Statement by Hon Paul Papalia CSC MLA, Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests
At a time when we are facing unparalled challenges, I find instances of racism in our community to be repugnant.
In a situation where most Western Australians are pulling together to support each other, it has become clear that some people have used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to create division and hatred.
It may be only a few instances, but the impact is felt widely and deeply.
I am sure that we have all seen reports of students being evicted from their homes, of racist graffiti, banners and slogans, of innocent Western Australians of Chinese and Asian backgrounds being threatened or vilified.
This is criminal behaviour and completely unacceptable in our society.
The Government of Western Australia strongly condemns all forms of racism, discrimination and harassment and has zero tolerance for such acts of hatred.
As a State we are acting swiftly and decisively on these issues, with police, local governments and communities working together to respond immediately to these deplorable offences.
Under this State's Criminal Code, racial vilification carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.
Anyone engaging in this sort of behaviour will be met with the full force of the law.
Unity and the rejection of discrimination and hatred are critical if we are to succeed in facing the immense challenges before us.
Western Australia is a proudly multicultural State that embraces cultural diversity and community harmony. This is our strength, this is our resilience, and this is what will see us through.
We are all in this together and I have nothing but praise and respect for the vast majority of Western Australians who are supporting each other with compassion and understanding.
I am sure I speak on behalf of all members of the Western Australian Parliament in strongly condemning these appalling acts of racism.