Labor senator suffers verbal assault, says racism is getting worse in Australia

10 November, 2017, 01:42 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Senator Dastyari was with Labor MP Tim Watts when the men taunted him about his heritage

The men claimed to be from a far-right group called Patriot Blue, and continually harassed Dastyari, all while captured on camera.

Video of men identifying themselves as "working class patriots" heckling the Iranian-born senator, calling him a "terrorist" and "little monkey" at the VU Bar in Footscray was posted to the Patriot Blue Facebook group last night.

"The abuse makes me feel small, makes me feel disgusting, it makes you feel kind of bad and that's what they are created to do", he said.

"They are the sickening face of white nationalists in this country".

"I worry about all the people out there that have to put up with all this kind of abuse who don't have the structures that someone like I'm lucky enough to have".

"I cop a lot of abuse, a lot of hate [and] I probably cop more than other people because I'm a little bit outspoken and being a Muslim, even a non-practising Muslim, attracts abuse".

Dastyari says he is consulting with his family before deciding whether to lodge a formal complaint against his abusers.

Senator Hanson's chief of staff James Ashby told AAP: "Sam Dastyari gets heckled because he's a wanker. and not because he's a Muslim".

She said the Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act "protects people from serious vilification".

"The incident with Senator Dastyari highlights that this is the right time to have an important national conversation about these issues, in a respectful and constructive way", Stan and Roadshow said.

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'He labels anyone who he disagrees with as rednecks which itself is a racist term, ' Mr Erikson told Daily Mail Australia.

After the men repeatedly taunted "What race is Islam?", fellow Labor MP Tim Watts approached the cameraman and retorted with: "What race is dickhead?"

Labor leader Bill Shorten also said he was disgusted by the "ugly" incident.

"What is this country coming to when you can not go out for a meal without being abused by racist idiots", he told Seven on Thursday.

"I think he's a smart ass, he shows it on the floor of the parliament, and he plays up his position (as a Muslim)".

The member of the far-right group was wearing a high-vis Toll Group shirt in the video.

One of the men appears to wear a work uniform for Toll, an Australian logistics company.

Erikson was previously an employee of Toll in Tasmania but posted a video in May stating that he'd "lost his job" because of his involvement in the Bendigo case.

Mr Erikson said he was trying to "draw attention to (Dastyari's) dual citizenship".

"If he wants to go for Toll and try and hurt me financially he can go for it", he said. "I believe that everyone has a right to freedom of speech", he told ABC radio.

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