show their support for the Indian national flag in multiple cities of Australia. However, the Sydney rally got maligned by the nexus of actors from academia, media, and politics.

At the end of this rally, Vishal Jood was attacked by a group of people who were allegedly abusing India, the Indian Prime Minister, and the Indian flag. Video of this attack on Mr. Jood was circulated on social media.

The spin masters of Sydney Indian Diaspora with the help of a section of local media and few manipulative politicians painted the participants of ‘Tiranga Rally’ with some sinister motive.

There was no proof to their claims but still, their propaganda was treated as the only truth.

Vishal Jood was arrested and slapped with eleven charges by NSW police. Which made headlines in Australia as well as Indian.

Besides Vishal two other international students of Punjabi background were arrested by NSW police, they are also facing the same charges but no one cared to report on them.

Vishal was not sentenced for “Hate Crime.”

Australian and Indian media claimed in their reports that Vishal Jood attacked Sikhs due to his religious hate. This was proved as a fake claim in NSW Court, Magistrate Price rejected any such charge.

“The learned magistrate did not accept that Vishal’s conduct was motivated by animosity towards Sikhs.”

Anyway, in a plea bargain, Vishal pleaded guilty to engaging in a fight that had nothing to do with the Sikh community but was a young boy’s street fight.

He pleaded guilty to being armed with a weapon (a baseball bat) with intent to commit an indictable offense and damaging property (the car window).

“The learned magistrate found that these offences were below the medium range of objective seriousness.”     

Social commentators said that in Australia generally, such street fights result in nothing more than community service sentences but in Vishal Jood’s case, he was sent to jail.

Few media outlets still tried to portray that he pleaded guilty to attacks on Sikhs, they can potentially be sued for defamation.

Vishal Jood was released on the morning of 15 October 2021.

He was interviewed by Australian Immigration officers after his release. As at the time of his release Vishal’s Visa had expired Immigration officers offered him a ‘Bridging Visa’ so that he could get time to apply for an appropriate visa for himself.

Vishal Jood was not deported from Australia

Vishal Jood refused bridging Visa and told immigration officers that he intend to return back to India immediately.
He was provided a Visa that legalised his status in Australia.

Vishal traveled to India from Australia while on that visa.

His Lawyer Barrister Amendra Singh told The Australia Today,

“Everyone should know that Vishal Jood was not deported from Australia.”

Australia’s Federal Minister for Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke is an MP from Sydney’s electorate of Mitchell. His constituency has a large population of Indian Australians both from Hindu and Sikh backgrounds.

What did Multicultural Minister Hawke say?

Minister Hawke issued a statement that read, “Attempts to undermine Australia’s social cohesion will not be tolerated.”
 
“I am pleased that this unfortunate event has seen our resilient local Hindu and Sikh communities unite. In particular, I want to thank community leaders who have worked hard to support their communities in the face of these unfortunate events. Their efforts to build cross-community unity and resilience against the attempts by a small minority to incite discord and disharmony have demonstrated the importance and benefit of our nation’s strong social cohesion,” the statement further reads.

A lot of Australian community members objected to this statement. One of them wrote on social media calling it “Casual racism to create social disharmony and drive a political wedge because they see votes in this dog-whistling.”

Minister Hawke didn’t stop there, he posted a link on his Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin account from a website whose story was full of inaccuracy about Vishal Jood’s case and departure from Australia.

Twitter account of Minister Alex Hawke

Facebook Page of Minister Alex Hawke:

WhatsApp Image 2021 10 20 at 1.39.58 PM 1


Linkedin account of Minister Alex Hawke:

WhatsApp Image 2021 10 20 at 1.51.42 PM 2

Federal Multicultural Affairs Minister Alex Hawke’s actions resulted in a social media storm of misinformation and accusations towards the Australian Hindu community.

Vishal Jood’s Lawyer Amendra Singh said, “It is incumbent on a Cabinet Minister issuing a statement to provide a complete, balanced and objective account of the issue he is communicating about.”

AUS Minister's misinformed tweet puts Vishal Jood's life in danger: Lawyer sets the record straight.

Mr. Singh also said Minister Alex Hawke’s approach to this issue is highly unusual.
As Minister Hawke…

  1. Tweets a link from private news portal carrying a picture of Vishal Jood.
  2. States that Vishal was an unlawful non-citizen at the time of his arrest.
  3. States that “attempts to undermine Australia’s social cohesion will not be tolerated.”
  4. Refers to an “unfortunate event that has seen our resilient local Hindu and Sikh communities unite” 

Here is are the screenshots of misinformation published in the article shared by Minister Alex Hawke.

jood b 3

Federal Multicultural Minister Alex Hawke has a responsibility and duty of care towards the Indian Australian community still, he chose to amplify factually and legally inaccurate information to his thousands of followers on social media platforms.

jood a 4

Vishal Jood receiving threats and abuse

Barrister Amendra Singh says, “Hundreds have now joined the dots in the Minister’s tweets and are using it to conclude that Vishal was convicted of hate crimes against Sikhs and was deported because of this. He is receiving threats and abuse, and is being called names such as “terrorist.”

Mr. Singh says what the Minister omits to tweet is more significant.

  • That Vishal Jood was not dealt with by the court on the basis that his actions were motivated by animosity towards any community.
  • That Vishal Jood did not leave Australia because he was deported for committing criminal offences.  

Only Minister Hawke can answer why he posted an article with inaccurate information on his social media accounts.

The Australia Today has seen a notice which Vishal’s solicitors have sent to Minister Alex Hawke inviting him to clarify his position.

The Australia Today wrote to Minister Alex Hawke for his response, he has not provided it at the time of publishing this article. We shall update the article once we receive his reply.

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