Secord blasts NSW Education Minister over failure to act on “vile anti-semitic pro-hitler” Facebook post

June 9, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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NSW Labor this week grilled the NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell in State Parliament’s Question Time over her failure to condemn a departmental employee who made “vile anti-Semitic pro-Hitler” Facebook posts.

Walt Secord Photo: Noel Kessel

In State Parliament, NSW Labor frontbencher Walt Secord raised the matter of an Education Department official who posted a photograph of Adolph Hitler with the words: “It’s such a shame he didn’t finish his job”.

“The Minister’s answer was woefully inadequate and did not respond appropriately to the seriousness of the matter,” Mr Secord said.

Such a posting is reprehensible for anyone, let alone an employee of the education department.

The incident is deeply offensive to the Jewish community, especially survivors of the Shoah, those who fought Nazism and fascism and any sensible member of the community.

Sadly, the response from the education department has been limp‑wristed and totally inadequate.

The education department and the Minister should have condemned outright the actions of the departmental employee in unequivocal terms. I have witnessed and seen this Minister for several years and I am absolutely surprised that she would let this go through to the keeper. I thought that she would have taken action on this and condemned it in unequivocal terms. I am deeply disappointed.”

In an exchange in the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Council on June 8, Mr Secord asked two formal questions without notice on the matter including whether the person is still employed and what was the employee’s current status. Mr Secord also lead for Labor on the subject in the “Take Note Debate” blasting the Education Minister. His colleague, Courtney Houssos asked a third question about the extent of racist activity in the Education Department.

Mr Secord, who is also acting chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and the patron of the NSW Labor Israel Action Committee said he was deeply disappointed that Ms Mitchell did not condemn the employee and refused to state whether he was still employed within the NSW Education Department.

Initially, Mr Secord asked: “Given that an education department employee posted vile anti‑Semitic and pro‑Hitler comments on a Facebook page and the Government has refused to provide an explanation to the community—as reported by Gareth Narunsky in the 4 June edition of The Australian Jewish News—what action has the Minister taken in relation to this terrible incident?”

In response, Ms Mitchell said: “I say unequivocally on behalf of the Government, the department and, I think, everyone in this House that we reject racism in all its forms. The Department of Education believes in a positive and inclusive workplace that is safe and empowering for all of its people. Diversity and inclusion are critical to the success and wellbeing of staff and students across the New South Wales public education sector. The department’s professional and ethical standards investigations are confidential, and we cannot comment on the particulars of any case. However, our code of conduct outlines the expected behaviour of staff. Any discrimination is unacceptable and, if proved, will be subject to the guidelines for the management of conduct and performance. That is all I am able to say at this point.”

Mr Secord then asked a second question without notice, which said: “Will the Minister elucidate her answer? She said that she rejects racism in all forms. What is the current status of that employee? Is that employee still working in the Minister’s department?”

In response to the second question she responded: “As I said, the department’s professional and ethical standards investigations are confidential. I cannot comment on the particulars of any case. As I said at the end of my contribution—the member may not have heard me—that is all I am able to say at this time.”

Mr Secord’s colleague, Ms Courtney Houssos asked: “Are any other Department of Education employees currently under investigation for racist posts on social media?”

And then for a third time, Ms Mitchell declined to answer saying: “I will repeat for the third time that the department’s professional and ethical standards investigations are confidential.”

Comments

One Response to “Secord blasts NSW Education Minister over failure to act on “vile anti-semitic pro-hitler” Facebook post”
  1. David Philips says:

    Isn’t it funny, but the loudest so-called (mainly left-wing) anti-racism supporters are the worst racist offenders of all. They say they condemn racism in all its forms but lump anti-Semitism with all other forms of discrimination or turn a blind eye to all the other kinds of human rights abuses, singling out Israel for its alleged racist and apartheid policies. But they will tell you that somehow Israel is different. Yes, Israel is different. It offers free movement and equal rights to all its citizens regardless of race or religion. How many Jews are in positions of authority or government in Arab/Muslim states? Sorry, anti-racist racists, I didn’t hear you. How many did you say? Again? I didn’t quite catch that… Yes, apartheid sadly does exist but it with those countries who so loudly and falsely condemn Israel.

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