Multicultural Affairs

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — Victoria prides itself on its tolerant and multicultural society. It is what defines us as a state. That is why it is so disappointing to see the Liberal Party chase One Nation down the rabbit hole with blatantly discriminatory policies. Equating Muslim women who wear a burqa or niqab to members of outlaw motorbike gangs or terror suspects is divisive, insulting and a blatant pitch to votes from the far right.

The Liberals are now considering preferencing One Nation at next year's state election. It was the now Leader of the Opposition who said:

We have a long tradition of supporting and defending social cohesion and harmony — whether it was standing up to One Nation in the 1990s or other challenges that this state has faced.

Well, this state is facing a challenge of growing and damaging intolerance. If the Leader of the Opposition wants to be true to his own words, it is not just about standing up to One Nation in the 1990s; it is about standing up to One Nation now. It is not good enough to pay lip-service to defending our multicultural society but then trash it when the political opportunity suits.

The Greens have been resolute in opposition to the divisive and hateful approach to politics of Pauline Hanson and Donald Trump. The Liberal Party approach has been to see how they can get a piece of the action. It is inclusive values that unite our state and community, not the values of division and hatred. Now is the time to make a stand in the interests of Victoria.