Josh Burns: Activists smash windows and light fire in 'politically moti...

Tenacious D: Tenacious D postpone Australian show after backlash over Donald...
Published Time: 18.06.2024 - 21:46:41 Modified Time: 18.06.2024 - 21:46:41

Three fire crews attended the scene after fires were lit in telecommunication pits at the front of the building. Josh Burns

Police said at least five smashed windows and painted slogans on the walls of the MP's office just before 3:30am.

Three fire crews attended the scene after fires were lit in telecommunication pits at the front of the building.

In a statement, Mr Burns described the incident as a "politically motivated attack".

"I understand those who have seen images or vision of the attack might find it distressing," he said.

It is the latest in a string of acts of vandalism targeting the offices of state and federal MPs in the wake of the conflict in Gaza.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said those responsible for the attack should be held accountable.

"This is an escalation of the attacks that we've seen. We've been talking this. We've got to dial this down," he said.

"The who were responsible for this attack should face the full force of the law.

"For some , they feel very strongly issues in the Middle East. But it's no reason to target MPs half a world away in Australia, and in particular the targeting of a Jewish MP is very distressing."

Federal Labor MP Katy Gallagher said the attacks on the offices of MPs must stop.

"I think the temperature needs to come down a bit or someone will get hurt," she said.

"These kind of attacks on politicians' offices that we're seeing across the country is not the way we do in Australia."

The attack was also condemned by Melbourne-based MPs from the Coalition and the Greens.

Josh Roose, a political sociologist at Deakin University, said it was unclear who the vandals were, but the attacks constituted political violence and extremism.

"What we're seeing is a new form of extremism emerge that we're not familiar with in this country," Dr Roose said.

"An attack on an electorate office is an attack on a democratic structure.

"The moment it crosses that line … it shows a significant shift in our ."

Chair of the Anti Defamation Commission, Dvir Abramovich, said the attack was concerning.

"Another day, another sickening and evil act of antisemitic vandalism, this time targeting a federal member of Parliament because he is Jewish and a supporter of Israel," he said.

"This is an assault on our democracy and our sense of safety, and most Victorians would be rattled and shocked to the core by these tactics of intimidation."

Victoria Police has been monitoring local incidents believed to have been incited by the conflict in Gaza.

Earlier this month, police said there had been 197 such incidents since October 2023.

Police have classified the incidents as being linked to religious affiliations or political beliefs. 

Of the reported incidents linked to religious affiliation, 88 related to antisemitic attacks and 16 involved Islamophobia.

Of the politically motivated incidents, police said 87 were linked to opposition to "Israel's Gaza policy" and six incidents were "against Pro-Palestine views".

Police have arrested 60 over the incidents, which involved criminal damage, bill posting and offensive behaviour. 

There were 18 incidents that involved direct physical violence.

A spokesperson said Victoria Police took reports of racial or religiously motivated crimes "extremely seriously".

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander s as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work.

This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, , AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.