A letter from Allegra Spender

November 15, 2023 by J-Wire News Service
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Thank you to the many of you who reached out to my office regarding the motorbike convoy that travelled from Lidcombe to Coogee on Saturday evening.

Allegra Spender

I know many people in the community are frightened, grieving, and deeply distressed by recent events. I am incredibly concerned about what is happening and my priority over the weekend was to work extensively with the NSW Government, NSW Police, and faith groups to ensure our community remained safe.

Although the community may not be aware of the work that happens in the background, I want to reassure you that the NSW Police is taking the security of our Jewish Community very seriously, and continues to put in place significant extra precautions.

I support everyone’s right to protest peacefully. However, a motorcycle convoy that travels into the eastern suburbs, where significantly more than half the Jewish community of Sydney lives, hundreds of metres from a synagogue, is deliberately provocative, and intimidating, and creates the potential for conflict. The convoy followed clashes in Melbourne on Friday night and a four-fold increase in antisemitic incidents across the country.

Many of you raised with me whether there are legal options available to prevent such protests in predominantly Jewish areas, and I am discussing what options are available with legal experts. I support the NSW Government’s move to tighten laws against hate speech, threats and incitement to violence.

My priority in federal parliament this week is to push for further national measures to address the antisemitic hate speech that we have seen in recent weeks – and I will continue to drive action on antisemitism at universities. I am also supporting federal legislation to prohibit nazi hate symbols, as well as broader action to support social cohesion through themulticultural framework review.

Sadly, it takes only a few people to create a dangerous situation that can spiral out of control and create further division. So, I want to thank the Jewish Community for not engaging in this provocation – and thank the vast majority of the Australian Palestinian community who did not participate in Saturday’s convoy.

Our Australia is built on multiculturalism, peace, and tolerance. We must do all we can to prevent the horrific events overseas from dividing our country, regardless of peoples’ views on the conflict.

I want to assure you that my team and I are doing everything we can to represent the community and speak up for your concerns. More than 350 of you have contacted me about the convoy and I apologise that we were only able to send a brief note in response on Saturday. My focus over the weekend was on managing the situation effectively to ensure the community was safe, and disseminating information quickly, which prevented a more tailored reply. However, please rest assured that we have read each email individually and our priority is ensuring the security of our community.

You can read my full statement on the convoy here.

It was an honour to stand in solidarity with our Jewish community at yesterday’s vigil for those who still remain hostage. It was a powerful demonstration of unity and resilience as a community.

Rest assured, I will continue to speak out on the need for further action to address rising antisemitism and threats to our community’s safety.


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