‘No place for hate in election debate’

The Uniting Church/ECAJ National Dialogue.

A GROUP of Uniting Church and Jewish community representatives have gathered in Sydney to condemn the “spate of racist invective, vandalism and harassment” marring the federal election campaign.

The 48th session of the Uniting Church in Australia/Executive Council of Australian Jewry National Dialogue discussed the experiences of candidates across the political spectrum who have been subjected to racist and other vile attacks.

They also touched on candidates who themselves have been involved in “disgraceful behaviour” on social media and elsewhere.

“We value our freedom of speech and appreciate passionate engagement and vigorous debate, but the quality of our national conversation is diminished by the type of attacks which have been made on far too many candidates,” the group’s co-chairs Jeremy Jones and Rev Dr Matthew Wilson said.

“It is not just posters and corflutes which have been vandalised, the public discourse has been vandalised.

“Where acts have breached federal or state legislation, we urge authorities to act.

“In all circumstances, we urge not just party leaders but all people in positions of moral authority to consistently, speedily and forcefully speak out against racism and other forms of harassment.”