Racist leaflets target African refugees
LEAFLETS warning residents of an influx of Africans moving to live in their neighbourhoods have been slammed by Victoria's ethnic council as "racist scaremongering".
The first spate of material was detected last week on car windscreens in Mildura, in northwestern Victoria, claiming the local council had tried to "sneak" 30 Sudanese refugee families into their city.
The leaflet says Sudanese refugees "will cause endless social terrorism" and bring "a primitive lawless tribal culture and a pack mentality" into the community.
It also claims people of Sudanese origin are 400 to 800 per cent more likely to commit a serious crime than an Australian national and says "many of them are infected with AIDS".
Mildura Mayor Glenn Milne said groups of people from a broad range of backgrounds moved into the community "all the time".
"Mildura has a history of welcoming immigrants since it began," Mr Milne said.
"It's really sad and disappointing."
Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria (ECCV) chair Sam Afra described the material - which has no clear author but includes links to anti-African and Muslim websites - as "racist scaremongering" of no substance.
Mr Afra said the material had diverted efforts by ECCV volunteers to help African refugee families settle into Australia.
"These kind of leaflets have put us behind," he said.
"Australia has been built by migrants looking for opportunities."
The ECCV has referred the matter to Victoria's Equal Opportunity Commission.
Another anonymous leaflet circulating in Frankston, 40km from Melbourne, is under police investigation after it was found in mailboxes and on car windscreens this week.
It reads: "Do you want Frankston to become like Dandenong?"
"The levels of violence in Dandenong and Noble Park have risen sharply since the huge increase in the African population."
It claims 386 high-rise commission flats are due to be built in the centre of the outer bayside
suburb, to be "filled with Africans".
The leaflet lists gang rapes, machete attacks and smashed shops as crimes associated with African migration.
Frankston mayor Colin Hampton rejected the material as "absolutely disgraceful" and said the suburb was comprised of many races.
Mr Hampton said the figure of 386 units earmarked for Frankston was also wrong.
One proposal for 70 social housing units in Frankston was being examined by the Victorian Government for construction by December under the Federal Government's job stimulus, but no plans had yet been confirmed, he said.
Victoria Police released a statement today expressing disappointment at the "ill-informed assertion" linking the African community to an increase in violent crime in the Greater Dandenong area.
The pamphlet portrayed an inaccurate and inflammatory perception of the African community and threatens community harmony, the statement said.
"Whilst there have been occasional issues, police and community leaders have worked closely together to improve relationships and minimise conflict," police said.
Police will investigate the origin of the Frankston pamphlet and determine whether an offence has been committed.