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Connecting people & communities CRANBOURNE

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Thursday, 19 January, 2017

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Racism backlash

Out and about, pups and pooches Cranbourne Home hosted a Dog’s Day Out on Tuesday 17 January where pet owners could bring their furry friends to the centre to check out what was on offer. The South Gippsland Highway centre had pools for puppies to keep cool, dog training organisations, face painting for the kids, food stalls and other various activities. About 100 dogs and their owners attended the event which was designed to create community engagement and connect pet lovers with training treats and other goodies Cranbourne Home has to offer. Bruce the friendly French Mastiff was just one of many dogs to get a pat from Matilda. 163690 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

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Casey based anti-racism group Casey Against Racism has rallied almost 3000 supporters in an online petition to have an Australia Day billboard featuring Muslim girls reinstated. The group started the petition on change.org about 6pm on Tuesday 17 January and by 10.30am on Wednesday the petition had attracted 2772 signatories. The electronic billboard at the junction of EastLink and Peninsula Link at Carrum Downs advertised Victorian Government Australia Day celebrations. A picture of the billboard was shared on the Facebook page of far right-wing political group United Patriots Front on 13 January and attracted almost 1000 shares and more than 600 comments. It was claimed in the media that QMS Media, the advertising company that ran the ad pro bono, removed the billboard after it was threatened. QMS Media Chief Operating Officer Malcolm Pearce confirmed the company removed the billboard over the weekend of 14-15 January but declined to comment on alleged threats. The billboard was widely and incorrectly reported as being located in Cranbourne and caught the attention of Casey Against Racism which decided to start a petition to have the billboard put back up. Casey Against Racism spokesperson Lorraine Pratley said that the ethos of Australia Day should not be determined by threats against a specific group of people.

“We will not allow right wing extremists to set the tone and define what is and isn’t Australian,” she said. “People who are afraid of smiling little girls need to take a serious look at themselves. “Cranbourne is a very diverse suburb in a multi-cultural country.” Ms Pratley said the actions of those that had the billboard removed had been counter-productive. “Our petition quickly reached 2000 signatures and is still climbing,” she said. “The racists have achieved the opposite of what they intended by bringing locals and supporters together to stand up to racism.” Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott said the backlash against the advertisement was a disappointing reflection of the community. “This digital advertising campaign uses a number of images of Victorians from various cultural backgrounds - all of whom are proud Australians,” he said. “While the ads have since been removed, anyone who considers this a victory needs a refresher on the true meaning of Australia Day.” Mr Scott said the advertisements were intended to highlight the cohesive nature of modern multicultural Australia. “It is about bringing people together and celebrating the diversity which makes this state and this country great,” he said. “It’s very disappointing to see a small minority attacking proud Australians for their love of their country.”

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By Victoria Stone-Meadows


News - Cranbourne - 19th January 2017