Akshay is a passionate, progressive and proud young man of Indian heritage from the Western Suburbs of Sydney, Australia. Akshay has a background and qualifications in the fields of Law, Economics and Public Policy (UTS) and currently works in Consulting providing strategic advice to StartUps and the NFP sector.Read More
Whilst ordering a beverage at a Melbourne pub with fellow colleagues Senator . Sam Dastyari was attacked and confronted by a number of men from ‘ the Blue Patriots’ on Wednesday the 8th of November 2017. The group responsible is an ultra nationalist right wing group with links to the Reclaim Australia Party for Freedom and the United Patriots Front. Both of whose members where noted to play significant roles in the anti-Islam and anti-mosque protests earlier this year in Melbourne.
Initially a number of men from the group wearing Hi-Vis clothing had approached the Senator whilst he was ordering drinks, filming the entire incident. At first their line of enquiry had to do with donations that the Senator had previously received. However it soon became clear that foreign donations were not their only interest as the men over towering and out numbering the lone Senator started a vitriolic attack of racist and discriminatory slurs. Senator Dastyari is known to be of Iranian decent and as a result is muslim by birth. He has been a well known advocate for multiculturalism, defending s18c of the Racial Discrimination Act and explores at length his experience as a son of migrant parents in his recently released book “ One Halal of a Story”, such actions often often earned him the title of “ Senator for Multiculturalism” and Senator for “ Halal Snack Packs or HSP’s”.
The slurs promoted by the men included, “ Sand Monkey”, “ Terrorist” ,“ Go back to Iran” and “ Go back to where you came from”. The group then proceeded to attack the Senators faith by asking repeatedly “ What race is Islam? Is Islam a race?”. Amongst the hate speech and attacks the Senator remained calm and collected. Unable to get a reaction from the Senator the men continued to verbally abuse him as he left the bar. Creating distance the Senator offered only limited replies consisting of
“You follow me everywhere I go. Honestly, I think you guys are a bunch of racists and I don’t really have time for you”. He concluded by saying “I’m not going to bother with you guys. You are just embarrassing yourselves ”.
During the the confrontation an unlikely hero Tim Watts, Member for Gellibrand a colleague of the Senators stepped in, confronting the group and ensuring that the situation did not escalate. Known for his quick wit, Mr Watts fired back to the group responding with “ What race is D***head mate?” to which the group had no response and soon dispersed.
Although it is unclear what the exact aim and purpose of the group was it appears that their negative slurs have had an adverse affect. Soon after the incident Labor Leader Hon. Bill Shorten tweeted :
“ Good on Sam Dastyari for standing up and calling these idiots out for what they are. There’s no place for this sort of stuff in Australia.”
Even media commentator Paul Murray of Sky News, often in cross hairs with Senator. Dastyari called out the incident tweeting:
“ I don’t get along w @samdastyari.
But there is NO EXCUSE for the harassment he copped at a pub today.
It’s UN-Australian and the people who did it are a disgrace”
Since the incident support and praise for Senator has been incredible with the hashtag #unaustralia and #standwithsam trending highly. However though the incident has brought into discussion a number of key issues with regard to racial vilification as well as Australian values. Empathetic to the Senators experience many members and advocates of the Subcontinental community have made statements in solidarity with the Senator.
Amar Singh who founded Turbans 4 Australia after a number of racially motivated of incidents said in a statement “ The attack on Sam Dastyari is an attack on every Australian. We need to Stand up against such bullying and speak out against such thuggish behaviour”.
Linus Faustin, Ambassador of NSW Multicultural Youth Network & ‘Racism Stops With Me’ organiser noted “ This is just disgusting behaviour. Nobody should be a victim of racism. We need to stand up against racism, call it out and support one another during these times #racismstopswithme ”.
On there other hand Tim Watts MP has been praised heavily for his actions. Although he received praise for “protecting the sanctity of being able to enjoy ones drink in peace whilst in a pub” and being able to provide “killer one-liners” it appears clear that the parliamentarians actions demonstrated something greater. His actions as suggested have embodied the ultimate value of “mateship” as he arrived swiftly to his colleague aid who was clearly outnumbered. Recently the #truemate and #truematetim have started to gain traction.
It has been advised that fellow parliamentarian and anti-Halal Ms Hanson refused to denounce or condemn the events concerning the attack on her fellow colleague by the group. Since post concerning the video has now been removed by the ‘ Blue Patriots’ group who have since been unavailable for comment.
Note: This story was originally sourced by ‘The New Daily’.