Golden Dawn in Australia

April 17, 2014 by J-Wire
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The NSW Greek community has expressed its concern in an statement issued by the Australian Hellenic Council [NSW]  following Channel 9’s Sixty Minutes program during which a member of the Greek far-right group Golden Dawn  admitted the party had established branches in Sydney and Melbourne.

Golden Dawn logo

Golden Dawn logo

Sixty Minutes carried out an in depth interview with  Ilyas Panagiotaro who said that Golden Dawn is the third largest political force in Greece which calls for “the removal of all immigrants from Grece.”

Footage was shown of the burning of the Israeli flag. Following his announcement that there are branches in Melbourne and Sydney the Australian Hellenic Council released a statement saying: “The Australian Hellenic Council NSW Inc. views with alarm reports that the ultra-right wing Golden Dawn party in Greece claims to have opened branches in Sydney and Melbourne, according to a story aired on the Channel Nine program, 60 Minutes, on 13 April 2014.

At a time when we are calling on the Federal Government to abandon its ill-considered changes to the Racial Discrimination Act , the Hellenic community in Australia faces the prospect of importing elements of a brutal and overtly racist ideology that has taken racism to a new level in Greece by blaming that country’s current economic and social woes on immigrants and everyone else who does not fit Golden Dawn’s  self-conceived  image of the so-called Greek nationalist.

Greece has had to endure a political movement that comes replete with thuggish supporters burning torches, stiff arm salutes, bashing helpless victims and a dangerous brand of demagogue rhetoric that has its clearly-defined origins in Nazi Germany.   A prominent member of Golden Dawn proudly and unashamedly proclaimed last year in relation to immigrants in Greece that “we are ready to open the ovens. We will turn them into soap … to wash cars and pavements. We will make lamps from their skin.”

The President of the Hellenic Council NSW, Mr George Vellis, has pointed out that under the current law, it is a breach of the Act to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate someone in public on the grounds of race or ethnicity.  However, the Government’s exposure draft would only make only it unlawful for a person to incite hatred or to cause fear of physical harm based on race or ethnic origin.  But even this will not apply to words, sounds, images written, spoken, broadcast or otherwise communicated in the course of participating in the public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter.

According to Mr Vellis:

“If supporters of Golden Dawn surface in Australia and utter obscene, bigoted and offensive words on a website or at a public gathering, they would be afforded protection under the proposed legislation on the basis that they would undoubtedly argue that it was in the course of participating in a public discussion about the effects of illegal immigration.  There can be no place in Australia for such zealotry.”

The spectre of extremist elements of Golden Dawn being allowed to spread their racially-motivated vitriol in Australia in the name of free speech is anathema to our way of life.

A movement like Golden Dawn has no legitimate place in contemporary Australia.  Golden Dawn’s attempt to introduce its disgusting brand of racism and hatred into Australia is not welcome and highlights how important it is for Australia to arm itself with strong educational and legal tools – including the existing anti-racism laws in the Racial Discrimination Act – to combat its extremist ideology and the ugly fascism that lies beneath.”

 

 

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